I’m surprised. Given how Trump said that he hopes Congress “legalizes DACA” plus the fact that multiple Senate Republicans have already come out in favor of a DREAM bill, Schumer and Pelosi have all the leverage here. Why offer Republicans anything in exchange? They could tell Trump, “We’ll do the DREAM Act straight up, with nothing attached. Take it or leave it.” If he leaves it, then he’s stuck six months from now having to follow through on his threat to end DACA. And he clearly doesn’t want to.
Maybe this is an olive branch as thanks to the president for humiliating his own party’s leadership during negotiations today. He caved to Democrats by doing a three-month debt-ceiling extension. The least they could do is throw him some token border security concessions as part of a DREAM deal.
But no wall. They’ll never give him that. We’re … going to end up with a border “fence,” aren’t we?
Congressional officials from both sides of the aisle hinted that they would support a bill re-applying legal protections for the so-called DREAMers—undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children—in exchange for border security measures that did not include funding a wall along the southern border. A top Senate Democratic aide said that the party would be open to agreeing to items such as additional drone operations, fencing and sensors; but not a “presidential vanity project.”
“We are open to security that makes sense,” the aide said, noting that the party had agreed to a similar exchange—albeit on a much larger scale—when it put together a comprehensive immigration reform deal in 2013. That measure included some $40 billion for border security measures…
Still, the room for legislative maneuvering around a DACA replacement seemed far wider than initially anticipated, with advocates for reform admitting surprise at how willing Republican lawmakers appeared to be toward cutting a deal.
Of course Republicans are willing to cut a deal. The politics of this issue are brutal for them, and with the populist-in-chief telegraphing that even he’s open to signing a DREAM bill, there’s no reason for congressional GOPers to say no. The surprise, as I say, is that Democrats are open to a deal instead of making Trump choke on a clean DREAM bill. But maybe they’re not really open to it; after all, “border security measures” can mean a lot of things and, as Fred Bauer correctly notes, are easily gutted later. Schumer and Pelosi may be willing to give Trump a fig leaf on the border to make it a little easier for him to sell a DREAM amnesty to the right — maybe some “fencing” will end up on the table — but they’re not going to give him something he and they really want, like a wall. In fact, some DREAMers are themselves opposed to a deal that would trade legal status for a border wall, which goes to show you how open borders remains the paramount goal of amnesty fans, even above amnesty itself.
By the way, does this explain why Trump sided with Schumer and Pelosi on a three-month debt-ceiling extension instead of the 18-month extension Ryan and McConnell wanted? The president may have already realized what a pickle he’s in politically with DACA and how he needs Democratic goodwill to get even token concessions. Giving them some extra leverage via a short-term extension might make them more willing to pass a DREAM bill with security measures attached. Or maybe I’m overthinking it. Maybe this is just Trump being Trump:
A not insane theory of what happened today is that Trump is still mad at Ryan and McConnell and sided with Schumer and Pelosi to spite them.
— Ryan Lizza (@RyanLizza) September 6, 2017
Via Mediaite, here’s Trump once again telegraphing his support for a DREAM deal on Air Force One today: “Chuck and Nancy would like to see something happen and so do I.”