DACA, the Wall, and the Deal

By | 2017-06-02T18:30:05+00:00 January 12, 2018|
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Earlier this week President Trump, in a masterful political move, invited some top congressional leaders to discuss immigration with him on live television at the White House. Trump was engaged, humorous, showing himself to be extremely reasonable as he controlled the conversation for almost an hour. And despite the breathless narrative of the Left in recent days, he also showed that he is very much in possession of his mental faculties (thank you, very much). It was a brilliant move, one likely inspired by Trump himself.

Now, with the Russia collusion fairytale in shambles, and the economy and markets picking up steam, President Trump’s political capital is growing with some initial good news from tax reform. Republicans on the Hill are warming to him because, as the saying goes, “Nothing succeeds like success.” Or, to be more blunt, everyone likes a winner, and Trump is winning.

Yet the immigration issue, especially as it applies to DACA, is one that should be navigated carefully. Trump has made it clear that there is no deal on DACA if there is no wall. But it’s not so simple as a straight up trade of DACA for the wall, and in the days following the meeting, the White House has correctly laid out the parameters for the potential DACA deal: funding for a physical wall and other border security measures, an end to chain migration, and an end to the visa lottery system. In a perfect world, voter ID and E-verify would be added as well, though those are likely to be a part of the much larger immigration reform.

In return for those items, it should be stressed that the deal for Dreamers is not immediate citizenship, but potentially green cards and a five-year process to become citizens. They would give them immediate legal status to prevent deportation. The fact of the matter is that it is in no one’s interests to deport the Dreamers, and in spite of a vocal minority, many in Trump’s base don’t believe it is the right thing to do. And yes, in this process the Dreamers would be put on a path to citizenship. While some will decry that they came illegally, it should also be acknowledged that they came as children and not of their own volition.

What is fascinating to watch in this debate is the Democrats seeming abhorrence to a physical wall. Not so long ago, Democrats actually used to be for physical barriers on the southern border. In 2006, four Democrat Senators by the names of Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Joe Biden and Chuck Schumer voted for the funding for the Yuma Sector Wall. That wall, essentially a massive 20-foot high steel curtain, has brought about a decrease of over 90 percent in illegal crossings since it was built. The fact is, strong physical barriers work. Hungary’s heavy fencing on its 96-mile wall with Serbia has cut illegal crossings to almost nothing. Israel’s 143 miles of heavy fencing on its southern border in the Sinai has cut illegal crossings from hundreds a month to only 11 total in 2016, a 99 percent drop in illegal crossings.

President Trump is absolutely correct in stressing there must be a wall, because it really was one of the top three reasons he was elected. People did not chant, “Build the fence!” at his rallies. They chanted, “Build the wall!” It would be viewed as a deep betrayal if there was not full funding for the southern wall. By the Department of Homeland Security’s estimates in February 2017, 1,250 miles of wall—with some fencing—would cost $21.6 billion and take three and a half years to build. There are expectations that this is the minimum funding needed to build the wall. It is also expected by Trump’s base that in many places as possible there will be a physical wall.

The framework for much of this overarching deal is laid out in Rep. Bob Goodlatte’s proposed legislation. Everyone from Speaker Ryan to Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), leader of the Freedom Caucus, have expressed support for Goodlatte’s bill, with many feeling that the bill could in fact pass the House. What the Senate would do is, of course, anyone’s guess.

We are in a moment where there can be a major reset on our immigration policy in this country. Because our failures on immigration have been building for decades, resulting in a snarled, warped system, the untangling and cleaning up of it will be messy.  


But in politics there is the art of principled pragmatism, in which two deeply opposed parties come to the table and understand each with get something they want and also walk away from the table feeling like they didn’t get enough.


If the Democrats are serious about protecting the Dreamers, they will take this deal. They will get legal status for them and get them on a path to citizenship. In return, Trump will get his wall and Republicans would get an end to chain migration and the absurd visa lottery. While this potential DACA deal won’t solve all of our immigration problems, it would be a significant step in the right direction.

