The Art of the Choke - Trump's preemptive surrender on DACA amnesty for illegal aliens

Article author: 
Mark Krikorian
Article publisher: 
Center for Immigration Studies
Article date: 
26 January 2018
Article category: 
National News
Article Body: 

The White House immigration outline was released today and it's not good. It could change tomorrow, for all we know, but as it stands now, this is a preemptive surrender on several issues.

The enforcement component is fine, as far as it goes – there's no E-Verify, but the White House decided months ago not to push that...

But the amnesty and chain migration components are fatally flawed. The fact that the amnesty would include a path to citizenship (i.e., the beneficiaries would eventually get green cards like regular immigrants) is fine with me – if you're going to amnesty illegal aliens, just rip off the band-aid and get it over with.

Instead, the issue is the size of the amnesty, or rather the universe of people who would be amnestied. If – as the White House promised just days ago – the amnesty were confined to those who now actually have DACA work permits (or even those who had them but didn't renew), administering the amnesty would be relatively straightforward....

But going beyond DACA beneficiaries to those who could have applied but didn't is a different thing. It's not just a difference in degree, but in kind. A whole new process will have to be set up for the 1 million additional people who would be expected to apply. The other work of USCIS would grind to a halt, delaying other legal immigration applications, as happened when DACA was originally implemented (and remember that Obama's DACA amnesty was smaller than what Trump is proposing)....

What's more, expanding the amnesty beyond DACA beneficiaries is morally dubious. The reason they have a compelling case for amnesty before all enforcement measures and in place and legal immigration curbed is that not only did they arrive here as minors but they voluntarily came forward and provided their information to the government. Those who chose not to do so should not be granted the same extraordinary act of mercy.

Then there's the legal immigration "cuts." The outline says that no new applications for the visa lottery and the chain-migration categories would be accepted, limiting family immigration to spouses and minor children. Great! But it also provides for the continuation of those categories (and reallocation of the lottery visas) until the admission of all 4 million people on the current chain-migration waiting lists. This is the same gimmick that was in the Hagel-Martinez amnesty bill in 2007 – and the estimate at the time was that it would take 17 years before all those people got their green cards....

The Cotton and Goodlatte bills both grandfather people on the waiting list who were within one year of getting their green card applications adjudicated, and refund the application fees for everyone else. This is a reasonable measure....

But to wait almost two decades before there's any reduction in legal admissions is absurd. First of all, if we're going to amnesty close to 2 million illegal aliens (and maybe more, since past estimates have proven so woefully wrong), that needs to be offset by immediate reductions elsewhere. What's more this would be yet another example of the other side getting what it wants up front, with promises of things we want in the future. As Popeye's friend J. Wellington Wimpy might have said, "I will gladly reduce immigration on Tuesday for an amnesty today."

The White House has botched the DACA issue, cutting Bob Goodlatte's House bill off at the knees and making it more likely that either there will be no bill at all or that any final bill the president signs (which is guaranteed to be even weaker than this) will fatally demoralize Republican voters. If the latter happens, the president will be well on the way to joining Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton in the impeached-but-not removed club.




From Roy Beck, NumbersUSA, alert dated January 25, 2018:

... Right now, the White House is preparing to propose a citizenship amnesty for an estimated 1.8 million "Dreamers," rather than the 690,000 DACA recipients that had been discussed up until today.

"NumbersUSA has no choice but to oppose what is being suggested as the White House "framework" for a mass amnesty.

"The plan seems eerily similar to the blueprint used for the 2007 Bush-Kennedy amnesty, which appeared to end chain migration, but wouldn't actually end it for 17 years.

"NumbersUSA mobilized our huge grassroots army to defeat the 2007 amnesty, and we will do the same if this plan is proposed next week.

"Under the White House framework, young-adult illegal border crossers and visa overstayers would get immediate benefits, including, most importantly, the right to compete with Americans in the permanent job market.

"But vulnerable American workers would get little or no relief from the competition of chain migration for 15 to 20 years. Even if new applications for chain migration categories are stopped immediately, the framework would allow chain migration to continue for decades by allowing all of the four million foreigners in the waiting list to continue coming.

"It is the House committee chairmen's H.R. 4760 that has its priorities straight.

"Although it provides the amnesty to DACA recipients that President Trump agreed to protect, its top priority is providing benefits to struggling Americans and legal immigrants already here by reducing overall immigration from the current level of more than one million a year and by mandating the incredibly popular E-Verify to take away the magnet for more illegal workers. Significantly reducing immigration numbers is desired by overwhelming majorities of American voters, according to the recent Harvard-Harris poll."

We must press the Members of the U.S. House to pass the Goodlatte bill (H.R. 4760) as soon as possible to try to block the horrific amnesty that the Senate appears ready to pass.

It is often said that you can't fight something with nothing. Fortunately, we have that "something" -- H.R. 4760.

