Many Republican senators are still in the dark on what Donald Trump is planning to do about immigration, aside from his well-known plan to build a border wall and focus on border security along the southwestern U.S. border.

More than a week after Trump was elected, many are unclear what Trump plans to do about the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States, and the future of children protected by President Obama’s Deferred Action for Child Arrivals (DACA) program.

Sens. Lindsey Graham and Jeff Flake have indicated that Trump’s specific plans are still unclear. The two senators, who both were part of the “Gang of Eight” immigration bill that passed the Senate in 2013, made clear they are all in for border security enhancements, but are still curious about what they see as the final puzzle piece to any fight over immigration.

After rattling off multiple issues he expects to be able work with Trump on, including infrastructure and reallocating money to rebuild the military, Graham told reporters this week that he didn’t name immigration as part of that crowd because he does not know what Trump wants to do beyond border security.

“The reason I didn’t pick it is I don’t know what he wants to do,” Graham said. “I’ll tell you what I won’t do, I will not vote for a bill that, quite frankly, treats a grandmother and a drug dealer the same.”

“I will vote for border security. But here’s my view, that Democrats are not going to give Republicans all the things we want on border security and legal immigration increases unless they know what’s going to happen to the 11 million,” Graham said. “So I didn’t put that on the list because he’s going to lead.”

“I’m waiting to see what he does and what the House will do. I think his position is evolving,” Graham said, adding that he needs to think “long and hard” about whether to repeal DACA.

Flake, the junior Arizona senator who was a vocal critic throughout the GOP primary and general election, argued that Trump needs to figure out what to do about people covered by DACA, which the Obama originally announced in June 2012 and expanded in November 2014.

“Obviously, he’s going to focus on border security. That’s fine. We did that in the bill we passed over here,” Flake told the Washington Examiner Wednesday, referring to the so-called “Gang of Eight” immigration bill the Senate passed in 2013. “DACA will come up because there will be people timed out of it, so it’s going to be forced upon us.”

Report: Trump considering Nikki Haley for secretary of state

Also from the Washington Examiner

President-elect Trump might be flirting with the idea of selecting South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley as his secretary of state.

11/17/16 12:30 AM

“I don’t know. I don’t know,” Flake said when asked what his expectations are for Trump regarding the future of DACA. “If you look at some statements that were made in the past, he’s been accommodating. In 2012, he made statements about dealing with the population that’s here. Not necessarily DACA, but you would think he would be even more sympathetic to the kids.”

“So I don’t know. I’ll just leave that up to them,” Flake added. “But we’ll be pushing it. We’ve got to do, obviously, border security. We’ve got to do interior enforcement. We’ve got to do guest worker plans. We’ve got to do a mechanism to deal with those illegally. So at some point, we’ve got to do it all.”

During the course of his presidential bid, Trump made several statements about what to do with those illegally in the United States. Last November, Trump called for a “deportation force” to remove the 11 million illegal immigrants. However, he made a nearly 180 degree turn in August when he told Fox News that he was open to “work with” those who have been non-violent and have lived in the U.S. for an extended period of time.

Sen. Marco Rubio, one of Trump’s top opponents during the GOP primary campaign, reiterated Wednesday that “something reasonable” can still be done with those who are in the country and are not “delinquents.” However, he said that it still remains the third step in any potential deal on the issue.

“I can tell you that border security is always something that I’ve been supportive of, and a wall and other barriers are key aspects of it,” Rubio told reporters. But he added, “that alone won’t be enough.”

Earmark battle isn't over yet

Also from the Washington Examiner

Republicans bore the brunt of the public’s distaste for earmarks.

11/17/16 12:01 AM

“I believe that is the third step in the 3-step process. It begins with winning the confidence of the American people that our illegal immigration problem is under control, and the second step wold be to modernize our legal immigration system so that it’s more merit-based,” Rubio said. “After those two things are in place, I believe the vast majority of Americans would be very supportive to doing something reasonable with people who are not delinquents.”

Other senators who spoke with the Examiner on Wednesday, including Sens. Ron Johnson and Roy Blunt, also believe that the 11 million illegal residents cannot be tackled until border security is addressed.

Earmark battle isn't over yet

Top Story

Republicans bore the brunt of the public’s distaste for earmarks.

11/17/16 12:01 AM

Source link

About the Author:

Leave a Reply