Mixed Reaction To DACA Spells Trouble For Republican Action On Immigration

Congressional Republicans flashed a glimpse Tuesday of the coming battle they will face over what to do with those protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, an Obama-era directive for young illegal immigrants who have grown up in the U.S. and could lose their legal status when the Trump administration completes its phase-out of the program next spring.

Trump's decision to gradually end DACA, a program once described as a "temporary stopgap measure" when created by former President Obama, sparked a mixed reaction among GOP lawmakers who have clashed for years over how to appropriately address unauthorized immigration without incentivizing it.

Trump has given Congress six months to find a legislative solution that deals with undocumented youth, a move the White House sees as a catalyst for "responsible immigration reform." Congressional GOP leaders are already poised to spend most of September tackling a to-do list that includes a debt-limit provision, a disaster relief package for victims of Hurricane Harvey, and a spending bill to keep the government funded through the end of the fiscal year.

But Ford O'Connell, a Washington-based Republican strategist, expects that certain GOP lawmakers will have a difficult time making concessions without jeopardizing their colleagues' support.

"What makes immigration tough is that in the Republican party there's just two sides and no real meeting in the middle, and they're going to have to figure out how to make that work with Dreamers because they have a real chance to make some immigration changes that the party was seeking when it was out of power," O'Connell said.

"Unfortunately, they also have one – possibly two – hurricanes to deal with, and the debt ceiling and spending stuff."

"There are definitely going to be some bumps as Republicans come together on this issue and that's why President Trump gave them six months to figure it out," O'Connell said. "If they drop the ball on this too, they have no one to blame but themselves."

"Republicans in Congress only seem to get their act together when you give them a hard deadline and put a legislative gun to their head," O'Connell said.

Read more from  Al Weaver and Gabby Morrongiello at the Washington Examiner

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