These immigration reforms must be part of any DACA fix, say Labrador, GOP


With a tax bill complete, Republicans in Congress are turning their attention back to immigration.

Specifically, an ad hoc House GOP working group that includes Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, has finished developing a list of immigration reforms Republicans would want addressed in exchange for allowing people brought illegally into the U.S. as children to remain here. House Speaker Paul Ryan charged the group in September with finding a way to solve the latter problem that the broader GOP could support. Its members presented their plan Tuesday to President Donald Trump.

The proposal includes ending chain and visa lottery immigration, increasing border security (including Trump’s long-sought border wall) and tightening enforcement.

If those measures pass, Labrador said, then the nearly 800,000 people in the U.S. under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program will get to stay under a non-immigrant status. The Obama administration program was intended as a stopgap until legislation permanently addressed those immigrants’ fates; so far, that hasn’t happened. Meanwhile, conservatives argued the DACA program was a presidential overreach. Trump in September announced he would end it, but delayed that end until March to encourage Congress to solve the problem itself.

“What we are trying to do is help President Trump keep his promise to the American people,” said Labrador, who chairs the House Immigration and Border Security Subcommittee. “If it were to pass, it would strengthen our borders, strengthen our interior enforcement and it would completely change the way that we bring people to the United States.”

And what did Trump think of the plan?

“He loved it. It is exactly the plan that he wants,” Labrador said. “He will not be happy if the final plan deviates from this plan. Anything that deviates from this plan, I believe I can safely say, he is willing to veto.”

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