Policy

Gardner to Dreamers: There Will Be No ‘Mass Deportations’

Colorado Republican has been key negotiator in bipartisan immigration discussions

Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., left and Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., have been out front among Republicans working to secure an immigration deal that includes a solution for “Dreamers.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Cory Gardner is trying to comfort so-called Dreamers fearful of what will happen to them once legal protection under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program expires.

“I don’t believe anybody is going to be deported,” the Colorado Republican said on ABC News’s “Power Politics” podcast Wednesday. “There’s not going to be this mass deportation on this. That’s first and foremost. Please know that Congress is working very hard to solve this.”

The clock is ticking for the roughly 800,000 undocumented young people living in America, often called “Dreamers,” who are shielded by DACA from deportation.

President Donald Trump will end the program in March, he announced last September, citing unconstitutional executive overreach by his predecessor, Barack Obama. The White House kicked the issue to Congress and gave lawmakers six months to negotiate a deal.

Nearly five months after Trump’s announcement, it is unclear if Congress has made any substantive progress on an immigration deal that includes a permanent solution — or even continued protection — for Dreamers.

But Democrats and Republicans are talking, as Dreamers edge toward the March 5 cliff.

“I believe there are good-faith people on both sides of the aisle who are going to get this done,” Gardner said.

Gardner has joined a sizable bloc of GOP senators expressing a desire to reach a bipartisan immigration compromise with Democrats as quickly as possible.

South Carolina GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham supports the existing DACA proposal, which provides a pathway to citizenship for undocumented residents who qualify for the program.

Republican Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona, who has been highly critical of his colleagues on both sides of the aisle for partisan excesses, has also been a key player in ongoing discussions.

Trump signaled Wednesday he could back a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers if lawmakers approve $25 billion for his U.S.-Mexico border wall.

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer has said that $25 billion figure is a non-starter.

But Graham appeared elated at the president’s pivot from a hard-line stance on Dreamers’ legal status to one that suggests an openness to granting them citizenship.

“President Trump’s support for a pathway to citizenship will help us get strong border security measures as we work to modernize a broken immigration system,” Graham tweeted Wednesday. “With this strong statement I have never felt better about our chances of finding a solution on immigration.”

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