Posted on January 10, 2018

Federal Judge Says Administration Must Accept DACA Renewals from Those Already in the Program

Mary Kekatos and Francesca Chambers, Daily Mail, January 10, 2018

A federal judge has blocked the Trump administration’s decision to end a program protecting young immigrants from deportation.

US District Judge William Alsup granted a request on Tuesday to prevent President Donald Trump from ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program while their lawsuits play out in court.

DACA has protected about 800,000 minors who were brought to the US illegally as children or came with families who overstayed visas. It includes hundreds of thousands of college-age students.

Alsup said the administration must resume accepting renewal applications from individuals who were already enrolled in the program

The Trump administration announced in September, however, that it would cancel the program, citing a threat from a coalition of 10 states, led by Texas, to challenge the program’s constitutionality.

Trump earlier in the day suggested a wall must be part of a deal that would include a legislative fix for the hundreds of thousands of immigrants affected by the Obama-era program.

‘As I made very clear today, our country needs the security of the Wall on the Southern Border, which must be part of

Trump told a group of 20 legislators from both parties at the White House that he could get behind a two-step process that would save the Dreamers from deportation and beef up border security that’s followed by a total immigration overhaul.

‘My positions are going to be what the people in this room come up with,’ Trump at one point said. ‘If they come to me with things I’m not in love with, I’m gonna do it, because I respect them.’

The assertion was a 180 from Trump’s earlier stance that immigration legislation must include funding for the border wall and radical changes to the visa process in addition to the safety measures Democrats are pursuing for recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

Trump had steadfastly said that he would not approve legislation that legalizes DACA unless he gets the wall, additional border security resources, the elimination of the visa lottery system and and an end to chain migration at the same time.

He confused his position in the meeting, leaving Democrats who were present clear as mud about the president’s definition of border security and comprehensive immigration reform.

‘There was no agreement on that, and we’re going to be working on that,’ House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer said of border security differences at a news conference outside the White House.

At the presser, Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, the chairwoman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, noted that Trump said he would sign the bill that lawmakers deliver to him.

‘That tells me that we can deal with potential poison pills and other issues and leave comp immigration reform for another day,’ she asserted. ‘So I’m encouraged and ready to do that work.’

As confusion over his position reached a high point after the remarkable meeting with lawmakers, the White House said that the wall was only one component of border security. Trump also wants technological upgrades to areas of the border.

The president’s spokeswoman said that nothing had changed in the president’s position, and Trump still believes that the four pillars of his immigration policy must be addressed in any bill that goes before Congress.

Sen. Lindsey Graham had mentioned a pathway to citizenship as part of comprehensive immigration reform in his remarks at the meeting, but White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that was not something the president was interesting in pursuing at this point in time.

‘Right now our focus is on the four things I laid out,’ she said.

None of that was what Trump said in the portion of the meeting that aired on television, though.

‘We’re going to come out with DACA and then we can start immediately on phase two, which would be comprehensive immigration reform,’ he said.

The president said Tuesday that a ‘clean’ DACA bill to him was Dream Act protections plus border security. Other aspects of immigration reform that he and GOP lawmakers in the room like Graham had been pursuing could be part of a companion bill that would be brought to the floor later that day.

Trump was adamant about one thing and one thing only: Congress has to fund his border wall as the first prong of immigration reform.

‘I’d love not to build the wall, but we need the wall,’ Trump said. ‘If you don’t have the wall, you cannot have security.’

After a lengthy discussion with lawmakers in the room that Trump allowed to play out on camera, providing an inside look at the bipartisan negotiations, the president said it was clear to all that he was on a ‘similar page’ with legislators present.

‘We have something in common. We would like to see this get done,’ he said.

Graham told the former businessman point blank that he needs ‘to close the deal’ as Trump took a backseat position to the lawmakers in the room.

The South Carolina senator noted that he’d been assigned a list of derogatory nicknames over his support for immigration reform such as Lindsey Grahamnesty and Lindsey Gomez.

‘I’ve had my head beat out a bunch. I’m still standing,’ he said. ‘I’ve been for a pathway to citizenship for 11 million people because I have no animosity for them.’

