Reality Sets in that DACA Deal Might Not Get Done

Washington (CNN) After months of rhetoric and negotiations on immigration with the parties barely any closer to each other, the reality is beginning to dawn that there may be no deal to be had.

Stakeholders working toward a deal on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, likely including border security, are not giving up hope. But the White House’s and some Republicans’ insistence on adding new restrictions to legal immigration and the left’s opposition could be an insurmountable gap.

The White House on Thursday released its proposed framework for a deal on DACA, a program that protected young undocumented immigrants who came to the US as children that President Donald Trump is terminating as of March 5 but pushing lawmakers to replace.

The proposal did have some concessions to Democrats, including a path to citizenship for an estimated 1.8 million undocumented immigrants, but also included aggressive cuts to legal immigration and a push for enhanced enforcement powers, along with upwards of $25 billion for a wall and other border security. The framework also ends family migration beyond spouses and minor children and abolishes the diversity visa lottery.

The proposal was panned by the left and the right. Groups who support restricting immigration slammed it as “amnesty.” Democratic lawmakers and immigration advocates rejected it as a “massive, cruel and family-punishing overhaul of our current legal immigration system,” as New Jersey’s Sen. Bob Menendez phrased it.

The framework, plus Trump’s earlier rejection of an offer from Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to authorize upwards of $20 billion for a wall and a vulgar rejection of a bipartisan proposal from the Senate “Gang of Six,” could mean that the only option left is a temporary extension of DACA with no future certainty. Some lawmakers have even started mentioning the latter option.

For now a permanent solution for DACA is “dead,” said Leon Fresco, an immigration attorney who led immigration negotiations for Schumer in 2013.

By Tal Kopan for CNN POLITICS
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