It’s a testament to how much border hawks’ faith in Trump has already been shaken that it’s Miller’s role in this offer, not Trump’s, that’ll send a wave of panic through the right. Restrictionists like Ann Coulter already know, and openly admit, that Trump’s a weathervane on amnesty depending upon who’s in the room with him. But Miller is the immovable object, the principled nationalist who’s going to protect POTUS from his own instincts to do something rash in legalizing DREAMers.
According to the Beast, though, Miller’s the one who relayed Trump’s position to Republicans in Congress. Either he’s onboard with this or Trump laid down the law with him and told him it’s DREAM time, end of story. This mega-amnesty will be the best mega-amnesty, believe me. Really tremendous!
The administration’s legislative framework for a bipartisan immigration bill will include a pathway to citizenship for 1.8 million people, White House policy chief Stephen Miller told Capitol Hill Republican staffers in a conference call.
Miller, describing the White House’s outline as one that includes “extremely generous provisions” and “dramatic concessions” to Democrats, said the administration’s plan allows for 1.8 million undocumented immigrants to have a pathway to American citizenship if they have “work history, the right amount of education, and good moral character.”…
That number includes the nearly 700,000 people currently protected under the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, plus individuals who did not apply for DACA “but otherwise met its requirements,” according to Miller.
It’s not just DACA kids, it’s “DACA-plus,” i.e. everyone who could have applied for the program even if they didn’t. In return Trump would get $25 billion for the wall plus extra money for other border improvements. That’s always been the obvious compromise — the wall for a DACA fix, more or less straight up. The detail about DACA-plus is a surprise, though. It’s not a mega-amnesty, it’s a MAGA-amnesty!
Leaking this also creates some leverage over Schumer. Publicizing such a generous offer will build excitement among DREAMers when Schumer’s already under heavy pressure to make amnesty happen by February 8. As that excitement builds, Trump and Miller can start twisting Schumer’s arm on limiting chain migration for family members of the newly legalized DREAMers. WaPo has a detail about that, in fact, although it sounds like Trump wants to scale back chain migration for all immigrants, not just DREAMers: “[T]he president will propose significant curbs to legal immigration channels, restricting the ability of U.S. citizens to petition for visas only for spouses and minor children and ending categories for parents and siblings.” Will Schumer roll over on that? He’ll probably never get an amnesty offer from Trump this robust again. If “the wall for DACA” was the obvious deal, “the wall plus caps on chain migration for DACA-plus” was the less obvious but more ambitious one.
It’s already got the Grahamnesty seal of approval! (I think.)
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) January 25, 2018
A funny subplot to all this is how some of the guys whom Trump squashed in the 2016 primaries due in part to his ability to get to their right on immigration are now suddenly getting to *his* right on a DACA amnesty. In one case, Ted Cruz’s, there’s an obvious reason why. Cruz is up for reelection this year in a red state and figures that you can’t go wrong being a hard-ass on immigration in that environment. Plus, it’ll give him a talking point the next time he runs for president and starts pandering to populists again. “When Donald Trump bent on amnesty, I remained a beacon of uncompromising enforcement.”
“I do not believe we should be granting a path to citizenship to anybody here illegally,” the Texas Republican said in the Capitol. “Doing so is inconsistent with the promises we made to the men and women who elected us.”…
“For some reason that to me is utterly inexplicable, we see Republicans falling all over themselves to gallop to the left of Obama in a way that is contrary to the promises made to the voters who elected us,” Cruz said. “We need to honor the promises we made. And that is what I am energetically urging my colleagues to do.”
Cruz is gonna Cruz. This, however, is more of a surprise. Sort of:
[Marco] Rubio is strongly signaling that he will not support whatever emerges from breakneck negotiations based on a bill from Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) that would provide some young immigrants with a pathway to citizenship and billions for border security. Instead, Rubio has spoken in private GOP lunches enthusiastically about restricting family-based migration and indicated to Republicans he believes what can become law is something far more conservative than that bipartisan bill, according to GOP senators…
“The difference between now and ‘13 is that there’s a Republican in the White House and a Republican majority in the Senate,” Rubio said. “The 2013 bill was designed through the context of a Democratic Senate and a Democratic president. Now we have a Republican Senate, a Republican House and a Republican president.”
Rubio serves a purple state with a large Hispanic minority *and* he’s got cover from Trump now to be the amnesty softie he revealed himself to be in 2013. But no dice. (For the moment. He has yet to react to Trump’s new offer.) Presumably he’s looking a few years down the line a la Cruz to his next run for president too and gambling that there’s simply no way through a Republican primary if you’ve been tagged with the scarlet “A.” If anything, a Trump deal with Schumer on MAGA-amnesty would give Rubio the best of both worlds, a deal he probably supports on the merits plus the opportunity to vote against it in order to prove what a hardcore border hawk he is to future GOP primary voters.
Anyway, fun times ahead as Coulter and other prominent populists have aneurysm over the deal.
House Rs not happy w/this new WH immigration plan -> "This is the beginning of the end of the GOP majority in the House. In a year when the Democrats impeach Trump, we can point to this moment," one R on the call tells me.
— Rachael Bade (@rachaelmbade) January 25, 2018
Don’t cry too hard about it: My guess is that Trump’s demand to scale back chain migration is a significant red line for Schumer and that he’ll be inclined to say no because of it — even with 1.8 million illegals on the precipice of legalization with Donald farking Trump’s approval. Schumer’s going to have a rough three weeks.
Sources tell me Stephen Miller had a pretty feisty conference call just now with immigration hardliners. Lots of them hate the proposal. Seems like the WH has managed to piss off just about everyone!
— Jonathan Swan (@jonathanvswan) January 25, 2018
The opposition to Trump's immigration restriction framework on the left is pretty much thermonuclear.
— Steven Dennis (@StevenTDennis) January 25, 2018