The GOP senator told the room, ‘I don’t want crooks, I don’t want bad hombres. I want to get a merit-based immigration system and to make sure we can succeed in the 21st Century.

‘I’m willing to be more than fair to the 11 million,’ he said. ‘I just don’t want to do this every 20 years.’

Graham predicted that the right-wing would go bonkers over the deal that’s in the works and characterize it as amnesty.

Trump insisted that an agreement would sell itself, though, and said the lawmakers could put any heat they take over the compromise agreement on him.

‘My whole life has been heat,’ Trump said. ‘I like heat in a certain way.’

Democrats had been refusing Trump’s demands for a border wall and a total immigration overhaul, leading Sen. Chuck Grassley, who attended the Tuesday meeting, to declare the negotiations ‘doomed to failure’ yesterday on the Senate floor.

White House senior adviser for strategic communications Mercedes Schlapp positively told Fox this morning, however, ‘The president will deliver.’

Trump half-jokingly told legislators at the White House on Tuesday, ‘Maybe at some point I’ll just lock the doors and I won’t let anyone out.’

Tuesday’s meeting was invite-only but Lujan Grisham, head of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, successfully crashed it after being told there was ‘no space’ for her at the table, according to Politico. She came to the White House with Hoyer and left optimistic that Republicans and Democrats could reach a deal.

The Republican president who led a lucrative business before he was elected brought lawmakers together to personally make his case for a revamp today in a White House meeting that was attended by immigration reform advocates in the House and Senate from both parties.

‘I feel having the Democrats in with us is absolutely vital because it should be a bipartisan bill. It should be a bill of love. Truly,’ Trump said. ‘It should be a bill of love. But it also has to be a bill where we’re able to secure our border. Drugs are pouring into our country at a record pace. A lot of people coming in that we can’t have.’

A statement provided to before the meeting said: ‘The Trump Administration’s immigration priorities are clear: securing the border with a wall, closing dangerous enforcement loopholes; eliminating the visa lottery program and ending chain migration.’

Sanders said after that the White House felt the meeting was ‘very successful’ and ‘very productive.’

GOP Sens. Lindsey Graham, David Perdue, Jeff Flake, Grassley and Tom Cotton were among those participating from Trump’s party. Democratic legislators included Sens. Dick Durbin, the number two Democrat in the Senate, Dianne Feinstein and Bob Menendez, along with Hoyer and Lujan Grisham, both of whom are in the house of representatives.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy represented GOP leadership in the meeting along with Rep. Michael McCaul, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee.

The meeting followed on Durbin’s declaration on Friday that Trump was making ‘outrageous’ demands that ‘would undercut months of bipartisan efforts’ to protect Dreamers.

Durbin accused Trump of ‘trying to put its entire wish-list of hardline anti-immigrant bills – plus an additional $18 billion in wall funding – on the backs of these young people.’

‘President Trump has said he may need a good government shutdown to get his wall. With this demand, he seems to be heading in that direction,’ Durbin said.

Trump told Democrat Dick Durbin on Tuesday that he now believes a DACA fix could be separate legislatively from other immigration reforms he’s pursuing, like an end to chain migration and an end to the diversity lottery

Trump told Durbin on Tuesday that he now believes a DACA fix could be separate legislatively from other immigration reforms he’s pursuing.

‘I really agree with Dick,’ Trump said. ‘I think we get the one thing done and then we go into comprehensive the following day. I think it will happen.’

Trump said in the long meeting, ‘I think we’ll do DACA, and we can certainly start comprehensive immigration reform the following afternoon.

‘We’ll take an hour off and then we’ll start. I do believe that,’ Trump added.

Trump had said Saturday during a presser at Camp David that Congress must fund the border wall he promised on the campaign trail or there would be no agreement.

‘The wall is going to happen or we’re not going to have DACA. You know, we want to get rid of chain migration. Very important. And we want to get rid of the lottery system,’ he said.

Trump also said that Democrats must approve his spending request for additional border security personnel, as well, and restructure the visa system.

‘We all want DACA to happen. But we also want great security for our country. So important. We want to stop the drugs from flowing in. Very important,’ he said Saturday.

Trump has claimed numerous times that visa lottery awardees are bottom-dwellers who are intentionally displaced by their home countries.

‘They give us their worst people, they put them in a bin, but in his hand, when he’s picking them is, really, the worst of the worst. Congratulations, you’re going to the United States. Okay. What a system — lottery system,’ he said recently.

He made a similar claim on Tuesday, wrongly asserting that ‘countries come in and put names in a hopper.’

‘They’re not giving you their best names – common sense tells you they’re not giving you their best names. They give you people that they don’t want, and then we take them out of the lottery,’ he said in his meeting.

‘When then do it by hand, put the hand in a bowl, and what’s in the hand are the worst of the worst. They put people that they don’t want in the lottery, and the United States takes those people.’

In reality, it’s the State Department who picks diversity lottery awardees, and they are selected at random. State heavily vets them before they are allowed into the U.S.

Trump wants to move to a merit-based immigration system, nonetheless, in which high-skilled visa applicants would be prioritized.

‘They’re not sending us their finest, okay. When somebody gets picked in the lottery, we’re not getting their best people,’ he said Saturday. ‘So we have to get rid of the lottery system, we have to get rid of chain migration, and we have to have a wall.’

The president told a reporter then that he expects all of the immigration reform components he’s demanding to be included in the compromise bill.  He also said it’s still his belief that Mexico will pay for the border wall.

Last week Trump had a Republican-only meeting at the White House to discuss immigration. His Tuesday gathering included top Democratic voices on the issue like Durbin, a Democrat from Illinois.

The meeting came less than a day after Grassley, an Iowa Republican, said in a floor speech that immigration talks have stalled because of Democrats’ unwillingness to compromise.

‘Unfortunately, this body still isn’t closer to a legitimate and fair deal that promotes and protects the interests of the American people in a lawful immigration system, and provides a fair and equitable solution on DACA,’ he said.

‘As the Democrats see it, it’s take it or leave it, their way or the highway. That isn’t good faith. That isn’t negotiation. And that approach is doomed to failure.’

Trump said during a Saturday presser at Camp David that Congress must fund the border wall he promised on the campaign trail or there would be no agreement

Schlapp, a senior communications official in the White House, subsequently lambasted Democrats as ‘hypocritical’ in a Tuesday morning appearance on Fox & Friends for backing away from border security measures after voting for the Secure Fence Act in 2006.

‘They were the ones in 2006 who basically supported these physical border barriers,’ she exclaimed. ‘It’s time for them to come to the table. Let’s strike a deal. The president wants to strike a deal with the Democrats, and the time is now to do it.’

Durbin, notably, did not vote for 2006 legislation. Feinstein, however, did.

The Illinois senator and Hispanic Democrats in the House are hoping to use a must-pass spending bill to force Trump’s hand on DACA this month.

The continuing resolution that’s keeping the government up and running expires on Jan. 19. Democrats said in their press conference outside the White House that they consider that the DACA deadline even though safety measures do not expire until March 5.

A memo that progressive group Center for American Progress is circulating that was obtained by the Daily Caller NewsFoundation on Monday described the DACA standoff as a ‘moral imperative’ for Democrats that is ‘critical’ to their success at the ballot box.

‘If Democrats don’t try to do everything in their power to defend Dreamers, that will jeopardize Democrats’ electoral chances in 2018 and beyond,’  the memo warns. ‘In short, the next few weeks will tell us a lot about the Democratic Party and its long-term electoral prospects.’

Schlapp told Fox on Tuesday that Democrats would be jeopardizing national security by holding up military funding if they go the shutdown route.

‘I think the Democrats are really running a very big risk if they go in this direction,’ she said. ‘And here is a president saying come over to the White House, let’s talk, let’s get this done.’

The American people want the homeland protected and real immigration reform, she asserted. ‘That is why the president was elected,’ Schlapp said. ‘And the president will deliver.’