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IN Focus: Rokita, Brooks take different approach on DACA

INDIANAPOLIS - What approach does the President want to take on DACA, and how will it effect an already contentious political climate for congressional Republicans?

It's a vexing question for many in the GOP, after President Trump met again with House minority leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer this past week, leading to confusion over whether a deal was imminent allowing "dreamers" to stay if more border security enhancements were put in place.

This week, we spoke with two Republican members of Indiana's congressional delegation with seemingly different views on how to move forward.

On Tuesday, before Trump's latest meeting with Democratic leadership, Rep. Susan Brooks (R-IN) told us she was hopeful a deal could be struck to keep the dreamers here, with a possible path toward citizenship.

"We have to fix the laws to figure out what to do with the hundreds of thousands of young people who were brought here by their parents," said Brooks. "They've grown up in our schools, they are now in our colleges, they're enrolling in the military and working. We've got to figure out the path forward for them because they were brought here through no fault of their own but with their parents."

When asked specifically about that path forward, Brooks highlighted legislation she has supported in the past, allowing for a conditional permanent status for a period of five years.

"After that five year period, they can apply for legal permanent status, the green card, and they can over a period of time, work toward citizenship," said Brooks. "I believe it's a responsible way forward."

Brooks met with President Trump this past week to discuss tax reform as part of a bi-partisan group of House lawmakers.

In a separate gathering, Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-IN) also met with Trump and a small group of senators from both parties.

So are these meetings part of a new bi-partisan approach for the President, or just a temporary shift in strategy? And what will it mean for the DACA issue moving forward?

In an interview on Friday afternoon, Rep. Todd Rokita (R-IN) told us he wasn't ready to negotiate on DACA until the President's border wall became a reality.

As one of Donnelly's potential opponents in next year's Senate race, Rokita has taken a hard line on immigration issues, attempting to position himself closely with the President's base.

"First and foremost, we have got to have a wall. After the wall is guaranteed or already built, then we can talk about DACA issues and what's important, but first and foremost, we must have a wall," said Rokita. "A sovereign nation cannot be sovereign if it cannot control its borders, and that's what President Trump campaigned on, and that's why I support him, and why so many people support me."

Rokita said he wasn't entirely against the idea of the President working with Democrats, and  questioned reports suggesting any sort of deal had actually been struck in last week's meeting.

Rokita's main opponent in next year's Senate primary, Rep. Luke Messer (R-IN) commented on the DACA issue in an interview that will air Sunday on next week's edition of IN Focus.

 

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