DREAMers Are Finding Out They Are Just Pawns in the 2018 Campaign

Supporters of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival program (DACA) demonstrate on Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House in Washington, Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017. President Donald Trump ordered and end of protections for young immigrants who were brought into the country illegally as children, but gave Congress six months to act on it. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Supporters of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival program (DACA) demonstrate on Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House in Washington, Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017. President Donald Trump ordered and end of protections for young immigrants who were brought into the country illegally as children, but gave Congress six months to act on it. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Supporters of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival program (DACA) demonstrate on Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House in Washington, Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017. President Donald Trump ordered and end of protections for young immigrants who were brought into the country illegally as children, but gave Congress six months to act on it. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

The legislative fight shaping up over what to do about the DREAMers is beginning to look like a Battle of Stalingrad for the Democrats, with them being the guys wearing feldgrau and eating the corpses of fallen comrades. Earlier in the month, Nancy Pelosi was chased out of her own press conference by angry DREAMers. Chuck Schumer has been criticized. Why? Because the DREAMers, themselves, are being used as a stalking horse to attack US immigration policy and law. While the individuals, themselves, may bet worthy of consideration, the various groups who claim to represent them are simply reprehensible in their dishonesty. They are demanding that any legal status given DREAMers be also given to their families. This is a non-starter in the House and probably in the Senate.

Now the White House, in rare moment of lucidity, are demanding border security concessions from the Democrats in exchange for supporting DACA legislation:

The White House is finalizing a plan to demand hard-line immigration reforms in exchange for supporting a fix on the DACA program, according to three people familiar with the talks — an approach that risks alienating Democrats and even many Republicans, potentially tanking any deal.

The White House proposal is being crafted by Stephen Miller, the administration’s top immigration adviser, and includes cutting legal immigration by half over the next decade, an idea that’s already been panned by lawmakers in both parties.

The principles would likely be a political non-starter for Democrats and infuriate Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who have negotiated with President Donald Trump on immigration and left a White House meeting last month indicating a solution was near. They could also divide Republicans, many of whom oppose cutting legal immigration.

Unless they change dramatically from their current form, the immigration principles could short-circuit congressional negotiations aimed at finding a fix to DACA, or the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program — the Obama-era initiative that grants work permits to undocumented immigrants who arrived in the United States as minors.

“Handing Stephen Miller the pen on any DACA deal after the revolt from their base is the quickest way to blow it up,” said a senior Democratic Senate aide.

Lawmakers on both sides of the Capitol panned an earlier White House immigration proposal spearheaded by Miller, the RAISE Act, when the White House rolled it out in August. Republicans including Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin all but declared the proposal dead on arrival.

While there are a lot of people against restrictions on immigration the question for Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell is do they want to wage war against their own caucus and pass, based on Democrat votes, a bill that will be labeled as “amnesty” by the White House, and do it in an election year. My guess is they won’t.

Relatedly, DREAMers are leaving the program:

Aside from public announcements, the Trump administration made no effort to reach out to eligible DACA recipients to encourage them to renew their permits in time to meet the October deadline, Vox reported.

In a statement provided to TPM Thursday, a public affairs officer for USCIS said “Of the approximately 154,000 individuals whose DACA is set to expire between Sept. 5, 2017, and March 5, 2018, approximately 118,000 either have renewal requests currently pending with USCIS, or have already had USCIS adjudicate their renewal request.”

Despite activists’ pleas and the urging of a federal judge, Sessions has not budged on the Oct. 5 deadline, condemning thousands of DACA recipients to potential deportation when their permits expire.

The reasons why they aren’t registering aren’t all that clear but a good bet is that they’ve decided that they are never going to get legal status and are cutting contact with the federal government.

A safe bet is that the Democrats present a poison pill bill to make the GOP vote against DREAMers in 2018 while the GOP demagogues the Democrat bill as an amnesty bill. Nothing will happen. And the DREAMers will suffer because no one really cares about what happens to them.