Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley said any potential legislation on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals must include "robust border security" — and not just a wall.
In his opening statement at a committee hearing on the program commonly known as DACA, the Iowa Republican added robust border security doesn't necessarily "mean a wall."
"Of course, tactical infrastructure like fencing is a part of the answer, but border security is more than that," Grassley added.
In September, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the Trump administration's rescission of the DACA program, installed by former President Barack Obama. There is a six-month wind-down of the program to give Congress time to act.
Grassley said the DACA deal must also make the e-Verify system "mandatory for all employers" in order to prevent illegal immigration.
Grassley also said a deal must make deportations easier, and one of those ways is to reform the asylum and immigration courts and their backlogs.
"It would be a dereliction of our duty if we fail to take steps to end at least some of the illegal immigration as we know it, and kick the can down the road so that a future Congress has to address this very same problem again in another fifteen years," Grassley said, adding, "I'm confident that if everyone is reasonable, we can find a solution."
Grassley criticized the program, which gives people who entered the country illegally as children relief from deportation through a two-year work permit, as giving recipients "a false sense of hope."
"We all have empathy for these young people, who came to this country through no fault of their own. And, for many of them, it is the only country they know," Grassley added.
There are roughly 800,000 individuals who are currently enrolled in the DACA program, and are often referred to as Dreamers.