“Searching for a bipartisan deal to avoid a government shutdown,” the Associated Press writes, “President Donald Trump suggested Tuesday that an immigration agreement could be reached in two phases — first by addressing young immigrants and border security with what he called a ‘bill of love,’ then by making comprehensive changes that have long eluded Congress.”
Many in the room from both parties were receptive to the idea, but it is doomed to failure. There is no way to postpone comprehensive immigration reform since some of the components of phase one of the plan — specifically chain migration and the question of what to do with families of Dreamers — are included within it.
By way of illustration, imagine that a DACA recipient is one of the 29% who are minors, according to this age distribution via the Pew Research Center:
Unless the child has a non-nuclear-family relative (an aunt or uncle, for example) who is in the U.S. legally, then three possibilities exist: One is deporting the child along with his parents, who are here illegally; making the minor child a ward of the state; or allowing the entire family to remain together in the U.S.
The last possibility — which in effect is an example of chain migration — renders the entire exercise meaningless and should be rejected out of hand.
An approach that has not been explored by either party would be permitting the entire family to stay until the child turns 21, at which point the family is deported to its homeland, with or without the child, who would have the discretion to stay provided he met the criteria outlined in the DACA order.
Dealing with comprehensive immigration reform from the get-go wouldn’t obviate these problems, but it would bring them to the fore as the debate on how to resolve this mess moved forward.