Democrats need to make Republicans walk their talk and vote on a clean DREAM Act

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The so-called “Common Sense” bipartisan group of senators finally decided on their plan late Wednesday, ignoring veto threats from both the White House and the House Freedom Caucus, intent on making a deal for the sake of a deal regardless of lasting harm it could do to immigrant families.

The self-dubbed “Common Sense Caucus” of senators late Wednesday circulated legislation that would fulfill Trump’s calls to grant legal status to 1.8 million young immigrants and would appropriate $25 billion for southern border security construction projects over the next decade—not immediately, as Trump wants. The bill also would curb family-based immigration programs, but not to the extent Trump is seeking, and would not end a diversity visa lottery program that he wants eliminated.

Word of an agreement came as formal debate on immigration policy is set to intensify Thursday. The new bipartisan plan is slated for a vote, as is the GOP proposal sought by Trump, another Republican bill that would punish “sanctuary” cities and a bipartisan idea that would significantly water down Trump’s demands. […]

In an interview late Wednesday, a senior administration official denounced the bipartisan bill, calling it a “giant amnesty” that did nothing to secure the border, and vowed the White House would strongly lobby against it Thursday.

They’re conceding family reunification, a concession that Dreamers themselves have rejected. Meanwhile, Trump is not really denouncing the effort in a tweet, saying “Republicans and Democrats in Congress are working hard to come up with a solution to DACA,” but mostly bragging about his economy, continuing “they should be strongly considering a system of Merit Based Immigration so that we will have the people ready, willing and able to help all of those companies moving into the USA!” Apparently people already here aren’t ready, willing, and able to fill those jobs? That should sell well in Ohio.

And then there’s Paul Ryan’s House, where he “is under increasing pressure from hard-liners in the House Freedom Caucus to put a conservative Dreamer solution on the House floor,” and the leader of the maniacs is making threats. “I can say that it is a defining moment for this speaker,” intoned Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC). “If he gets it wrong, it will have consequences for him, but it will also have consequences for the rest of the Republican Party.”

Moderate Republicans will not support the hard-right bill and Ryan doesn’t have the votes to pass it. Apparently he is unwilling to put the bill on the floor unless he has the vote to pass it and says he won’t bring any other bill to the floor unless Trump has said he will sign it. Chances are about even that this House will not take a vote on an immigration bill at all. They’re all looking for an out: “top leaders signaled that ongoing court challenges may give Congress more time than Trump’s deadline of March 5 to replace an Obama-era program shielding hundreds of thousands of young immigrants from deportation.”

Now is not the time for Democrats to endorse a compromise that Dreamers themselves say they don’t want. They don’t want to have other immigrant families ripped apart in their names. They can’t make a deal for the sake of a deal, and sell out immigrant families in the process. They need to force a vote on a Clean DREAM Act and dare Republicans to walk their talk about saving the Dreamers.

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