Democrats could demand a permanent solution—with a path to citizenship—for the “dreamers” and those immigrants who enjoy Temporary Protected Status. Trump might reject such a deal, of course. (His own recent proposal offered daca recipients only a three-year reprieve). But he’ll likely reject billions in border funding absent a wall, too. If Democrats are going to negotiate during the shutdown, isn’t it morally preferable to push for secure legal status for hundreds of thousands of vulnerable immigrants than for billions in border funding that Democrats all but admit America doesn’t need?
The counterargument is that, politically, the wall is all that matters. If Trump gets his wall—no matter what he gives up in return—he will claim victory. He’ll renew his bond with his political base. Democrats will be demoralized. And whether or not the wall ever gets built, Trump, who today looks politically feeble, will gain momentum heading towards 2020.
But that logic is hardly airtight. Would a deal that gives Trump funding for a wall in exchange for a permanent daca solution boost him with his base? Not necessarily.