White House ‘to use’ health care bill to fund Dreamers – Kevin Hassett

White House spokesman Kevin Hassett sidesteps press questions on whether the administration would make immigration more equitable by using resources from health care to fund restorative measures

Kevin Hassett, the White House director of tax policy, sidestepped questions on Wednesday about whether the White House would use health care as a tool to pay for President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (Daca) program to permanently fix the immigrant population.

This would add a new possibility for a tax hike without a budget deal being passed by Congress – a possibility held in high regard by anti-tax groups including the Club for Growth.

The House and Senate passed competing bills last month to address the end of the Daca program, leaving at the back of the legislative queue a pathway to some form of legal status for hundreds of thousands of people who were brought to the US illegally as children, many of whom, like Obama, are not in the country legally.

The White House decided not to take action on that legislation because it would have included a path to citizenship for the migrants, including some who arrived years ago.

A White House spokesperson for Hassett refused to elaborate on the immigration reform project of that architect, Jared Kushner, son-in-law to Donald Trump. “There are no details on this at this time,” the spokesperson told the Guardian.

Hassett declined to elaborate when asked about whether the president would sign a bill that contains a pathway to citizenship for the undocumented population of Daca recipients. “I do not have any comments to make on this,” he told the Guardian.

While immigrant rights activists have voiced concern that the current Daca proposal did not protect every individual in the program, which offers protection from deportation to immigrants brought to the US as children, senators from both parties say that none of them vote for a bill with a pathway to citizenship.

On Fox News, Republican senator Lindsey Graham (who supported the original Daca bill last year), said that Kushner and Trump had made a trip to Mexico last month to discuss the surge of unaccompanied minors arriving at the border.

“I’m told that in a meeting in Mexico with the Mexican president and the president of the US, that there was an apparent commitment that there would be no migrants who would be a threat to national security from Mexico by stopping Central American children from ever making it to the southern border of the United States,” he said.

The Democrats’ rejection of the Daca bill last month has prompted speculation that Trump will unilaterally take action to end the program in an effort to stir up xenophobic outrage, much like he did earlier this year when he ordered a “zero tolerance” immigration policy that led to the separation of immigrant families at the border.

Those executive orders have remained largely toothless despite the outcry. Last week, the US District judge Nicholas Garaufis declined to block the government from enforcing the policy, citing a lack of evidence the Trump administration was following the law.

Tens of thousands more immigrants, including those who came to the US as children, could be deported in the short term, though any day now the Trump administration may be ordered to stop deporting an additional wave of undocumented migrant families, according to analysts.

“It seems likely that, very quickly, there’s going to be a Supreme Court ruling on these Daca-type cases,” said Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies. “And that would finally provide some kind of written order that pretty much said the administration cannot do the stuff it’s doing.”

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