On Thursday, the White House released a run-down on its new proposal regarding the handling of illegal immigrants originally protected under President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. That program mandated that illegal immigrants brought to the country as children through no fault of their own, register with the government, and in return receive papers allowing work authorization and freedom from deportation. Now Trump, in an attempt to push forward a deal with Democrats to avoid another government shutdown and forestall the possibility of either reinforcing DACA through executive action on March 5 or beginning deportations, has put forward his framework.
Here it is:
- Amnesty for 1.8 million illegal immigrants. Within 10-12 years, those illegal immigrants would become citizens. This number includes both the 700,000 illegal immigrant so-called DREAMers who registered with the government under DACA, and other DREAMers who didn’t. The White House says this is a large concession designed to encourage Democrats to come to the table.
- In return for this large-scale amnesty — which, as we’ll see, would be far larger than anticipated — Republicans would get a $25 billion fund for the border wall.
- Republicans would also receive an end to chain migration — only parents and minor children of those amnestied would be allowed to stay in the country. However — and this is a major caveat — those who are currently on the chain migration list, some 4 million people, would be allowed into the country over the course of the next 20 years. This is different from the original immigration hawk proposal that would have cut off the waiting list at people who have been waiting for one year, and refunded the application fees for everyone else, as immigration uber-hawk Mark Krikorian points out.
- The visa diversity lottery would be ended.
Krikorian is on Twitter encouraging people to burn their MAGA hats. He explains why at National Review:
The White House has botched the DACA issue, cutting Bob Goodlatte’s House bill off at the knees and making it more likely that either there will be no bill at all or that any final bill the president signs (which is guaranteed to be even weaker than this) will fatally demoralize Republican voters in November. If the latter happens, the president will be well on the way to joining Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton in the impeached-but-not-removed club.
The notion here is that Trump has destroyed his own negotiating position by embracing a far larger amnesty than Democrats even asked for, thereby leaving them in the position of telling Trump that he will receive nothing — and knowing that Trump will then be forced to reinstate DACA in March anyway. And indeed, Democrats are calling this incredibly loose immigration proposal “racist.” Yes, really. Because granting citizenship to almost 2 million illegal immigrants and importing another 4 million immigrant relatives is now “racism.”
But there’s another possibility. That possibility is simple: Trump already knows Democrats aren’t going to negotiate. He’s therefore posturing for public consumption by demonstrating how much “love” he can show illegal immigrants; the next step will be to tell the public that Democrats care so little about illegal immigrants and border security that they’re willing to forego amnesty for 1.8 million illegal immigrants in order to leave the border wide open. It’s not a bad public argument, so long as you know that Trump isn’t actually attempting to cut a deal here.
As I’ve been writing for weeks, it’s highly unlikely there’s a deal here to be made. Democrats don’t want a deal; they would rather posture and use the immigration issue as a club against Republicans. Republicans only want a deal that includes border security. So that means an impasse. This kabuki theater may be designed only to allow Trump to reluctantly announce a reinstatement of DACA, then claim that Democrats were so intransigent they wouldn’t protect the very people with whom they say they stand.