Please go to your NumbersUSA action board to take positive action in support of the Goodlatte Bill - H.R. 4760. The bill:

  • Eliminates the Visa Lottery green card program
  • Eliminates Chain Migration and creates a renewable temporary visa for parents of citizens to unite families at no cost to taxpayers
  • Reduces legal immigration levels by about 260,000 a year - a decrease of about 25%
  • Reforms the agricultural guest worker program
  • Sends additional ICE agents to more high-risk embassies overseas to vet visitors and immigrants
  • Provides additional technology, roads and other tactical infrastructure to secure the border
  • Adds 5,000 Border Patrol Agents and 5,000 CBP Officers
  • Requires full implementation of the biometric entry/exit system at all air, land, and sea ports of entry
  • Makes E-Verify Mandatory for all employers
  • Authorizes the Department of Justice to withhold law enforcement grants from sanctuary cities
  • Allows DHS to detain dangerous illegal immigrants who cannot be removed
  • Reduces asylum fraud by tightening the “credible fear” standard to root out frivolous claims and increases penalties for fraud/terminates asylum for individuals who voluntarily return home
  • Grants amnesty to DACA recipients by issuing a 3-year renewable visa with work permit


While most of the articles listed below criticize Trump's amnesty plan, this article points out that it may indeed be a good deal: Today’s Trump Immigration Proposal, by Norm Matloff, January 26, 2018:

The writings of Mark Krikorian are always interesting, thoughtful and measured, so I read with interest his commentary, The Art of the Choke, on the new immigration proposal from the White House. Though the essay is well-reasoned, I disagree....

Mark’s objections seem to be that (a) the proposal would give amnesty — er, I mean a path to citizenship ?? — to many more unauthorized immigrations than just the DACAers, and (b) while the proposal would stop chain migration it would grandfather those already in the queue....

Concerning (b), I have always been a firm believer in making grandfather exceptions to new policy. It is a matter of keeping one’s word (not to mention avoiding lawsuits), and one must look at long term benefit. Moreover, some of the new policy would have effect much sooner than the Krikorian time horizon...

Regarding (a), it seems to me that this could turn out to be a brilliant move, “an offer the Democrats can’t refuse.” If they were to refuse it, and the deal ultimately cut were to include only the DACAers, the Latino activists would be livid — and with long memories. No, this is one they need to accept, quickly before you-know-who changes his mind....


Trump’s 2016 ‘Phoenix Promise’: No Consideration of Amnesty Until ‘Illegal Immigration Is Memory of the Past’, Breitbart, January 26, 2018.


Critics: WH Amnesty Plan Is the Self-Impeachment Act of 2018, by Neil Munro, Breitbart, November 26, 2018:

The open-ended amnesty offer by Donald Trump’s top deputies to the Democrats combines political incompetence, malpractice, greed, betrayal, and self-mutilation, say Trump’s friends and supporters.

“It electrifies the Democratic base and dispirits your own Republican base, and that is the recipe for a wipeout” in November, said Dan Horowitz, editor at Conservative Review. “You could call it the Self-Impeachment Act of 2018,” he added....

The demoralizing amnesty plan was published just after Senate Democrats threw in the towel after losing their amnesty-of-shutdown threat in the face GOP’s Trump-style rhetoric, just after Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin admitted his “Gang of Six” bill was dead amid widening Democratic splits,  just after GOP leaders got comfortable using the powerful charge that Democrats will favor illegals over Americans, just after House GOP leaders began to push Rep. Bob Goodlatte’s Trump-approved immigration bill, and just after voters — including minorities — starting moving back towards the GOP, and just after the Supreme Court moved the supposed DACA deadline to June.

“Jeez, Republicans snatch defeat right of the jaws of victory, again,” said Rosemary Jenks, NumbersUSA’s government relations director....

The malpractice is shown by the terms of the proposal, which contradicts Trump’s claim to be a master negotiator, by offering many concessions without getting anything in return, and by front-loading the amnesty while deferring potential benefits for Americans until after the November election and even the 2028 election.

The proposal says it will help Americans in the workplace by cutting back chain-migration — but it actually allows all 4 million people in the backlogged chain-migration pipeline to become citizens over the next 15 years or so.

The proposal says it cancels the visa lottery, but it just diverts the lottery visas to accelerate the arrival of the siblings, and elderly parents previously picked for citizenship by semi-random visa-lottery winners.

The proposal says it offers amnesty to an estimated 1.8 million younger illegals — but it suggests no rules to limit the likely fraud, undercounting and judicial appeals that could ensure a supercharged repeat of the 1986 amnesty, when the legislature’s promise of 400,000 green cards to agriculture workers quickly became the bureaucracy’s award of 1 million green cards....

