Democratic Leaders Face Internal Mutiny over Dreamers Deal

Heather Caygle and Seung Min Kim, Politico, January 11, 2018

Democratic leaders are facing a potential revolt within their ranks as they edge toward a deal with Republicans that would protect Dreamers from deportation but also include concessions to conservatives that many Democratic lawmakers say are unacceptable.

Senate negotiators say they’re inching toward a bipartisan deal that broadly mirrors the parameters laid out during a meeting this week between lawmakers and President Donald Trump at the White House. {snip}

But many Democrats, particularly in the House, are horrified that their leaders would even agree to discuss issues beyond legal status for Dreamers and limited measures to curb illegal immigration. The concerns span multiple factions of the Democratic conference, and, combined with opposition from Republican immigration hard-liners, they could put passage of a DACA deal at risk.

During a tense meeting Tuesday night, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California and other top Democrats were dressed down by rank-and-file Democrats over the talks.

“We’re willing to give a little when it comes to border security, but we’re not willing to give away the whole hog and farm,” said Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.), a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus who attended the meeting.

He and other Democrats in the opposition camp argue that wide-scale changes to family-based sponsorship laws and the visa lottery should be discussed only as part of a broader immigration deal.


Several House liberals worry that Democratic senators, led by Minority Whip Dick Durbin of Illinois, will strike a bad deal and force them to swallow it.

The tensions couldn’t come at a worse time for Democrats. Liberals and members of the minority caucuses — particularly the CHC and the Congressional Black Caucus — are urging their leadership to stand firm and resist the push from Republicans and some Senate Democrats to negotiate on items outside the scope of Dreamers and border security.

But moderates and vulnerable members in competitive districts are hungry for a deal and willing to openly entertain the controversial changes. Not to mention that Republicans in the White House and in both chambers of Congress have agreed those were the parameters of the talks and have been negotiating accordingly.


{snip} Democrats have said they won’t agree to a deal on spending caps — a necessary first step to writing a long-term funding bill — before both sides reach a solution on Dreamers, opening the door to a potential government shutdown.

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