President Donal Trump recently laid out a set of major immigration priorities that are overwhelmingly popular with the American electorate – including enhanced border security, robust interior enforcement, and reducing legal immigration levels while moving to a modern, merit-based system. These are all issues the president was elected on, and therefore should be priorities of the administration and Congress. These priorities seek to implement a long overdue lawful system of immigration – one where laws are enforced, rules are followed, and the needs of Americans citizens come first.
Unfortunately, the Republican congressional leadership seems headed toward passage of a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) amnesty in exchange for token and ineffective immigration enforcement provisions. This would, in essence, reward illegal aliens who brought their minor children to the United States illegally, or teens who entered the country illegally on their own, without first ensuring that the enforcement framework is in place to prevent the conditions for future illegal immigration and continued mass chain migration.
Any immigration reform plan that isn’t grounded in the well-being of the nation’s citizens and undermines the rule of law is doomed to fail. That’s why it’s critical that prior to even the consideration of a DACA amnesty, Congress must first pass the reforms outlined in the Trump administration’s immigration principles. Congress needs to avoid making another mistake like the 1986 amnesty where the legalization happened immediately and the enforcement provisions were never put in place.
The Republicans who now control both houses of Congress and the White House have struggled for legislative success. It would be ironic if their only significant legislative ‘achievement’ this session is the passage of something they and the president ran against: A massive amnesty bill for illegal aliens that delivers nothing of significance for the people who elected them.
Dan Stein is the president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform.