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Court action takes pressure off Democrats to deal with GOP on immigration

Immigration Congress


Democrats no longer have an incentive to give Republicans concessions in the ongoing immigration debate on Capitol Hill.

Money for Donald Trump’s border wall in exchange for a DACA solution? No chance.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients have been spared from deportation — for now — by a federal court order, giving Democrats the space to attack Republican-controlled Washington for failing to broker a DACA solution without getting blamed for inaction if deportations were to begin.

“Should we give a border wall for nothing? No, I don’t think so,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said. “There’s not a whole lot of reasons to negotiate, to do anything that is not already covered by the court decision.”

Pelosi’s comments on Thursday were in stark contrast to the way Democrats talked about DACA a few months ago, when Democratic Rep. Luis Gutiérrez, D-Ill., said “I'll go down there with bricks and mortar and begin the wall” if it led to a solution for DACA recipients. Just six weeks ago Pelosi gave the longest speech in the history of the House of Representatives, urging Democrats to reject a spending bill because it didn’t contain a permanent solution for DACA recipients.

But that was before a March 5 DACA deadline was rendered largely meaningless by the courts.

“While I’m happy that the DACA folks have a little bit of breathing space... the flipside of that is people have less incentive to risk it to do real negotiations,” said Miami Republican Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, who has been talking to Democrats, House Leadership and President Donald Trump in recent months to find a DACA solution. “I think this process works on pressure and deadlines and so that hasn’t been helpful in that sense. Again, I’m relieved for the folks, but we need to find a long-term solution and right now I will tell you that momentum is kind of gone, but it’s going to come.”

DACA, created by President Barack Obama, allows certain young immigrants to live and work in the U.S. without the threat of deportation. Trump announced last year that he would not renew the program, but the Supreme Court declined to hear a fast-tracked appeal by the Justice Department that could have ended the program last month, putting its status in limbo.

Miami Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo has said several times in recent weeks that Congress works best under pressure, and the momentum to strike a deal is lost without a deadline that leads to negative consequences like deporting immigrants or a government shutdown.

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