Rush on amnesty for DREAMers: "Nobody's going to win anything by deporting a bunch of kids"

“Small price to pay to get the problem under control,” he says of amnesty for hundreds of thousands of young illegals, via the Daily Rushbo. Am I awake?

I kid. This shouldn’t be shocking — if you’re a pragmatist, not a polemicist. Point one: Trump has been hinting at amnestizing DREAMers for months. Usually that takes the form of gooey pronouncements about having a big heart and how “great people that are here that have done a good job … should be far less worried” about deportation than criminals. Lately, though, the White House has showed its hand more clearly by declining to suspend Obama’s DACA program for DREAMers as part of its executive overhaul of immigration policy. All Rush is doing here is getting in line with a Republican president he already spends much of his time defending.

Point two: An immigration deal with Democrats that would trade serious enforcement upgrades for amnesty for DREAMers does make a lot of sense. If Trump needs to horse-trade with Democrats to get 60 votes in the Senate for more Border Patrol, more sophisticated means of tracking immigrants internally, and so forth, legalization for America’s most sympathetic class of illegals is an obvious possible concession, especially since Obama’s already granted them (temporary) legal status. Trump would get a policy win out of it in terms of improved enforcement and he’d get a political win by undermining his image as an ogre who’s coming after five-year-olds. He’d also get some Strange New Respect from the not-very-hardline Republicans in Congress. In fact, the deal is so obviously attractive to the White House that I figure Schumer and the Democrats will try to blow it up and hold out for a much broader amnesty that includes many millions of adults too. If Schumer agrees to amnesty for DREAMers, he knows Trump will then turn around and vow no amnesty for anyone else (as Rush does here), having already banked his “big heart” points. And he also knows there’s a risk that some voters who dislike Trump because they’re moderates on immigration may warm up to him if a DREAMer amnesty goes through.

And yet, and yet. At the Right Scoop, “Sooper Mexican” wonders how well a DREAM amnesty would have played coming from any Republican except Trump:

But aside from that, isn’t this EXACTLY the kind of compromise that Rush and others would absolutely go nuclear over if it had been made by the GOP establishment? Didn’t they absolutely trash Marco Rubio for advocating some form of amnesty in his illegal immigration compromise? But NOW it’s a smart compromise, now that their cheeto-faced emperor is caving, and not someone else.

I don’t know. It’s true that there’s a double standard for Trump, but to some extent he’s earned that double standard. Because he’s been a hardliner on immigration in so many ways, he enjoys a certain amount of “only Nixon can go to China” cred to make a deal on DREAMers that other Republican would-be presidents wouldn’t have. Yeah, the right would be freaking out if President Rubio were considering amnesty for a class of illegals, but that’s because Rubio’s already proved himself deeply untrustworthy on immigration. We’d have every reason to believe he’d make a bad deal with Schumer. The jury’s still out on Trump, who’s starting on immigration from a position to Rubio’s right. Even in Rubio’s case, though, I think Rush and most of conservative talk radio would have ended up defending a DREAMer deal. That’s what they tend to do when a Republican’s in the White House (especially if that Republican’s a more orthodox conservative than Trump). They go to war for him. If in this case “war” requires creating some space for him politically to pursue a controversial deal on immigration that he’s interested in, hey. Partisanship is a stern taskmaster.

Exit question: is this just Rush riffing or did a little birdie in the White House whisper to him that a deal on DREAMers is in the works and now would be a fine moment to start softening up potential right-wing grassroots opposition to it?

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