Trump's immigration plan receives a chilly reception

“He could have taken a more strategic tone on immigration,” another senior Senate GOP aide lamented. “When he talks about the dangers of chain migration and open borders, even if there’s truth to what he’s saying, he plays into Democrats’ hands by making it easier for them to paint him as a fear-mongering nativist.”

Moreover, as Trump boasted that his plan would ferry “almost three times more” Dreamers into citizenship than in any other administration, House conservatives such as Freedom Caucus chairman Mark Meadows and his predecessor, Jim Jordan, sitting side-by-side, looked sullen. In the last few days, Freedom Caucus members haven’t been shy about panning the president for revoking his “no amnesty” pledge from the campaign trail: ”If you ask voters in states like Ohio, Michigan, and Pennsylvania that swung to Donald Trump if this amnesty plan keeps his promises,” Virginia’s Dave Brat said in a statement, “they will tell you it does not.”

“He could have done this without a pathway to citizenship. Legal status would have worked,” a senior aide to one Freedom Caucus member told me. “I don’t get this move at all.”