About the Author:

Ned Ryun
Ned Ryun is a former presidential writer for George W. Bush and the founder and CEO of American Majority. You can find him on Twitter @nedryun.


  1. Don Anastas √ #WAR January 12, 2018 at 12:13 pm

    “Negotiations and compromise means we get everything we want.” ~ Former Senator Harry Reid (D-NV).

    All of Dirty Harry’s colleagues feel the same way!!

    • armst January 14, 2018 at 5:56 am

      Air Assault. Geronimo. First Strike.

  2. Andrew E. January 12, 2018 at 8:03 pm

    The best the Dreamers can expect is normalized status. For green cards they’ll have to apply and compete with everyone else under the new merit-based standards and lower annual caps. And their parents and families will be sent home with no ability to chain-migrate them back in. Also, any Dreamers will have to vetted for criminal records and fraud before being normalized.

    • patrick1984 January 14, 2018 at 5:26 am

      And, if 18 or older cannot be in “permanent” welfare status. Must be either working, student or in the military – or something along those lines.

  3. John Velisek January 12, 2018 at 8:31 pm
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      • creative_dude January 13, 2018 at 9:43 pm

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      • Stable Max January 13, 2018 at 9:49 pm

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        • Micha_Elyi January 13, 2018 at 10:49 pm

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  4. mnemonicmike January 13, 2018 at 10:04 pm

    “….it should also be acknowledged that they came as children and not of their own volition.” Why isn’t that the problem of the parents that brought them and the Mexican government, since they’re citizens of Mexico? Why is it a problem of the US?

    • Ann Thomsen January 14, 2018 at 10:07 am

      NO pity here. New Mexico schools can no longer provide sports programs because the illiterate, ineducable, Spanish speaking children in the schools, now suck the majority of education dollars from everyone else.

      Then they quit before graduation and begin stealing cars for parts that go to Mexico and mule drugs and pills back….. Mexican kids are irredeemable. Ditto for Hondurans and El Salvadoreans. They are low IQ , violent predators.

  5. billsv January 13, 2018 at 10:51 pm

    I would add one other demand – a change to Birthright Citizenship. One parent has to be a legal US Citizen. Birth on US soil is insufficient.

    • Jeff Gauch January 13, 2018 at 11:27 pm

      That’s going to require an amendment to the Constitution.

      • Geraldine_Ferraro January 14, 2018 at 4:09 am

        We could do it without an amendment if Trump were to create an equivalent to the 9th Circuit (and sympathetic lower judges). Simply challenge a citizenship case (to a child of illegal immigrant MS-13 gang members, perhaps) in that jurisdiction, wend it through the system, get the newly-created 14th appellate to rule that this child of noncitizen MS-13 gang members does not have citizenship, and then it’ll be challenged by the 9th (and others, probably).

        Then it’s up to Conservative SCOTUS members to discover our own emanations and penumbras in the Constitution.

        This is how the Left would do it. Let’s start playing by their rules.

        • Jeff Gauch January 14, 2018 at 11:02 am

          Let’s not. If we emulate the Progressives in their lawlessness there isn’t any reason to oppose the Progressives.

          • Geraldine_Ferraro January 14, 2018 at 11:14 am

            10 years ago I’d have agreed with you. But, to steal a critical descriptor: This is still the Flight 93 presidency. If we don’t stop turning the other cheek, the Progressives are going to literally turn these United States into a Zimbabwean identity politicking nightmare.

            I’d rather act dirty for a little while and save the Republic.

            Plus, who knows, maybe Progressives won’t like the taste of their own medicine so much that they’ll be the ones to de-escalate.

            Certainly seems to be happening with #metoo.

          • Jeff Gauch January 14, 2018 at 7:38 pm

            So it’s better if we turn the nation into a Zimbabwean nightmare?

            The Progressives lack the moral intelligence to see any equivalence between our actions and theirs. Their acts are justified because their intentions are pure while our actions are tainted by our obvious racism.

