Washington, Idaho lawmakers waiting for details of DACA ‘deal’

By:  Jim Camden and Betsy Z. Russell
Source: The Spokesman Review

Word that President Donald Trump may have reached an agreement on immigration with Democratic leaders in Congress has some lawmakers from Washington and Idaho offering qualified support and others waiting for more details.

Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., said Trump “seems to be getting the message” on the need for a legislative fix on the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals program, and that tying it to a border wall is a “non-starter.”

“President Trump has done a lot of reckless things since he took office, but jeopardizing the futures of hundreds of thousands of young men and women who are deeply connected to this country is one of the cruelest things yet,” Murray said in an email.

A deal announced by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi after a Wednesday night dinner meeting would enshrine protections for the nearly 800,000 immigrants brought illegally to this country as kids who had benefited from former President Barack Obama’s DACA program, which provided temporary work permits and protection from deportation.

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, a Republican whose Eastern Washington district includes Spokane, has said for months that a legislative solution is needed to provide long-term certainty for DACA participants and for improved border security, a spokesman said Friday. But whether that solution will come out of the Trump, Schumer and Pelosi meeting is uncertain.

“From our understanding, there’s no deal that’s been made. We’re just waiting to get more information,” said her spokesman, Jared Powell. “There is pretty broad support for moving forward on DACA.”

Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, said he hasn’t seen any details on a DACA “fix” but is pleased the administration and congressional leadership seem committed to finding a solution.

“This is something that needs to be addressed, whether it be a stand-alone bill or part of a more comprehensive immigration package, sooner rather than later.”

Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, didn’t respond to requests for comment Friday but has vehemently opposed DACA as unconstitutional and lauded Trump’s announcement earlier this month to end it in six months if Congress doesn’t act.

That announcement was “creating leverage for larger immigration reform, which should include border wall funding and stronger interior enforcement,” Labrador, who is chairman of the House subcommittee that oversees immigration policy, said at the time.

Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, was reserving comment, a spokesman said.

“While the senator supports reforms to our immigration system, we have not yet seen what kind of agreement or legislation to reform DACA will be offered,” Robert Sumner said.

Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., believes conversations like the one between Trump and Democratic leaders are promising, but “there’s a long way to go,” spokesman Bryan Watt said.

In a floor speech the day Trump announced an end date to the current DACA program, Cantwell called that decision “misguided” and one that would take productive workers out of Washington.

“The president’s decision to end DACA runs counter to the long-standing and proud history in our state welcoming immigrants,” she said.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.