Sen. Cotton: Legal status for young immigrants would have "negative consequences"

Sen. Tom Cotton on DACA decision
Sen. Tom Cotton on DACA decision 03:39

Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas applauded the Trump administration's move toward ending theDeferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, but warned if Congress were to award legal status to young immigrants, it would have "negative consequences."

"If we're going to give legal status to these young people in their 20's and 30's, who are here through no fault of their own, we have to recognize that's going to have negative consequences," Cotton said on "CBS This Morning" on Wednesday.  

Cotton said that if Congress crafts new legislation that would allow for the so-called "Dreamers" to be granted legal status, it would "open up a whole new category of people who could get legal status, namely their parents who violated the law by bringing them here, and it's going to encourage other people to bring their children here across the border in the future, which is a very dangerous thing to do."

"You can't dispute just as a logical matter if we give legal status that it's going to encourage more immigration," Cotton, who added, "we should have an open, common sense discussion about that." 

Cotton noted, however, that Mr. Trump is attempting "to deal with this situation in the most orderly way possible" by having Congress step in and take action, something he says he's happy to help with in order to "forge some kind of compromise."

The Republican said the president has even cited his own legislation, the RAISE act, as a means for a potential solution to immigration reform, which Mr. Trump himself gave his seal of approval at a White House event last month. 

The Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy (RAISE) bill, introduced by Cotton, Sen. David Perdue, R-Georgia, establishes a "points-based system" for acquiring a green card while also preventing immigrants from collecting welfare once they arrive in the United States. 

Cotton said the RAISE Act "would stop unlimited family chain migration addressing the first problem, and then enhanced enforcement measures would address the second problem, that's a straightforward and targeted package that doesn't try to boil the ocean or solve every problem, but it does solve the problem right in front of us."

While many Democrats and even a handful of Republicans have come out against the administration's move to end the 2012 program that deferred deportations for those who came to the United States as young immigrants, Cotton said while Congress has failed three times to pass sweeping immigration reform, its now time they take a "different incremental approach." 

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    Emily Tillett is the digital producer at "Face the Nation"