Deferred action for DACA recipients will start to expire in March 2018 and there is still no certainty about what will happen to them. Amidst legal challenges to the rescission of DACA, the introduction of a number of statutory fixes, and a supposed “deal” between President Trump and Democratic leaders to protect the “Dreamers,” there is now a new twist. The Trump Administration has announced a list of principles to include in any deal for the Dreamers. Those principles, some of which derive from the President’s various Executive Orders, include:
- Construction of a wall across the US southern border;
- Improve infrastructure and security on the northern border;
- Eliminate loopholes that make it difficult to return Unaccompanied Alien Children (primarily from Central America) and their families to their home countries;
- Hire 10,000 immigration agents and 300 Federal prosecutors;
- Hire 370 Immigration Judges and 1,000 ICE attorneys;
- Increase scrutiny of asylum petitions and impose penalties for baseless or frivolous claims;
- Terminate “catch and release” policies;
- Expand grounds of inadmissibility and deportability;
- Deny federal aid to sanctuary jurisdictions;
- Discourage visa overstays by classifying overstays as misdeameanors;
- Require use of E-Verify by all employers and increase penalties for a pattern or practice of violations;
- Eliminate extended family “chain migration” and establish a new merit-based green card system; and
- Eliminate the diversity lottery.
It is not clear whether these principles represent a first offer in a negotiation or if these principles are non-negotiable. Some Democrats in Congress have threatened the possibility of a government shutdown in December if DACA recipients receive no relief. Senator Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) has pieced together parts of other proposed legislation and introduced what he believes would be a compromise bill, the Border Security and Deferred Action Recipient Relief Act. This Act provides:
- DACA recipients or other children who have been in the U.S. since 2012 can obtain Conditional Resident Status for 10 years by pursuing vocational or higher education, are gainfully employed or by enlisting in the military. Upon meeting certain conditions, after the 10 years, they will be eligible to apply for Green Cards.
- $1.6 billion for border security measures: 74 miles of border fortifications and funding to plan for further construction.
- Construction of border access roads to simplify CBP patrols of the border.
- Targeting of gangs and cartels for deportations.