White House: Trump doesn't want a standalone DREAM bill, he wants something more ... comprehensive

Ann Coulter stares into the abyss.

A “comprehensive” solution, in which DREAMers get amnesty and border hawks get funding for the wall, *might* be salable to most border hawks even if it’s not salable to Coulter. But … what if Trump can’t get even that?

Maybe Democrats will offer him more Border Patrol hires or some other token security concession. They’re not going to piss off their own base by giving Trump the wall, though, and they’re almost certainly not going to concede on a major enforcement mechanism like, say, e-Verify. It’s possible that Schumer and Pelosi will demand a “clean” DREAM amnesty or nothing. Can Trump agree to that without losing all credibility, especially after what Huckabee Sanders says here about rejecting a “one-piece fix”?

What if the amnesty came with certain conditions? Republican Thom Tillis has been working on a bill with some basic requirements to qualify for legal status:

Like Curbelo’s bill, the Tillis plan would offer an eventual path to U.S. citizenship for immigrants who entered illegally before Jan. 1, 2012, and were 16 years old or younger.

The proposal would grant high school graduates without a serious criminal record conditional immigration status for a five-year period. During that time, if they earn a higher-education degree, serve in the military or stay employed, they could apply for permanent residency and, eventually, citizenship.

About 2.5 million Dreamers would be eligible.

There’s a Catch-22 here. The whole point of Trump canceling DACA with a six-month delay is to punt this issue away to Congress. He wants to be done with it. If Ryan and McConnell put something together, Trump can grudgingly sign it and tell his base, “Eh, this isn’t what I’d prefer but this is what they sent me. If you don’t like it, blame them.” But Ryan and McConnell probably won’t be able to pass anything if Trump doesn’t actively campaign for a compromise, creating political cover for red-district Republicans to support a deal. “At the end of the day, we do need to get some signal out of the White House, what’s an acceptable thing for you,” said Rep. Tom Cole to BuzzFeed. “I don’t think you just pitch it back to the Congress and say, ‘good luck.’”

Without Trump’s support, nothing will pass — and then congressional Republicans will point the finger at him while Democrats point the finger at the entire GOP. He’s trying to avoid blame for DREAMers being deported while also avoiding blame for DREAMers being amnestized, but there’s really no way through that dilemma. The only solution that leaves him off the hook for everything is if Ryan and McConnell could somehow marshal veto-proof majorities in both houses to pass an amnesty that the president ends up vetoing. But as I say, House Republicans won’t back a “clean” DREAM amnesty unless Trump himself is behind it. If he doesn’t propose a compromise or at least stump for one that congressional GOPers come up with, he might as well cancel DACA today and own it.

Maybe the White House needs to think multi-dimensionally. Schumer might agree to some enforcement measures as part of a DREAM amnesty if Trump agrees to a compromise on other legislation in the works. Maybe a Bannon-esque tax hike on the rich as part of tax reform? Congressional Republicans would hate that but Trump has never had much use for his own party. Why start now?

Exit question: Why does Coulter seem so surprised that Trump is open to a “comprehensive” immigration bill? He’s been saying that for months.