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Kushner Led Meeting to Overhaul Immigration System in Effort to Replicate Criminal Justice Success

Do you support Kushner's efforts at immigration reform?

by Axios | Updated on 1.30.19

Jared Kushner ran a white board planning session last week at the White House with the Koch network and other people who worked with him on criminal justice reform. The purpose: to see if the administration can replicate the approach they took to pass criminal justice reform to overhaul America’s immigration system.

“They would like to try and replicate at some level a bipartisan coalition on immigration issues, something paired with border security as well,” said Koch Industries senior vice president Mark Holden, who attended the meeting.

  • A senior White House official familiar with Kushner’s thinking said it’s too early to tell what he’s going to do, but confirmed he held the planning meeting last week.

Behind the scenes: The meeting lasted a few hours, according to Holden. The Texas Public Policy Foundation's Josh Trevino and Brooke Rollins, who works in the Office of American Innovation and was a key player in criminal justice reform talks, also attended.

  • The white board session was one of several immigration-related meetings the White House hosted over the past week. Kushner and his team met with faith leaders, Hispanic leaders and prominent conservatives. Some have expressed skepticism that Kushner — a New York liberal with no background in immigration policy or politics — could succeed where so many of his predecessors have failed.
  • Tea Party Patriots co-founder Jenny Beth Martin, who met with the president and other conservative leaders last Wednesday, told Axios: “Border security and immigration reform are much more complex issues than criminal justice reform. … It would be wise [for the White House] to be in touch with the president’s base as any such legislative deal is being created. Many of the strongest parts of the president’s base do not want amnesty, and the president’s promise to secure the border is what drew those voters to him from early in his campaign.”
  • Daniel Garza, president of the Koch network’s LIBRE Initiative and a supporter of Kushner’s approach, attended a separate White House meeting with Hispanic leaders. Garza said Kushner used a quote he presumably gathered from his ongoing efforts to bring peace to the Middle East. “At one point during the meeting, Jared quoted [former Israeli President] Shimon Peres and said something along the lines of ‘You don’t arrive at peace by meeting with just friends,’” Garza said.

Between the lines: Two senior White House officials told Axios they are stunned that Kushner thinks he could be the mediator who solves one of the most intractable problems in American politics for the past 20 years: immigration reform. One senior White House official told Axios that Kushner's success in criminal justice reform has no bearing whatsoever on his ability to succeed on immigration.

  • “He convinced Democrats to support something they already agreed with," the senior official told Axios.
  • Supporters of Kushner point out that if he didn't persuade Trump to move from a harsh law-and-order candidate to being open to — and ultimately supportive of — criminal justice reform, then the effort would have died.

The other side: Two other senior White House officials familiar with Kushner’s plans told Axios that the president asked Kushner to join with Vice President Mike Pence and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen to negotiate immigration on behalf of the White House. One of those officials said Kushner has almost exclusively been talking to Republicans to figure out what they want out of a reform package. His planning sessions are “about defining what we’re for, not what we’re against.”

  • “Right now [Kushner is] just trying to understand the Republican position so that we can take all those views to the president and he can make an informed decision,” the same official said on Tuesday.
  • “This is more of a long-term policy process, not a resolution for the shutdown,” the official added. “And amnesty was not discussed at any of these meetings. This is really about how do we reform our broken immigration system.”
  • As Axios has reported, Kushner relayed to White House officials an idea from Republican Sen. James Lankford: Give a path to green cards for illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children and who are currently protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
Axios

Written by Axios

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(66)
  • burrkitty
    Voted Oppose
    01/30/2019
    ···

    As a matter of principle, I oppose incompetence. ZERO EXPERIENCE doesn’t bode well in any high level government process. Kuschner wasn’t elected, legally appointed, or confirmed by the Senate. He wasn’t even hired. He is just married to the daughter. If you don’t recognize nepotism, this is a very fine example.

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  • ManfromNebraska
    Voted Support
    01/30/2019
    ···

    He is trying to be the facilitator to get the job done. Each side is guilty of not fixing this issue. It’s not about Kushner. This is about the every one working together to get the job done.

    Like (9)
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  • Lionman
    01/30/2019
    ···

    I don’t want to blindly support or oppose any plan from our current administration, I want to see the details, I want to know how it works before I have an opinion on it. I expect the same from those who represent me.