      • patrick1984 January 14, 2018 at 5:23 am

        Arguable. My understanding is that “birthright citizenship” is an assumed interpretation of a non-specific Constitutional clause that has never been directly addressed by the Supreme Court, which I think is implied in ‘Geraldine-‘s comment. I agree that it should be addressed.

        • Jeff Gauch January 14, 2018 at 11:00 am

          It’s pretty specific. If you’re born in the US and under its jurisdiction (like, for example, capable of being deported because you overstayed your visa) you are a US citizen. Some people like to try and bend, fold, mutilate, and spindle the definition of “jurisdiction” because they don’t like birthright citizenship, but those efforts are always laughable.

          I think it’s easier to deal with anchor babies by not letting them be anchors. Deport the parents and give them a choice: Either they can leave their citizen children behind for the US foster system or they can leave a DNA sample and when the child is 18 they can come back, prove their identity, and live here as a citizen.

  6. Micha_Elyi January 13, 2018 at 11:01 pm

    Box ’em up and ship ’em back, that’s my prescription for dealing with the illegals camping under DACA.
    Build the Wall too. See, that’s a compromise that can work!

    Instead, watch as Dems tunnel under whatever restrictions are in the sell-out bill that Trump signs in order to trade citizenship for DACA dreamers for funding for his Wall. The Dems will slip amendment after amendment in bill after bill to weaken the rules. That’s what they did after the 1986 Immigration Reform. Prove me wrong that years from now there’ll be no wall and the Daqueños will be here along with their chain-migrated relatives. I can hear the Dems crying now, “You can’t separate the poor Dreamers from their mommies! And their papas! And their abuelas! And their pregnant cousin Malita! Etc. etc. etc.”

  7. Dantes January 14, 2018 at 12:29 am

    No amnesty, no green cards, no citizenship for DACA recipients. A great many of us believe that, not just a vocal minority.

    They can go back to whence they came, and get in line. Is that really too much to ask? No.

  8. FlushRyan January 14, 2018 at 6:10 am

    Ned Ryun is out of touch with GOP voters. He is an open Border GW Bush idiot. He holds no weight with the masses of voters, he a tool of the left-wing RINOs. Any candidate supported by Ned Ryun will be lumped in with the Jeff Flake wimps.

  9. FlushRyan January 14, 2018 at 6:12 am

    DACA amnesty alone costs $28 Billion – more than the wall. Yet the RINOs don’t mention that.

  10. bobby poon January 14, 2018 at 6:20 am

    Dems do not want a DACA deal. It will never happen.

  11. JonathanSwifter January 14, 2018 at 6:43 am

    Wrong. No amnesty; as before, leads to millions of Dem voters under successive waves of amnesty.

    Keep the Schemers in legal limbo, like lawbreakers deserve, & increasingly enforce the immigration laws with raids, a stronger border, and deportation of felons. If the Schemers really want citizenship they can apply at the back of the line. Make it an issue of law & enforcement, & an end to sanctuary cities, instead of playing into the hands of Obama’s lawless Scheme.


  12. OC21 January 14, 2018 at 9:40 am

    Trump needs to remember what happened to Reagan, he gave in to amnesty and got screwed on border security. Security first, any kind of legal protections for DACA second.

  13. Ann Thomsen January 14, 2018 at 10:03 am

    Every time I read what’s happening in Germany and Sweden, I realize, the Nightmares are just another million enemies to my children.

    The emerging plurality of Latino votes is a case in point. IF Latinos will only vote for advocates of 600 million other latinos…. THEY ARE NOT AMERICANS. Latinos are by definition an invading army of enemies.

    Blacks vote black. Latinos vote Latino. It’s EXPECTED – and A GIVEN.

    But we whites who want a white country and leadership are somehow, demons?

    I live in the Rockies.. have all my life. Again, Latinos vote Latino interests. Indians consider me the enemy from birth…. we have few blacks, but their political interests are only black.

    This is suicide. And then I’m told that I AM THE RACIST?

