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Trump, Dems can solve the DACA problem by redefining it. By Nolan Rappaport

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© Greg Nash

President Donald Trump and Republican congressmen have been trying unsuccessfully to cut a deal with the Democrats that would provide lawful status for the undocumented aliens in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

The negotiations have seemed promising sometimes, such as when Trump offered a legalization program for 1.8 million undocumented aliens with his Framework on Immigration Reform & Border Security, but the Democrats would not agree to the concessions he was demanding in this four-pillar proposal.

I hope the Democrats are not holding out for a DREAM Act like the American Hope Act of 2017, which would have legalized millions of undocumented aliens who came to America as children. I call it “The False Hope Act” in a previous article I wrote about it.

DREAM Acts have been pending since 2001. The Democrats could have passed one during Barack Obama’s administration. From January 2009 to January 2011, they had a strong majority in the House, and until Scott Brown’s special election in 2010, a filibuster-busting majority in the Senate. But they chose not to do it.

It might be more productive at this point to put negotiations about DACA and DREAM Acts aside and try a different approach. My suggestion is to work on creating a place in the Special Immigrant Juvenile (SIJ) program for the DACA participants.

This little-known humanitarian program makes lawful permanent resident (LPR) status available to undocumented alien children in the United States who have been abused, abandoned, or neglected by one or both parents and who should not be returned to their own countries.

The SIJ Program


Published originally on The Hill.

About the author. Nolan Rappaport was detailed to the House Judiciary Committee as an executive branch immigration law expert for three years; he subsequently served as an immigration counsel for the Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Claims for four years. Prior to working on the Judiciary Committee, he wrote decisions for the Board of Immigration Appeals for 20 years.

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Updated 03-27-2018 at 09:40 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

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  1. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    Nolan's suggestions are clearly well-meant, but there is a problem because of the fact that Trump himself has poisoned the negotiating atmosphere both for any deal involving the wall and for any deal involving in changing the legal immigration system because of his intemperate attacks on minority immigrants in both contexts.

    His statements on the wall have almost all been in the context of making poisonous attacks on Hispanic and other non-white immigrants, legal and otherwise, as "criminals", "rapists", drug dealers and gang members; and his attempts to justify abolishing the visa lottery and eliminating "chain migration" (itself a misleading and pejorative term - much like "anchor babies" in the birthright citizenship context) have generally been made along with statements smearing family and diversity immigrants as alleged security risks, criminals and terrorists also (as in his State of the Union Address).

    This makes it harder for the Democrats to negotiate on these issues without creating an impression that they would be enabling an agenda of hate and demonization against non-European immigrants by reaching an agreement with Trump.

    Trump's notorious January 11 "shithole" comments about black and Hispanic immigrants didn't help a great deal in this regard, either.

    Nolan also points out that the Democrats, in 2013, were willing to agree to abolish the visa lottery in return for a comprehensive CIR bill.

    This does not mean that the Democrats were opposed to the lottery or that they looked down on or despised its largely African beneficiaries because they were not from "countries like Norway", as Donald Trump has done.

    It just means that the Democrats thought that it would be a good compromise in order to benefit millions of unauthorized immigrants in the US from all over the world.

    This is not a reason to suggest that the Democrats were opposed to the diversity visa lottery on policy grounds. There is no evidence that this was the case.

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law
    Updated 03-27-2018 at 07:56 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
  2. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    Again, my above comments do not imply any criticism of Nolan's own goal in making constructive suggestions about possible immigration compromise solutions. I am only pointing out that compromise is harder than ever in an atmosphere created by a president who has consistently been demeaning and denigrating whole groups of immigrants and parts of the world because of their skin color or religion.

    Trump also has to deal with even more hysterical critics on the right whenever he does something reasonable, such as finally accepting that he had no choice other than to sign the omnibus spending bill despite its refusal to fund his border wall of hatred and contempt against Mexican and other non-white immigrants.

    See my own March 26 Immigration Daily blog comment on this topic.

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law
    Updated 03-27-2018 at 07:58 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
  3. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    A comment from Paul Schmidt, a very highly respected, liberal immigration lawyer. You should visit his excellent blog on immigration issues.

    This seems like an interesting idea that could work if, and it’s a big “if,” the parties can get over their respective “all or nothing” approaches.

    For the Dems, it gives the Dreamers closure, permanent status, and a path to eventual citizenship. A very big deal!

    At the same time, the GOP and Trump basically get three of “Trump’s pillars” in some form or another.

    Yes, the inclusion of the “parent bar” could be a sticking point for the Dems. But, it will be at least three to five years after the Dreamers get their “green cards” before any of them would be eligible to naturalize. By that time, both the thinking and the politics behind the issue of status for parents of naturalized U.S. citizens could well change. We would definitely have better data about the “real universe” in terms of numbers.

    Even now, many Dreamers no longer have two living parents who would be able to or interested in immigrating. Estimates of “future impact” based on the assumption that each Dreamer would “immigrate” two parents always have appeared wildly exaggerated to me. A “special immigrant program” would provide better data.

    Also, once Dreamers become Lawful Permanent Residents and U.S. citizens, they are likely to be in a position favorably to influence the dialogue about parental migration.


    Posted by Nolan Rappaport
    Updated 03-28-2018 at 10:25 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
  4. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    Yes, folks, here is the very latest news on Trump's latest (April 1) twitter rant against non-white immigrants, showing exactly how much Donald Trump "loves" the Dreamers; and how he is their very best, absolute, true-blue Best Friend - no doubt about it.

    With "best friends" like Donald Trump, DACA recipients don't need any enemies.

    For more about the tirade of poisonous hatred which Trump let loose against Dreamers, Mexicans, and, by extension, non-white immigrants in general while on his way to church to honor the principle of good will toward all people which is celebrated all over the world on Easter Sunday, see The Guardian (April 1):

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law

    Updated 04-01-2018 at 09:09 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
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