The proposal does ask for $25 billion to build a border wall, but it also rejects proposed laws that would allow criminal charges against people who fly over the wall, overstay their tourist visas and claim their children are dreamers too. Instead, overstays are to be merely deterred by a quick departure or “expedited removal,” the proposal says....

The proposal also betrays the voters, who pulled the lever for Trump when he promised no amnesties, to enforce the laws and promised passage of reforms that would help Americans and their kids prosper after decades of working in a high-immigration, low-wage economy....

“There was no reason to do this now,” said Jenks. “What needed to happen was the President to come out strongly in favor of the House bill so that we have one good marker down.”...



Extremely Bad Idea: WH Plan Expands U.S. Citizenship for Illegal Aliens to Potentially Uncontrollable Levels, Breitbart, January 25, 2018:

... Kansas Secretary of State and gubernatorial candidate Kris Kobach called the White House plan to push for U.S. citizenship for 1.8 million eligible illegal aliens an “extremely bad idea.”...

For example, following the 1986 amnesty, it is estimated that of 2.7 million illegal aliens who got amnesty, at least 700,000 of those amnesty recipients fraudulently got legal status.

Secondly, Kobach says a future White House administration can simply “wave or override” the requirements that allege to keep the Trump administration’s amnesty plan contained to the 1.8 million eligible illegal aliens. A maneuver whereby the amnesty requirements are waved could lead to an amnesty for the majority of the 12 to 30 million illegal aliens currently in the country...


WH Plan: Big Amnesty Now, Nothing for Americans Until 2027, Breitbart, January 26, 2018:

President Donald Trump’s new “framework” amnesty plan would provide citizenship to at least 1.8 million illegals — but would not allow any beneficial reduction in cheap-labor immigration until 2027.

The pro-business plan, leaked to Washington insiders this afternoon, asks progressive Democrats and business-first Republicans to accept a trade-off: Amnesty for at least 1.8 million illegals in exchange for a border wall, end chain-migration and ending the visa lottery.

But the loopholes are huge — and those loopholes will flood the labor market for another decade, so helping Wall Street by cooling the current worker shortage which is now raising Americans’ wages.

For example, the lottery program would be ended, but the 50,000 lottery visas per year would be given to other migrants, so doing nothing to reduce the wage-lowering inflow of cheap labor.

More importantly, chain-migration would formally end immediately, but everyone on the huge waiting list would be allowed into the United States. That pipeline of pending chain-migration immigrants includes roughly 4 million people — many of whom will depend on taxpayer funds because they are either unskilled or too old to work. That population is enough to keep the chain-migration pipeline open for another ten years...


White House Proposal Extends Amnesty for 1.8 Million Illegals in Exchange for 25 Billion for Wall, End of Chain Migration, Visa Lottery, Breitbart, January 26, 2018.


Trump’s U.S. Citizenship for DACA Illegal Aliens Matches Other Failed Amnesties, Breitbart, January 26, 2018:

The White House expansive amnesty plan is hardly different from previous amnesties, one of which failed miserably under Obama and another that the White House shot down this week.

For example, the “Gang of Eight” amnesty plan in 2013, which practically destroyed all conservative support for Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) in his presidential aspirations, would have given the entire illegal alien population of about 12 to 30 million illegal aliens a pathway to citizenship as early as five years after being granted amnesty.

Likewise, the current “Gang of Six” amnesty plan sitting in the Senate, pushed prominently by Sens. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Dick Durbin (D-IL), would begin giving at least 3.5 million illegal aliens a pathway to citizenship as early as ten years after getting amnesty.

On the other hand, the White House-backed House immigration plan, authored by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), would remain in line with Trump’s concession of only giving legal status to DACA-enrolled illegal aliens with no special path to citizenship.

In exchange for the amnesty solely for DACA-enrolled illegal aliens, the Goodlatte bill implements mandatory E-Verify to ban employers from hiring illegal aliens over Americans, major reductions to legal immigration levels, and full funding for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, as well as a slew of other reforms that would help raise the wages of America’s working and middle class.



Why are these alien minors being given a path to citizenship with full voting rights? Also, under Trump's plan, chain migration would be limited to the immediate family - 2 parents and siblings.

  • If each of these 1.8 million amnestied aliens brings in 2 parents, that's a total of 5.4 million who will vote for the Democrat party.
  • If each of these 1.8 million amnestied aliens brings in 2 parents and 2 siblings, that's a total of 9 million who will vote for the Democrat party.

Perhaps Trump has naively presumed that he can gain the votes of these aliens by amnestying them. Yet they will never vote Republican. They will vote for the Democrat party that gives them the most taxpayer-paid benefits.

The 1986 amnesty "to end all amnesties" amnestied approximately 2.8 million illegal aliens. Promised aspects of immigration enforcement were never implemented. It was the first of seven amnesties - so far.

President Reagan issued the 1986 amnesty and immediately regretted it. Trump will, too.

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