Wednesday, May 8, 2019
The Trump administration is briefing Senate Republicans on their immigration plan at a White House meeting today. The immigration plan bears the imprint of Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, who has spent months working it, and has been shared with other stakeholders. The essence of his plan is maintain current levels of migration but change the composition by maximizing merit-based immigration and ending some family migration and visa lottery programs. There are some add-in measures such as beefed up border security and other changes favored by Trump and his more hard line advisor Stephen Miller. Measures for temporary workers and DREAMers seem to not be included. Aslyum is being addressed in separate legislation.
But there’s little hope of sufficient consensus to make a big deal before the next election. As Politico reports, "Lawmakers can’t agree on what the central immigration issue is, much less how to address it." While Senate Republicans are holding high-level meetings with President Donald Trump on an immigration reform bill, House Democrats are crafting their own plan to protect Dreamers. And the administration has formally requested billions in emergency aid to address the surge of migrants at the border. These negotiations continue the ongoing impasse since at least 2013 that has produced shuffling of leadership positions and little legislative progress. Readers will remember that prior attempts by Trump to reach a comprehensive immigration deal with Congress collapsed and resulted in the longest government shutdown in modern history.
This all reminds me of a call to action by Macarthur genius winner and ACLU Southern California Director Ahilan Arulananthan in several keynote lectures that we need a north star for immigration policy, one that currently seems to be lacking in federal government.