Conventional wisdom says that Democrats hold all the cards when it comes to the upcoming debate on Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals.

The reality, however, is that former President Barack Obama’s illegal edict to legalize undocumented youth will automatically expire in March, meaning it will be the Democrats who will be scrambling for votes to save it.

Consequently, all the Republicans have to do is sit back and make a list of the demands Democrats will have to compromise on if Democrats wish to keep DACA alive.

This presupposes, of course, that Republicans can act like conservatives and not like a bunch of RINOs that many have morphed into you over the past many years.

For example, Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., remarkably was doing the Democrats’ bidding this past month, using passage of DACA as leverage before he would vote for the Republican tax bill.

Think about this. Was this Republican senator holding out to get enhanced tax cuts for small businesses, or protections for property taxpayers? No, he was placing the goals of 800,000 undocumented individuals over the needs of 170 million citizen taxpayers.

The ugly truth is, too many Republicans have been complicit in allowing the illegal immigration problem to snowball out of control. Democrats promoted open borders because they believed one day these immigrants would obtain citizenship and become an insurmountable majority voting bloc for generations to come. Meanwhile, Republicans acquiesced to ensure a steady flow of cheap labor to boost profits for the business community.

These pro-illegal immigration RINOs were living in a bubble, far removed from the rank-and-file Republican voters who wanted a leader who really meant it when he said we need to enforce our immigration laws. Enter Donald Trump.

Trump refused to tiptoe on the politically correct tightrope. And though his rhetoric was often over the top, he hit a chord. While other Republicans were parroting the Democrats mantra of “comprehensive immigration reform”, rank-and-file Republicans knew this was code for “amnesty.”

The base overruled the Republican establishment, electing the one candidate who they felt was serious about enforcement. Since then, many Republican officials have “gotten religion” on the issue. Now comes the test with the upcoming DACA vote.

The 1986 amnesty was supposed to be the last of its kind, but it sent the message that it's worth crossing the border illegally, because, in time, a new generation of lawmakers will provide yet another amnesty. Thus, we had 11 to 20 million additional undocumented aliens flooding over the southern border since.

If Republicans are going to entertain another amnesty, dangerously sending the message that illegal crossings pay off, they had best get concessions that will ensure the flow of illegal entry will be controlled once and for all.

Here’s what Republicans must get:

1) End of sanctuary cities.

Receive a legislative concession from Democrats that any city defying the federal government on this issue will lose its federal funding.

2) Kate's Law

Pass this law that imposes mandatory five-year sentences for deported criminal illegal aliens who try to make it back into the states.

3) The Wall and border security.

Fences work or we wouldn't put them up. Ask the Israelis, who saw terrorist attacks drop precipitously after its wall was built. The one-time spending on the Wall will pay for itself very quickly due to the elimination of the billions that would otherwise be spent annually on still more illegal new arrivals.

4) E-Verify.

A wall wouldn’t even be necessary if E-verify was enforced both prospectively and retroactively. If you don’t have either a valid Social Security or Alien ID number (or other legal dispensation), you shouldn’t be able to hold a job in America. Congress must require every employer to utilize the E-Verify database and if they fail to do so, punish them with hefty fines that provide the necessary deterrent.

This presently available option is the remedy to the illegal immigration problem. And the frustrating thing is, it’s been available for quite some time. There simply has been a lack of will from both parties to actually enforce it.

Now the proof will be in the pudding. If Democrats want amnesty for all undocumented youth, they should first have to compromise and allow these items to be passed so we are ensured this is the last amnesty this nation will ever have to provide.

Steve Levy is president of Common Sense Strategies, a political consulting firm. He served as Suffolk County Executive, as a New York State Assemblyman, and host of "The Steve Levy Radio Show."

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