  14. arpaiofordhschief January 14, 2018 at 11:15 am

    I wonder if any of your (duly elected officials) realizes that the true American Dream is BECOMING a legal American citizen, not just wanting it, protesting that they can’t have what citizens have without jumping through some hoops to get it, and deliberately flouting the laws of their host country….which begs the question: How can one become an upstanding, law-abiding citizen when s/he is willing to break the law now? “Give us the papers and we’ll change…”? Really? I rather think not.
    Amnesty didn’t work when Reagan did it; it only led to more illegals flooding into the U.S. with their hands out for benefits and draining local economies This necessitated a dramatic rise in taxes (from state/local to property and schools), and reductions in social (and safety) services, bankruptcy and closures of hospitals/emergency rooms, not to mention the deterioration of neighborhoods, loss of jobs, etc. The dominoes just keep falling.
    But your self-aggrandizing government toadies haven’t been personally touched by any of this and have the blinders on thinking that the ‘wretched refuse” from somewhere else, if legalized, will bow with gratitude and keep them in their little elitist club. They’ won’t. you know. They will vote their own into office and the U.S. will become just another impoverished country (it’s already well on its way) ….just like the one they wanted so desperately to leave.

    Remember; these folks rarely pay their fair share of anything. Theirs is often an underground economy. What’s worse is that they prey on each other. Consider the coyote/human smuggling/child prostitution, etc. that runs rampant in this social strata. Crime in the forms of murder, robbery, drug dealing, are a lifestyle, not an anomaly.

    Dream Act? DREAM ON! I can understand the desire to give protections to very young children of illegal parents. However, if you are over 18 and know you are illegally in the United States, regardless of what your parents did or didn’t do, you are morally and ethically obligated to change your own immigration status. Grow Up! Step Up! Take the honorable, mature action to make right the wrong someone else did instead of whining about your sorry lot. Imagine that? What a concept! Dignity, self-respect, strength of character, honesty. The kind of potential citizen this country desperately NEEDS. Regrettably, something it seems most of these dreamers lack.
    Citizenship shouldn’t be a simple thing to obtain…like filling out a drivers’ license form or bank account or job application. Take a number, fill this out, pay your fees, have your picture taken and you’re in. No way. A person with true character would know that. The REAL immigrant is giving up their homeland and their loyalty to it. They will (and should) be expected to adopt…embrace…appreciate and participate in the American culture, leaving their own behind. They will be frowned upon when they gather in conclaves and congregate among their own ethnicities to the exclusion of other Americans who have gone through the same trials to become citizens.

    And here’s a reply to those so-called “Christians” who like to parrot the ‘love thy neighbor’ tirade: Remember that Jesus, himself, exhorted his followers to obey the secular laws of the land into which they would travel and reside. Even ancient Israel, when allowing the ‘stranger’ to reside within the gates insisted on obedience to their Hebrew laws.

    With 30 million American workers currently unemployed or underemployed, it makes absolutely no sense for the federal government to rush the “legalization” of up to 33 million illegal immigrants!
    There simply is no need to flood our workforce with low-skilled workers at a time when so many of our own citizens struggle to feed their families.

    Any proposal to reform immigration must begin with real border security, mandatory employment verification and the banning of federal and state benefits to those illegally living in our nation.

  15. arpaiofordhschief January 14, 2018 at 12:45 pm

    I might also suggest putting pirhana in the Rio Grande as a deterrent…..

  16. Oliver Felts January 14, 2018 at 3:21 pm

    Why are we considering an executive action the signer said he could not do but did Barry O style. Deemed unconstitutional we have no obligation to pretend it is. The dithering, hand wringing and Dickie Durbin a flip flopper and liar elevated to Attention Whore status. His lies are approaching the serial liar category. Not one hoofer in Dem Party has said one thing about and Shifty Schumer defends him. The entire party has a patch on their collective fannies ‘we approve of Durbin’s lies’. Anything hokey or smelly goes to ‘consider the source’. They own it.

  17. Ali S. Bakirdan January 14, 2018 at 11:06 pm

    Vocal? As a one time legal immigrant, current citizen, I resent your remarks. Laws for little people? Deport and let them come back legally? If my parents and relatives can do it, so can they.

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