The billionaire Koch Brothers are making one last ask of the Republican-controlled Congress before a new one is seated in January: Whatever else you might do on immigration before the year is out, make sure passing amnesty for millions of illegal DACA recipients is among your final orders of business. The libertarian donors have, through their network of organizations, sent a letter to Congress asking lawmakers to get DACA amnesty through to the president’s desk before Democrats take control of the House next year.
The Koch brothers are urging Republicans to give President Trump a tiny amount of border wall funding, but include in that bill blanket amnesty for up to three-and-a-half million Dreamers who are currently in a kind of legal limbo status.
“As part of this appropriations process, Congress is expected to debate the issue of immigration–particularly additional funding for border security,” Koch officials wrote. “Congress should seize this opportunity to act on another immigration priority with strong support among the American people: a solution for the Dreamers.
“These young people, brought here as children, continue to live in uncertainty as their status is in jeopardy,” they continued. “Their ability to plan for the future and contribute to the nation remains limited until Congress passes legislation resolving their legal status. Lawmakers can provide that certainty to them, their families, and their communities by reaching across the aisle on this important bipartisan effort–now.”
It’s dramatically unlikely that – even with their big donors craving amnesty – the Republican-controlled Congress would even think of doing something like this before the end of the year. However, there are Republicans who have made mention of providing some kind of legalization for Dreamers when the new Congress takes session. In comments made earlier this month, Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) expressed his hope that DACA legislation could be among the things accomplished by our new divided Congress.
“There is a benefit to divided government,” Lankford said at the National Immigration Forum event. “There are enough people on both sides of the aisle that really see this as an issue that needs to be resolved.”
President Trump has shown some degree of sympathy for the plight of DACA recipients, but he’s unlikely to sign off on any form of amnesty that does not include either: A, full and complete funding for the Wall, or B, some kind of curtailment or end to chain migration, without which DACA amnesty would be an absolute nightmare. If he were to sign off on DACA amnesty without at least one of those conditions, he would risk losing significant support heading into the 2020 campaign.
Our guess is that Democrats won’t want this amnesty bad enough to actually give Trump what he wants, and that Republicans aren’t tough enough on the border to really dig in and fight it out. So this issue will probably remain unresolved for quite some time to come.