Schumer has a tasty midterm issue on a silver platter thanks to Trump. Multiple polls show upwards of 65-70 percent of the public oppose child separation. Option one for Dems: Make a deal with the GOP to end the policy immediately with limited concessions on both sides. Republicans agree to pay for twice as many immigration judges as we have now, per Cruz’s bill, in order to move asylum applications more expeditiously. And Democrats agree that families stay in detention together instead of being let go and disappearing into the United States, never to return to court for their hearing, the hallmark of “catch and release.”
If you choose option one, though, you forfeit that tasty issue.
Option two, then: Protect catch-and-release at all costs and refuse to make a deal. Let Republicans solve their Trump-inflicted child separation problem themselves, even though they can’t do it legislatively without Democratic votes and Trump, being Trump, won’t budge.
Schumer’s made his decision. Child separation is an atrocity … but not so much of one that they’ll go over Trump’s head by making a deal with Ted Cruz.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., refused to say if he and other Democrats would support a bill that Republicans are working on, and when pressed, said several times that President Trump should act on his own to stop these family separations from happening.
“Let’s hope we never get to that. Let’s hope the president does the right thing and solves the problem, which he can do,” Schumer said. “That’s the simple, easiest and most likely way this will happen.”…
“How many times has immigration legislation passed in this Congress. How many times? Zero. It’s an excuse from our Republican colleagues who feel the heat, don’t want to attack the president, even though they know, they know legislation will take a very long time and is unlikely to happen, and the flick of a president’s pen could solve this tomorrow,” Schumer said. “Makes no sense, what they’re saying.”
The issue for him isn’t separation, it’s catch-and-release. If ending the former requires ending the latter, no dice, whatever Godwin-esque invective he and his party may otherwise be engaged in about the treatment of kids. (The Godwin-esque invective about ICE detention centers for separated kids was also in short supply when Obama was holding unaccompanied child migrants in “cages” too.) Schumer’s not going to make a concession to fix it when he’s convinced he doesn’t absolutely need to, per the polling. Probably he figures that if he holds his breath and refuses to budge, enough Republican centrists will shake loose to support Feinstein’s sloppy bill to get to 60 votes if only McConnell will bring it to the floor. Here are 12 who’ll probably cave sooner rather than later if McConnell will let them:
12 GOP Sens sign onto @senorrinhatch’s letter asking DOJ to freeze it’s “zero tolerance” policy as Hill works to address issue:
Sen. Cassidy pic.twitter.com/Sa3l2mdqno
— Phil Mattingly (@Phil_Mattingly) June 19, 2018
The irony is, Trump isn’t a fan of the GOP legislative proposals so far either. He took a shot at Cruz’s bill in remarks this morning by complaining that adding a bunch of immigration judges won’t solve anything. If Schumer did join with McConnell to support a Republican bill, that itself might pay an electoral bonus to Democrats by instigating a GOP civil war between hardcore border hawks who resent Senate Republicans for overruling POTUS’s “zero tolerance” policy and the rest of the party that doesn’t want kids being taken away from parents. But as I say, any compromise would likely require ending catch-and-release for families and that’s the red line for liberals. Child separation is bad. Reducing illegal immigration is really bad.
Here’s a bit from McConnell’s and Schumer’s pressers this afternoon. Exit question: If Schumer’s serious that only Trump can or should end the separation policy since he’s the one who initiated it, why has Feinstein written a bill and why has the entire Dem caucus pledged to support it? Schumer obviously doesn’t object to solving this legislatively. He objects to having to make any sort of concession towards enforcement to do so, even if it’s not on Trump’s immigration wish list.