In the wake of last month’s government shutdown, policymakers continue to look for possible solutions on immigration, but at this point, progress is hard to find. As his tweet yesterday morning helped prove, Donald Trump isn’t exactly playing a constructive role.
“Any deal on DACA that does not include STRONG border security and the desperately needed WALL is a total waste of time. March 5th is rapidly approaching and the Dems seem not to care about DACA. Make a deal!”
At face value, presidential missives like these are genuinely odd. It was Trump who stripped Dreamers of their DACA protections, creating an arbitrary March 5 deadline, and putting their futures in jeopardy. The tweet was effectively Trump’s way of saying he’s holding Dreamers’ fate hostage, and Democrats “seem not to care” about meeting the president’s ransom demands.
It’s against this backdrop that Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Chris Coons (D-Del.) unveiled a bipartisan compromise on immigration yesterday, which the White House immediately rejected.
It came on the heels of an immigration framework that Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) reached with the president, which the White House also rejected.
That came on the heels of a bipartisan compromise on immigration crafted by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), which the White House also rejected.
That came on the heels of an immigration framework that Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) reached with the president last September, which the White House also rejected.
And yet, despite this reality, the line in GOP circles is that Democrats are deliberately derailing efforts to protect Dreamers.
“We wanna make a deal,” Trump said on Friday. “I think they want to use it for political purposes, for elections.”
Doug Heye, a former House GOP leadership aide who worked on immigration during the debate in 2013 and 2014, said something similar to Bloomberg Politics, arguing that Democrats should simply accept the demands Trump World has presented. “They don’t want to cut a deal that makes Donald Trump the great deal-maker,” Heye said.
All joking aside, I’ll confess to finding this baffling. Democrats have already offered multiple bipartisan deals. Trump, who generally doesn’t know or care about policy details, could simply pick one of them, claim it was his idea, and boast about his world-class deal-making abilities.
That doesn’t happen, however, not because Dems are sitting on their hands, desperate to ensure defeat, but because the voices in the president’s ear keep rejecting the bipartisan solutions as insufficiently conservative.
There’s an obvious solution on the table: Dems get protections for Dreamers; Republicans get increased border security. The blueprint has been sitting there for months, and for a brief period, Trump himself endorsed it.
“Make a deal”? One of these days, the president might want to consider taking his own advice.