Originally Published: January 15, 2018 6 a.m.
Everyone knows something has to be done for America’s DACA kids.
Everyone with a good heart or a working brain knows it’s not their fault their parents sneaked them into the country when they were kids under 16.
It’s true that by law they are illegal immigrants.
But most DACA kids have grown up to become good, law-abiding Americans.
They’ve gone to school here. They’ve worked and paid taxes here. They’ve even served in our military.
Everyone except a few people on the far fringe knows it’d be wrong to deport these 800,000 so-called “Dreamers” — now or in the future.
As we saw in Washington this week, DACA kids have become a bargaining chip for President Trump in his efforts to get Congress to build a border wall and reform immigration policy.
President Obama created America’s DACA kids by executive order in 2012 with his Deferred Action for Child Arrivals program, which delayed the deportation of “Dreamers” who signed up for it for two years.
President Trump has already announced his administration’s plans to phase out DACA, though last week a federal judge temporarily blocked that executive decision until a bunch of lawsuits challenging it are settled.
Trump and his Republican allies say they want to extend protections for the “Dreamers” as part of a larger legislative bill that also funds the wall and ends chain immigration.
Democrats in Congress say to Trump, “OK, but extend DACA’s protections first, then we’ll deal with the border wall and other stuff later.”
The DACA bar fight is still in the first round.
But already it’s a perfect example of how bad the Republicans are at educating the public about what they do in Washington and why they do it the way they do.
In this case, Republicans need to explain to the country why they are insisting on Congress doing DACA and immigration reform together.
The reason is because Republicans remember how badly they were burned by Democrats in 1986, after my father signed the Immigration Reform and Control Act, aka the Simpson-Mazzoli Act.
Part one of Simpson-Mazzoli allowed 3 million illegal immigrants to have a pathway to citizenship. That’s the only part of the bill people remember today — the so-called “Reagan Amnesty.”
But nearly everyone — particularly the mainstream liberal media that thinks American political history started when they woke up this morning — forgets about the second part.
Part 2 of Simpson-Mazzoli was an agreement to secure the southern border — which was never implemented in 1986 or to this day.
That’s the memory Republicans are still haunted by today. They have good reason to not trust Democrats to keep their word on border security if they negotiate a two-step DACA-immigration deal.
Now it’s up to the president, the speaker of the house and every important Republican in Washington to explain to the public why it’s so important for DACA and border security to be done together.
The mainstream media will never fairly or fully explain the Republicans’ position on their own, but if President Trump starts talking and tweeting about it, they’ll have to.
If Trump can bring enough attention to the GOP side of the immigration debate, a win-win bipartisan deal might be possible.
The Republicans will have to cave on DACA and the Democrats will have to cave on the border wall.
President Trump has already said he’ll be willing to take the political hit to get an immigration reform deal done. Let him.
He doesn’t care anyway. He can say or do just about anything.
The worst that can happen to him is that in 2020 he has to go back to being a billionaire.
Michael Reagan is president of The Reagan Legacy Foundation. Visit his websites at www.reagan.com and www.michaelereagan.com. Send comments to Reagan@caglecartoons.com. Follow @reaganworld on Twitter.