Graham-Durbin: A Reasonable DACA Compromise


Wednesday, January 24, 2018

“I received a letter just before I left office from a man. I don’t know why he chose to write it, but I’m glad he did. He wrote that you can go to live in France, but you can’t become a Frenchman. You can go to live in Germany or Italy, but you can’t become a German. The man went through Turkey, Greece, Japan and other countries. But he said anyone, from any corner of the world, can come to live in the United States and become an American.” -President Ronald Reagan

What has happened to this country? How broken is our political system that the government shutdown over a policy the vast majority of lawmakers agree with? Let’s face it: nearly all congressmen and women, from both parties, are not worthy of the office they hold.

The truth is Republicans in Congress, Democrats in Congress, and President Trump are all to blame for the shutdown that just ended. The fact that the Democrats were willing to shutdown the Federal government for illegal immigrants is disgraceful and un-American. It seems as if they care more about people here illegally than for American citizens. It is ridiculous that they tried to include immigration reform in the spending bill. Yet, at the same time, Republicans have been fairly stubborn.

Lawmakers, such as Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), have sought to prevent reasonable, bipartisan compromise between Democrats and Republicans in Congress. I truly believe that President Trump would sign a DACA bill, as he has expressed support for such a deal in the past. Yet, unrelenting hardliners, like Cotton, are unwilling to negotiate.

I personally oppose amnesty. It did not work under Reagan and will not work in the future. We are a sovereign nation with borders and laws that must be upheld. Our immigration system is broken and needs drastic reform, but that can be done later. Republicans should focus on an adequate compromise to fix DACA and keep the ball rolling on immigration reform. DACA should unite, not divide us.

The Graham-Durbin proposal, while not perfect, is a good start. It’s simply sufficient for the time being.

Republicans only have 51 Senate seats. Therefore, Republicans must compromise to get comprehensive immigration reform passed. The Graham-Durbin DACA Bill can be summarized as follows:

  • Diversity visa lottery is abolished.
  • Dreamers will have a pathway to citizenship, but will not be eligible to apply until at least 2028.
  • Restrictions on chain migration.
  • $2.8 billion allocated for border security (fencing, surveillance, etc.).
  • Parents of Dreamers cannot become citizens, though will have protective status.

The 800,000 Dreamers did not choose to come here, and should not be punished. Much of the criticism of this bill revolves around chain migration and protection for Dreamers’ parents. While it would be preferable to end chain migration entirely, no bill is perfect, and this one is a great start. More detailed changes can be made after the government is funded.  

Regarding supposed amnesty, Senator Cotton tweeted this:

The bill clearly does not reward the parents with amnesty, which is an incorrect statement on behalf of Senator Cotton.  What it does it ensure that hundreds of thousands of families are not ripped apart. Deporting the parents would be punishment for the children. Under this bill, the parents will never be eligible for citizenship, but would be allowed to remain in the United States.  

I do genuinely understand the anger over illegal immigration and I believe we need comprehensive immigration reform. However, we only have until March to fix DACA.

During this process, it is also important to remember where we came from. We are a nation of legal immigrants, a “shining city on a hill,” a refuge for the oppressed, and a beacon for those who yearn for liberty. We are still a nation with both laws and walls, but our walls have doors and should be open to all who seek freedom and prosperity.

In his farewell address, President Reagan said, “After 200 years, two centuries, she [America] still stands strong and true on the granite ridge, and her glow has held steady no matter what storm.  And she’s still a beacon, still a magnet for all who must have freedom, for all the pilgrims from all the lost places who are hurtling through the darkness, toward home.” This hold true now, more than ever.


Jake Fradkin is an incoming freshman at Georgetown University. Jake's interests include mathematics, politics, history, tennis, and writing (and his dog Hulio). His writing tends to focus on the Constitution and foreign affairs.

The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.

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About Jake Fradkin

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Jake Fradkin is an incoming freshman at Georgetown University. Jake's interests include mathematics, politics, history, tennis, and writing (and his dog Hulio). His writing tends to focus on the Constitution and foreign affairs.

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