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House conservatives balk at Trump amnesty plan

Conservative Review

Conservative House Republicans are panning a proposal by the Trump White House to grant a pathway to citizenship to nearly two million illegal immigrants, arguing that this amnesty breaks Trump's campaign promises.

On Thursday, the White House announced the framework for a deal with a pathway to citizenship for 1.8 million so-called "Dreamers," far beyond giving a new legal status to the 800,000 individuals who received work permits from Obama's illegal DACA. In return for this extraordinary concession, Trump is asking for $25 billion to fund the construction of strategic border fencing in areas along the southern border and other border security enforcement measures. Additionally, the White House has proposed limiting chain migration to immediate nuclear family members (not ending the program) and reallocating diversity lottery visas to reduce the "backlog" of high-skill and family-based visa applicants.

Congressman Dave Brat, R-Va., told CRTV that the Trump plan is out of step with the Republican House majority.

"The Trump amnesty plan may capture the wishes of the White House and Senate staff who wrote it, but it does not capture the promises that President Trump made to the American people and it does not capture the will of the majority in the Republican House," Brat said. "Giving an amnesty beyond the DACA group to those that did not even sign up to receive an amnesty will only lead to perverse outcomes and fraud and corruption. In contrast, the House has been working on rational, coherent policy in the form of the Goodlatte bill, which fully anticipates the unintended consequences that amnesty will certainly bring and deals with them in a rational manner."

Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., characterized the deal as a broken promise.

“I don’t support amnesty of any kind, and that’s exactly what this is," said Gosar. "The White House came forward with an amnesty deal, and quite frankly, I’m disappointed that a promise was not kept.”

One of the House's most vocal immigration hawks, Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, tweeted that the deal "negotiates away American Sovereignty."

Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, told Conservative Review his position is that border security must come before amnesty. "This new White House immigration framework is simply inconsistent with the promises President Trump made to those that elected him," Gohmert said.

"Not only will it take ten-plus years to clear the chain migration backlog of applications while choking the system, it will open the door to those illegally here who have not yet even applied for legal status, a number which will expand exponentially. This, in turn, will eventually result in millions more illegally here – not to mention more corruption due to the sheer volume of the amnesty,” he added.

On the campaign trail, Donald Trump promised to "immediately terminate" President Obama's unconstitutional executive order granting amnesty to illegal immigrants who came to the United States as children. Once in office, however, the president delayed the repeal of this executive order for months before phasing it out in September of last year and giving Congress a six-month period to create a legislative solution to legalize "Dreamers."

Now Congress is struggling to put together an immigration deal before the March deadline, when legal protections for Dreamers expire and they become subject to immigration law enforcement and deportation. Trump's amnesty proposal comes after the radical open-borders zealots in the Democratic Party shut down the government last week when the White House rejected a Senate amnesty deal with inadequate border security measures.

House Republicans have put forward bill with a far more limited amnesty by Reps. Goodlatte, R-Va., McCaul, R-Texas, Labrador, R-Idaho, and McSally, R-Ariz. This comprehensive bill would eliminate chain migration, authorize the construction of a border wall, and would enable the 800,000 DACA recipients to obtain renewable three-year non-immigrant visas with no path to a green card and no citizenship. The thinking on Capitol Hill, however, is that the House plan will not have enough support in the Senate to get to 60 votes and land on Trump's desk. Democrats have taken an extreme position on amnesty, going so far as to reject the Trump proposal to give at least 1.8 million illegal aliens citizenship.

But ask Congressman Brat, and he'll tell you the American people have no stomach for the Trump plan or the Democrats' extremism.

"Take the TV cameras out to Michigan and Pennsylvania and Ohio and ask the folks out there which plan they prefer," he said.

CRTV congressional correspondent Nate Madden contributed to this report.

Editor's note: This piece has been updated to add the quote from Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas.

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