President Trump promised Tuesday to sign what he called a "bill of love" to extend protections to 800,000 immigrants who entered the United States illegally as children — if Congress can work out the details.Newsmax's Michael Stopa suggests this is no time to make a deal, simply for the sake of making a deal. "The basic problem with trading amnesty for so-called 'Dreamers' (illegal aliens brought to America as children) for increased enforcement of laws against illegal immigration and greater border security is that those aims are fundamentally in contradiction." Perhaps, although we've been here before, and opportunities for additional research remain. Perhaps it is cheaper to offer regular status to people whose only crime has been to sneak in, and to credibly commit to making it more difficult to sneak in (and to shorten the waiting time for persons legally admitted to attain permanent residency and citizenship?) Mr Stopa's fear appears to be that Congress, particularly the Democrats and the squishy Republicans, are not bargaining in good faith.
"You folks are going to have to come up with a solution," Trump told 25 lawmakers in a remarkable televised negotiation at the White House. "And if you do, I'm going to sign that solution."
But funding for a wall along the border with Mexico remains a sticking point, as Trump insisted that border security remain a part of any deal.
Lawmakers are under a March 5 deadline — imposed by Trump — to come up with a legal fix to the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. DACA, as it's known, is now the main stumbling block holding up a wide range of other Trump administration immigration priorities.
Conservative Republicans in the House want to link DACA to Trump's request for $18 billion for a border wall. That would give immigration talks even more urgency, as the spending bill must pass by Jan. 19 to prevent a government shutdown.
The logical conclusion therefore is that in exchange for amnesty for DACA recipients the negotiators of the bill will give as little as possible in the way of actual immigration law enforcement — a Potemkin wall jazzed up with high tech gizmos, chain migration limited to first cousins (anyone notice that first cousins of first cousins are second cousins?) and an E-Verify provision that will be sieged [c.q.] by the courts for years.Meanwhile, low-skill native-born workers will continue to be hard done by.
In contrast to this harlequinade of a DACA negotiation process among Congressional knaves it is worth remembering for a moment what the forgotten men and women actually have on their side. By dint of electing Donald Trump, they have a dedicated organization of law enforcement professionals in ICE and U.S. Customs and Border Patrol who recognize that their mission is to enforce the existing immigration laws and who are not seduced by the siren song that says that that mission is impossible so they might as well not even try.What effect will the tightening labor market have? Stay tuned.
The forgotten men and women have on their side the now demonstrated fact that illegal immigration is fragile; that it is driven by hundreds of millions of daily texts, emails, and skype communications between illegal aliens in the U.S. and family members south of the border, and that the content of those messages becomes decidedly more pessimistic and the human flow palpably abates, when enforcement proceeds apace.
It’s not a lot, what the forgotten men and women have going for them.
In Washington, however, Paul Mirengoff would like the negotiations to play out on the predictable pattern.
Immigration reform deals follow a familiar pattern: Illegal immigrants get some form of legal status in exchange for statutory language that, if implemented, will discourage or prevent future illegal immigration. Unless those who insist on such statutory language can be confident that the language will be adhered to — rather than ignored on humanitarian grounds and/or ad hoc “cost benefit” analysis — these legislators have no reason to make such deals.As long as there are time inconsistency problems in public policy, there will be people who will risk entry into rich countries in the hope of a subsequent change to legal status. Perhaps there are ways for rich countries to fine-tune the mix of immigrants.