Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and White House senior adviser, has reportedly set up a secret back channel for Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), the second highest ranking Democratic senator.
The arrangement was made to help Durbin lobby White House officials in favor of DACA, the former administration’s temporary amnesty program. Nearly 800,000 young illegal aliens have received work permits under the program since it was launched in 2012.
Speaking to Reuters, Durbin himself revealed the communication. He describes a scenario in which he and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) promoted DACA and its so-called “dreamers” to Kushner in April and July.
According to Reuters:
“’We initially had a conversation (with Kushner), at [Iowa Republican] Senator (Chuck) Grassley’s invitation, on criminal justice and I asked Mr. Kushner afterwards if we could talk about immigration, separate and apart from Senator Grassley, which we did,’ Durbin said.
“’I went into … DACA because I was concerned about how this was going to unfold,’ the Illinois lawmakerconversations underscore a level of interest in the issue among senior White House aides that could lend momentum to the congressional debate on approving a permanent legislative fix for the Dreamers that Durbin has sought for the past 16 years.”
“For 16 years, Durbin has been the principal Democratic advocate pushing for an amnesty for the younger illegals who were brought into the country as children by their illegal immigrant parents,” Breitbart reported in its commentary regarding Kushner’s back channel.
Reuters reports that Kushner arranged additional phone calls between Durbin and Gen. John Kelly, who now serves as Trump’s chief of staff but who was serving at that time as the Homeland Security secretary. However, Durbin did not talk to Trump during the process.
According to Durbin, Trump’s decision to end DACA was disappointing but was offset slightly by the president’s subsequent tweets, in which the president indicated a desire to see a law created that would protect the Dreamers.
Durbin said those comments “were more encouraging.”
Durbin also reported that Steven Miller, Trump’s policy aide, seemed to continue to favor pro-American immigration policies, and sees repairing the immigration system as a priority. Yet with Kushner and Durbin working together, Durbin seemed confident, especially considering that President Trump seemed to suggest he would sign amnesty legislation in exchange for improvements on “border security.”
According to a White House transcript, the president said:
“I’d like to see something where we have good border security, and we have a great DACA transaction where everybody is happy and now they don’t have to worry about it anymore because, obviously, as you know, before, it was not a legal deal. It was a deal that wouldn’t have held up and didn’t hold up. And even President Obama, when he did it, when he signed it, he said this is obviously not something that’s — he called it short-term.
“I’d like to see a permanent deal, and I think it’s going to happen. I think we’re going to have great support from both sides of Congress, and I really believe that Congress is going to work very hard on the DACA agreement and come up with something.”
An amnesty-for-border-security deal is a contradiction of the principles of the Raise Act, as Breitbart points out. The Raise Act would reform the nation’s immigration laws, and is meant to improve wages and opportunities to fulfill the dreams of 320 million Americans.
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