House Republicans rallied Tuesday to back a conservative solution to illegal immigrant “Dreamers” and immigration enforcement, moving quickly to offer an alternative to the more generous amnesty that’s being talked about in the Senate.
The Republican Study Committee, a large caucus of conservatives, endorsed a bill written by Rep. Bob Goodlatte that would couple legal status for Dreamers with some of the stiffest enforcement changes in two decades.
“The Securing America’s Future Act is the framework to strengthen border security, increase interior enforcement and resolve the DACA situation,” the RSC said in backing the bill.
The RSC also called for the House to vote on the Goodlatte bill as a stand-alone, saying lawmakers should have a chance to work their will, without leaders trying to foist a “backroom deal” struck with Democrats.
In backing the bill, conservatives have signaled they are willing to grant a legal status to hundreds of thousands of Dreamers. The Goodlatte proposal would officially sanction the Obama-era DACA deportation amnesty, giving it a congressional stamp of approval and ensuring Dreamers in the program can live and work without fear of being deported.
But in exchange, the bill would crack down on sanctuary cities, cut back on abuse of the asylum system and allow faster deportation of new illegal immigrants.
In contrast, the plan Senate negotiators presented to President Trump earlier this month would have granted legal status to millions of Dreamers and their parents — including a full pathway to citizenship for the Dreamers themselves. In exchange, it offered a small downpayment on the president’s border wall, no significant changes in chain migration and a swap on the Diversity Visa Lottery, eliminating that program but creating a new amnesty for would-be illegal immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador and other countries that suffered natural disasters over the last couple of decades.
• Stephen Dinan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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