First DACA Compromise Bill Unveiled in the House
On January 10th, the House of Representatives introduced the first piece of legislation meant to address the status of the recipients of the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.
The bill, the “Securing America’s Future Act,” comes after many negotiations between Capitol Hill Republicans and Democrats, with President Trump at the center. Building off those negotiations, it contains the four baseline conditions that both sides insisted had to be in the bill: For the Democrats, it codifies DACA recipients in some manner by allowing them to stay on three-year renewable work visas. For President Trump, it includes full funding for the border wall, elimination of chain migration, and ending the visa lottery system.
In addition, the bill makes the E-verify system mandatory nationwide in order to prevent illegal aliens working for American employers, and would also cut legal immigration rates by roughly 260,000 per year.
The bill was introduced by Representative Bob Goodlatte (VA-06), the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, who has been a staunch supporter of strict immigration policies. In June of 2017, he introduced both Kate’s Law and the No Sanctuary for Criminals Act to the House, with the intention of cracking down on sanctuary cities and previously-deported aliens who try to re-enter the country. Both bills passed the House with nearly unanimous Republican support as well as a handful of Democratic votes, but have not yet been taken up in the Senate. Representative Goodlatte recently announced his intentions to retire in 2019, which would make this immigration bill perhaps his final major achievement before stepping down from Congress.
The bill is already proving popular with most Republicans in Congress, as well as outside proponents of stricter immigration reform. The bill is supported by Rosemary Jenks, policy director of the pro-American immigration reform advocate group NumbersUSA, which has run polling displaying the popularity of strict immigration policies such as the RAISE Act. Polling from Pulse Opinion Research has revealed widespread popularity for such key elements of the bill as the mandatory E-verify and ending chain migration.
Although the current bill may not be the final deal that is agreed upon by both sides, it reveals the eagerness and ambition with which both the president and the Republican Party want to tackle immigration reform, addressing a wide variety of immigration-related issues in a single bill, and all in exchange for only one condition that the Democrats want. The eventual outcome of these negotiations - and the vote total on the final bill - could prove significant in the upcoming 2018 midterm elections.
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