DACA Takes Front and Center at White House

January 18, 2018 12:47 pm
by David Jakeman

Since the Trump administration’s dramatic announcement that it was ending DACA, members of Congress have been trying to figure out a permanent solution for DACA. Everyone seems to agree that something should be done to help DACA recipients, but once they dive into the details, negotiations get sticky.

Seattle immigration lawyers following the debates will note that the main sticking points for the DACA fix are border security and the inclusion of other immigration reforms, like “chain migration” or the diversity lottery. These are issues that cut right to the center of the ideological debate, and there is no easy path forward. Similar unresolved concerns are what killed the 2012 chance at comprehensive immigration reform.

Surprises at White House DACA Negotiations

The deadline for DACA is fast approaching in March, and Congress is feeling the heat. President Trump invited members of Congress to the White House for a negotiation session on January 9, 2018. He also invited the press to attend. Members of the press expected to be allowed in the room for the first few minutes and then ushered out, but to everyone’s surprise, they were allowed to stay for a good portion of the meeting.1 Members of Congress had not been apprised of the press being allowed to stay, so they didn’t have very many bland talking points prepared. As a result, the discussion was refreshingly honest.

The talk might have been frank, but, as observers noted, not much was clarified. President Trump agreed with many different viewpoints voiced, so as the meeting ended, it was unclear what exactly he would be willing to sign.2 However, after the press left, it was agreed to create a bipartisan group of four lawmakers to negotiate DACA, border security, chain migration, and the visa lottery.3

Holding to the Deadline for DACA

Whatever the actual content of the discussion, it was heartening to see that Congress and the White House are taking DACA negotiations seriously. Lawmakers have been under pressure to find a permanent solution for DACA, with a deadline of March 5, 2018, but now a California court has blocked the Trump administration’s DACA termination. Hopefully, that won’t prevent Congress from continuing to forge ahead with a permanent immigration solution for Dreamers.


1– https://www.politico.com/story/2018/01/09/trump-immigration-meeting-mental-health-329600
2– https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/01/trump-immigration-white-house-meeting-congress-daca/550100
3– https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/09/us/politics/trump-daca-immigration.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=first-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news

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