Is amnesty for DREAMers worth it if we get a border wall?

President Trump offered a deal to Democrats on Twitter: if they agree to a border wall, an end to chain migration, and an end to "lottery visas," which lets in unskilled people nearly at random, he will agree to legalize the so-called "DREAMers."

Democrats seeking a deal to protect so-called [DREAMers] from deportation must be prepared to agree to a package that includes several White House priorities, including a border wall and reforms to the U.S. immigration system, President Donald Trump wrote on Twitter Friday morning.

"The Democrats have been told, and fully understand, that there can be no DACA without the desperately needed WALL at the Southern Border and an END to the horrible Chain Migration & ridiculous Lottery System of Immigration etc. We must protect our Country at all cost!" Trump tweeted.

What do you think of Trump's offer?  I have some concerns about it.

What President Trump seems to be offering is legalization for the DREAMers now and building of the wall to come.  This has a number of potential pitfalls:

1) Since a border wall cannot be built in one year, it cannot be funded all in one year.  Democrats could agree to fund it for a year as part of a deal to legalize DREAMers but next year prevent further funding for continued construction.  For those of you who remember the last amnesty, given by President Reagan, it was supposed to be accompanied by the construction of a border wall, but Democrats simply never funded it.

2) President Trump wants an end to chain migration.  Does this mean that while legalizing the DREAMers, he is going to deport their parents?  I think that politically, that is very, very unlikely to happen, in which case what we are really talking about is amnesty not just for DREAMers, but for all illegals, which is a much higher price.

3) Obama approved DREAMer status for nearly all those who applied with all the vigorous vetting of a Democratic hack working in a passport office in Kabul.  Will these DREAMers be more closely scrutinized?  Will the ones who have committed crimes (other than illegal entry) be denied legal status?  Will there be some sort of distinction made concerning the crimes that are "acceptable" and those that aren't, and what will those lines be?  How long will DREAMers have to wait to become citizens?

4) In his tweet, the president makes no mention of mandatory E-Verify to keep illegals from taking American jobs.  I think a mandatory, enforceable E-Verify is as important as a border wall.

5) President Trump talks about ending lottery visas, which is a good step, but he didn't mention the much bigger issue of revamping our legal immigration system to (a) reduce the number of immigrants admitted yearly and (b) prioritize those with high-level skills.

6) What about ending birthright citizenship?  President Trump talked about this repeatedly on the campaign trail but hasn't said a word about it since being elected.  I think this alone is more important than a border wall...though it would be nice to have both.

Conservatives have always operated from the presumption that the border should be secured before any talk of amnesty for those within our borders illegally.  To do otherwise creates another perverse incentive for people to flood across the border before we have secured it.  That's why I think a proposal to restore legal status for the DREAMers now and to build a wall later is not such a good deal.

Ed Straker is the senior writer at

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