At a rally in Phoenix that served no real purpose last night, Donald Trump mentioned his idea for a border wall 17 times. In fact, the president appears convinced that this will happen. "We are building a wall on the southern border," the Republican said, adding, "Believe me, if we have to close down our government, we're building that wall.... We're going to have our wall. We're going to get our wall.... Believe me, one way or the other, we're going to get that wall."
The unpopular president's confidence, however, cannot create political will where none exists. But the White House apparently has a plan, which McClatchy reported on yesterday:
Donald Trump's top aides are pushing him to protect young people brought into the country illegally as children -- and then use the issue as a bargaining chip for a larger immigration deal -- despite the president's campaign vow to deport so-called Dreamers.
The White House officials want Trump to strike an ambitious deal with Congress that offers Dreamers protection in exchange for legislation that pays for a border wall and more detention facilities, curbs legal immigration and implements E-verify, an online system that allows businesses to check immigration status, according to a half-dozen people familiar with situation, most involved with the negotiations.
At first blush, this may sound like the basis for a compromise. Democrats would get protections for young immigrants -- the existing Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy -- while Republicans would get a border wall, cuts to legal immigration, the E-verify system, and detention facilities for undocumented immigrants, among other things.
Except, it's not really a trade-off in any meaningful sense, since Democrats have what they want: the DACA policy for young Dreamers already exists. Instead, it's more of a hostage strategy: Trump is saying he'll destroy DACA unless Congress approves all of the other goodies on his immigration wish list.
Trump's promises about Mexico paying for the wall are out. Trump looking for ways to force Congress to give him taxpayer dollars is in, even if he has to use hundreds of thousands of kids as leverage.
Is there any chance Democrats would go along with such a scheme?