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Trump Shoots Down Senate Liberals’ Amnesty Bill

If you read or watch the establishment news media, you might have read that President Trump rejected the “bipartisan immigration compromise” proposed by Senators Flake (R-AZ) and Durbin (D-IL).

The reality is that what President Trump rejected was “bipartisan” only in that it was negotiated between a liberal Democrat (Durbin) and a liberal Republican (Flake) and it in no way represented a “compromise” Trump tweet wallbetween opposing viewpoints on how to solve America’s illegal immigration crisis.

Flake and Durbin group also includes Democratic Sens. Michael Bennet (CO) and Bob Menendez (N.J.) and Republican Sens. Cory Gardner (CO) and Lindsey Graham (S.C.). The group has been discussing for months an amnesty deal, but we wouldn’t really call that a “negotiation,” since they all agree on granting amnesty to millions of illegal aliens and doing as little immigration enforcement as possible.

The bill, and we have yet to see an actual draft bill, so it was more of an idea or set of talking points for negotiating with the President, was pretty much everything that Trump’s conservative – populist base opposes.

The Hill’s Jordain Carney reported their “bill” was expected to include legalization for DACA recipients, known as Dreamers, as well as a border security package and changes to the State Department's diversity visa lottery program and family-based immigration policies.

Durbin said the bill would include a pathway to citizenship not only for current DACA recipients, but other immigrants in the country illegally who would qualify for the program.  

Meanwhile, Flake indicated that any changes to family-based immigration would be narrowly focused to the current DACA population and their family members, and not apply, as some Republicans want, to the entire immigration population.  

Flake also said senators had discussed reallocating some of the State Department's diversity lottery visas to people who have Temporary Protected Status (TPS), a program the Trump administration has been scaling back.

Our friend John Binder of Breitbart summarized what we know about the “Gang of Six” amnesty plan this way:

* Give DACA and DACA-eligible illegal aliens a pathway to U.S. citizenship
* Give amnesty to the parents of DACA illegal aliens
* Make no cuts to legal immigration levels, whereby more than one million legal immigrants enter the U.S. every year
* Transfers the 50,000 visas through the Diversity Visa Lottery into two other visa categories
* Does not fund the estimated $18 billion U.S.-Mexico border wall
* Does not mandate E-Verify to bar employers from hiring illegal aliens over American workers

So, the Flake – Durbin bill doesn’t fund the wall, doesn’t eliminate chain migration, grants citizenship to DACA recipients and potentially to their lawbreaking parents, and doesn’t end the dangerous visa lottery program that has brought terrorists to our country.

However, it looks like Lisa Murkowski, (R-AK), Lamar Alexander, R-TN), Susan Collins, (R-ME), and Mike Rounds, (R-SD), will support it, putting the bill close to having enough votes to pass the Senate, assuming unanimous Democratic support, but not quite to the 60-vote threshold needed to advance legislation.

As RJ Hauman, director of government relations at the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), observed anyone looking for an end to chain migration, mandatory E-Verify, or increased interior enforcement won’t find it in the “Gang of Six” amnesty bill.

Our take on the Flake – Durbin amnesty “bill” was well summed-up in a tweet by Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR), whose popular legal immigration-cutting RAISE Act was endorsed by President Trump in 2017:

Might as well roll it straight into the trash can ... mass amnesty far beyond DACA, fake border security, no end to chain migration. https://twitter.com/seungminkim/status/953395496143466501

Cotton went on to say the “Gang of Six” amnesty plan was dead on arrival and later elaborated in a joint statement with Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, that, "The Durbin-Graham-Flake proposal would do nothing to solve the underlying problem in our current immigration system… It does not take the needed steps to fix our porous border and it fails to empower law enforcement to apprehend and remove dangerous criminals who are here illegally."

And it now looks like President Trump has also shot down the Flake – Durbin “Gang of Six” amnesty bill.

According to Reuters, President Trump called the deal “horrible” on border security funding, the President also said the deal was “very, very weak” when it came to the White House’s preferred changes to the legal immigration system.

"It's the opposite of what I campaigned for," the President told Reuters on Wednesday.

Exactly.

We urge CHQ readers and our other friends to contact the White House through this link. Tell President Trump he was right to shoot down the Flake – Durbin bill and that if we must do an immigration reform bill, the only game in town is the Securing America's Future Act (H.R. 4760) sponsored by House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte, and that H.R. 4760 sets a FLOOR for immigration policy below which no legislation should go.

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