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DACA Dilemma: Trump’s brilliant immigration solution is on the table

Written By | Jan 26, 2018

Border patrol at sea by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. (Image via U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security. Government image in the public domain.)

Terry editing, please hold. – T WASHINGTON, January 26, 2018: President Trump has been trying since last September to resolve a few of the key issues concerning immigration in the U.S. Knowing that certain procedures involving the treatment of illegal immigrants are actually illegal themselves, he forced Congress’ hand by first terminating ex-President Obama’s unconstitutional DACA fiat.

He then gave Congress a generous six month deadline to pass legislation to deal with the DACA dilemma and to secure America’s borders. In other words, the President expects Congress to begin doing what they are supposed to be doing: making laws.

Read also: Paul Krugman, Nobel Prize-winning economist, can’t understand business

Solving just DACA and security issues are only part of a suitable immigration solution. But those are the parts that the two sides negotiating the solution insist must be solved now. But the differences between the Republicans and Democrats on these two key issues are vast.

February 8 is the new deadline for dollars and DACA

To end the most recent government shutdown, both sides agreed to allow the Federal government to spend money at previously budgeted levels until February 8. A DACA solution must be found and signed into law by then or we risk another government shutdown. In other words, a good deal has to be made. And soon.

Despite the negative press coverage about Trump’s dealmaking abilities, the President brilliantly deploys his business instincts to finally seal a deal no matter how far apart the sides may be. The first step is always to understand the needs and the goals of both sides.

Although Trump is a Republican his primary concern is always results, not process. He aims to close the deals that he believes will benefit the majority of Americans.

Remember too, that Trump is not a politician. Solely inhabiting the private sector, however, he never learned about political correctness or about placing the party above the country in some instances. Trump just wants a deal that meets his minimum standards, can be acceptable to both sides and benefits the majority of Americans.

The starting point

In business, when brokering a deal, the agent (Trump) suggests a starting point that is somewhere between the positions, yet maintains most of what each side really wants. Trump’s minimum standard is that any DACA-centric deal include four key areas:

  • A DACA solution
  • Funding for the border wall
  • An end to chain immigration
  • An end to the lottery

The most conservative Republicans do not want anyone who has illegally entered this country under any circumstances, to be given citizenship. The other side wants citizenship for them and citizenship for their entire family (their entire chain).

The most liberal Democrats claim to want border security but absolutely refuse to spend $25 billion on a wall that may not even work.

Ending the immigration lottery is the one issue where both sides could likely agree.

Trump suggested a starting point that will not be acceptable to the most conservative Republicans. Nor will it be acceptable to the most liberal Democrats. But Trump’s knows that any position that is acceptable to the extremists will never achieve a majority vote.

Trump’s initial DACA proposal

Estimates are that there are about 700,000 so-called “dreamers” who are currently registered under Obama’s soon-to-be-terminated DACA fiat.  While accurate numbers are difficult for those not registered, Trump estimated there are another 1.1 million in this category. He proposed giving those 1.8 million illegals a path to citizenship. That makes the Democrats and moderate Republicans happy, but leaves the Conservative Republicans are fuming.

Anticipating a similar division, Trump then pulled in the immigration chain, but just far enough to satisfy the middle-of-the-roaders. Chain migration currently permits each legal immigrant to bring his or her entire extended family to the U.S. Trump’s proposal allows the immigrant to bring the spouse and all their children. That’s a position that should also be acceptable to the majority of both sides, though probably not the extremes.

Lastly, during his election campaign, Trump promised the American voters a border wall. What the media and official Washington fail to understand, however, is that non-politician Trump actually believes he must keep the promises – like the wall – that he made to American voters, many of whom crossed the aisle to elect him.

Trump has developed wall prototypes that fit the differing terrains. He insists on building the wall, But he has reduced the cost to $25 billion. The GOP is happy. The Dems are “concerned” with the cost. Trump’s view is that for a party that is seldom concerned about spending in most areas and that was largely in power over the past 8 years when the Obama regime’s ballooning government indebtedness grew from $11 trillion to $20 trillion, $25 billion should easily be an figure to get the wall going.

Because Trump believes his proposal is the one that can ultimately be approved by a majority, he will give the impression that this is “take it or leave it proposal.”  It is, however, his initial proposal, his “first offer.” If a deal can be made with slight changes, while adhering as closely as possible to Trump’s core principles, he will make changes. Any good bargaining agent would do that.

Trump’s skills at making a deal are likely to produce a good outcome. Remember: The prior administration held the presidency and a majority in both houses of Congress. Yet they were unwilling or unable to address the immigration issue during that period, when they could likely have passed any immigration legislation they wanted.

DACA is a difficult issue. But Trump will get the job done.


Michael Busler

Michael Busler

Michael Busler, Ph.D. is a public policy analyst and a Professor of Finance at Stockton University where he teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in Finance and Economics. He has written Op-ed columns in major newspapers for more than 35 years.