GOP Rep. Goodlatte Calls New Bill 'A Very Serious Effort' To 'Do DACA Right'

Jan 10, 2018
Originally published on January 10, 2018 2:35 pm

A new Republican bill being introduced Wednesday would allow young undocumented immigrants who receive protection from deportation under the expiring Deferred Action for Child Arrivals (DACA) program to receive three-year renewable legal status. It also would dramatically boost border security and immigration enforcement.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (@RepGoodlatte), R-Va., joins Here & Now‘s Meghna Chakrabarti to discuss the bill, one of several proposals being floated as lawmakers try to reach an agreement on a DACA “fix” before the program expires in March.

Interview Highlights

On what President Trump has said about the bill

“He very much likes our bill, and this is a very serious effort to address what the president has challenged the Congress to do, and that is to do DACA right. And we do that in this legislation, but we also honor the commitment the president made to couple it with securing our borders and ending chain migration.”

On concerns about long-term viability of the bill

“There’s no bill in the House that could get 300 votes very easily, so we are very happy to negotiate from this bill, that I think will have broad-based support within the Republican conference.”

On whether or not the bill could make it through the Senate

“That’s why there are negotiations going on that the president encouraged yesterday. And today I know the leaders in the House and the Senate are meeting to discuss a timeline. I am hopeful that we can make some real progress on solving this problem.”

On whether or not he would be willing to negotiate on paths to green cards or citizenship for DACA recipients

“I would not be willing to give people who entered the country illegally a special pathway to citizenship. That would put them ahead of people who have gone through the long legal process to enter this country. It’s simply not a fair thing to do. And I think this status, which not only gives legal certainty to the DACA recipients, but also makes it renewable for indefinite times and therefore a permanent situation, and allows recipients of the DACA program to make use of existing paths to green cards, is a much fairer way to do that.”

On if he would like to reduce the amount of legal immigration overall

“I would like to see us move to a merit-based system. We are, by far, the most generous nation in the world for legal immigration. We give roughly 1.1 million green cards out each year. So I think that could be reduced a little, but I also think that a lot of those numbers that are reduced by ending chain migration could be available for a merit-based immigration system, which I would think would be much better. The spouse and the children, the minor children, of people who receive green cards to come to the United States should obviously be able to accompany them. However, more extended relationships — adult children, brothers and sisters — are not included in our proposal.”

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