On this week's Fox News Sunday panel, Heritage Foundation leader Michael Needham clarifies the dispute which led to the government shutdown, explaining that from the start the president has called for an end to chain migration, "this crazy system where people are allowed to bring distant relatives like cousins into the country."
"This is a shutdown over whether or not we could give amnesty to illegal immigrants who are here, and have chain migration allowing them to bring distant relatives. That's not going to work out well in November [for Democrats] if they say they are the party in favor of amnesty and distant relatives," he added.
CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS: Michael, back in 2013, when Republicans shut down the government over Obamacare, their favorability ratings tanked, and yet when you got to the midterm election in 2014 they won a big victory and actually took back the Senate. Do you think to a certain degree Democrats are pursuing the same strategy? 'We can galvanize our base, we can play to the left wing of our party right now and by next November, months from now, everybody will forget about the shutdown.'
MICHAEL NEEDHAM: I think with the 2013 shutdown did, was it clarified where the two parties were on an important policy issue and these things actually are about policy. There was one party against Obamacare, one in favor of keeping it. What this debate is about -- it's not even just about DACA. The president has said he wants a solution on DACA. The Democrats allegedly have said they will give funding for the border.
What this is actually about his chain migration. What that means is: 'Can the people who are currently here illegally, bring not just our close relatives, their distant relatives into the country.'
When we bring somebody in, do we choose them based on merit or do we say you can go bring a cousin with you? This is a shutdown over whether or not we could give amnesty to illegal immigrants who are here, and have chain migration allowing them to bring distant relatives. That's not going to work out well in November if they say they are the party in favor of amnesty and distant relatives.
WALLACE: You are gliding over something, which is I think there has really been a sea change in the last 24, 48 hours among Democrats. I get the sense they are willing to say: 'You want the wall, we will let you have the wall.' Do you agree with that?
NEEDHAM: That's what they are allegedly saying. Gutierrez has said he will help build the wall. They are claiming they are in favor of the border [wall].
WALLACE: The president's main premise was not chain migration, it was Build The Wall. If he gets that, shouldn't he take yes for an answer?
NEEDHAM: The president has been very clear from the very start that when he first said we'll have a six-month reprieve on DACA, that one of the things he wants is an end to chain migration. From a policy perspective, he's exactly right about that. We should have a system that allows people generously into America who can provide merit, and do it the same way Canada and Australia do it. Instead, we have this crazy system where people are allowed to bring distant relatives like cousins into the country, and that's the issue they are shutting the government over.