A high-ranking official at the Department of Homeland Security told a Senate committee today that the administration supports a “path to citizenship” for Dreamers (young people brought into the country illegally as children who have met conditions indicating good behavior). This would come as part of the new immigration deal that’s been under discussion for the last several weeks after Trump suspended the DACA executive order protecting Dreamers. Here’s the report from Reuters:
“Under a rational bill these individuals would be able to become lawful permanent residents with a pathway to citizenship,” Michael Dougherty, assistant DHS secretary for border, immigration and trade policy, said at a Senate hearing, in response to questioning on the Trump administration’s position on whether “Dreamers,” as they are often called, should be allowed to stay in the United States.
If this change sticks, it would represent a massive change in stance by President Trump’s administration. As every good Trumpite populist conservative knows, “path to citizenship” is a liberal code word for AMNESTY! Even Little Marco Rubio recognized that way back in 2010:
And as the Daily Caller painstakingly documented last month, Trump has attacked immigration amnesty on 69 separate occasions.
After initial accusations of flip-flopping, Trump himself went out of his way a few weeks ago to rule out citizenship for Dreamers after he supposedly reached a DACA-for-border-security deal with congressional Democrats:
Trump said a path to citizenship would not be part of an agreement to codify the DACA program, further muddling the picture about a potential bipartisan deal struck between Democratic leaders and the White House on Wednesday night.
“We’re not looking at citizenship. We’re not looking at amnesty,” Trump told reporters before traveling to Florida to survey hurricane damage, reports MSNBC. “We’re looking at allowing people to stay here.”
So either the administration has flip-flopped or Michael Dougherty is about to get himself fired.
I suppose Trump’s people could walk crabwise toward some sort of lawyerly distinction that Dougherty meant Dreamers could leave the country and “get in line” for legal immigration — a path to citizenship for sure — like anyone else. But it’s pretty clear that’s not what he was saying. And Democratic senator Dick Durbin was quick to point out the apparent shift:
This “clarification,” or whatever you want to call it, does not mean a deal is definitely in the works. There remain differences of opinion about eligibility for renewed DACA protections (e.g., is it available just to people who were already signed up for DACA, or for those who are or who will become eligible in the future?) and about the type and extent of border-security measures Democrats are willing to concede. “Border wall” might be an even slipperier term than “path to citizenship.”
But you’d expect some sirens to go off in Breitbart-land over the “path to citizenship” language. They probably have reason to believe it’s not really official administration policy until it’s announced by presidential tweet.