    Like (7)
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  • Ellen
    Voted Oppose
    01/30/2019
    ···

    Basically, I oppose any legislation that comes from a person/administration/family that has broken and overused current immigration laws to their advantage. It is a travesty.

    Like (10)
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  • Ghera
    Voted Support
    01/30/2019
    ···

    Prison reform was a bipartisan solution that the media didn’t really focus on bc they hate trump. If they can do the same thing it would be good

    Like (4)
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  • BlueSphere
    Voted Oppose
    01/30/2019
    ···

    Jared Kushner doesn’t have the qualifications or experience to be dealing with complex issues here or abroad. We don’t have time to indulge his latest attempts; please, appoint experienced and knowledgeable individuals to tackle these serious issues.

    Like (9)
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  • Joseph
    Voted Oppose
    01/30/2019
    ···

    Why in the is this idiotic idiot doing anything for this country, get his little ass out off there ASAP !

    Like (6)
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  • verymary
    Voted Oppose
    01/30/2019
    ···

    I'm still trying to remember what qualifications Jared Kushner has for any of his jobs -- but of course his father-in-law dismisses information received from TRULY qualified public servants.

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  • Norma
    Voted Oppose
    01/30/2019
    ···

    We should never trust anything that Kushner is taking the lead on. His politics are self serving (perhaps he wants to hire back the employees that were fire from his father-in-laws resorts). This administration has shown no empathy towards the dreamers nor the families seeking asylum. Proceed with caution.

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  • Matt
    Voted Oppose
    01/30/2019
    ···

    America has the wisest and most experienced diplomats in the world, yet we’re letting this pipsqueak child nobody represent us on critical policy. It condescends us all to be in a position of public trust he’s abjectly unqualified for, and given his foreign entanglements he shouldn’t have security clearance. It’s an insult to debate his policies or positions when he’s not qualified to have any. Vote smart people back in charge who have our national interests in mind

    Like (5)
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  • PLD
    Voted Oppose
    01/30/2019
    ···

    Kuchner represents an administration with one of the most hateful and anti-immigration/anti-American policies since the pre-World War Era. It is completely inhumane and unconscionable!

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  • Cndrla
    Voted Oppose
    01/30/2019
    ···

    Nepotism Should be illegal! Especially when it’s our government. You fucking right wing ass holes. I will enjoy watching you fuckers loose your seats in 2020🖕

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  • John
    Voted Oppose
    01/30/2019
    ···

    Tell Jared to concentrate on his criminal defense and stay out of government business.

    Like (5)
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  • David
    Voted Oppose
    01/30/2019
    ···

    Kushner is not competent to be working on this issue.

    Like (5)
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  • Robert
    Voted Oppose
    01/30/2019
    ···

    He has no security clearance...😱

    Like (5)
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  • Cindy
    Voted Support
    01/30/2019
    ···

    At least someone is trying to make changes to the immigration system. He had success with the criminal justice reform, it’s better than a lobbyist paying Senators or Representatives for their best interest.

    Like (4)
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  • Jerrey
    Voted Support
    01/30/2019
    ···

    While I am not optimistic about successful talks, you gotta start somewhere. As long as an open honest and bipartisan series’s of meetings are held, go for it.

    Like (4)
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  • DrCindyBean
    Voted Oppose
    01/30/2019
    ···

    Kushner is a crook. He’s a corrupt money launderer and a traitor. He does not qualify for security clearance. Get him out. Kushner is in bed with foreign adversaries of USA. He must be removed from our government.

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  • S
    Voted Oppose
    01/30/2019
    ···

    He is as ignorant and narcissistic as his father-in-law. He is going to bring peace to the Middle East. How is that going Jared? In addition, he and his family have used their positions to benefit themselves. He is not trustworthy, astute, intelligent, knowledgeable and his "ideas" are not worthwhile. He is a little kid who is playing government and looking out for deals to benefit him personally and his family. He is a security risk to this country.

    Like (3)
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  • Marylynn
    Voted Oppose
    01/30/2019
    ···

    I oppose Kushner's role in this administration. He shouldn't be allowed to conduct any form of business dealings from this country, he hasn't been able to get a top secret clearance, therefore he shouldn't be involved in anything.

    Like (3)
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