News and Commentary

Democrat Cave? Sen. Dick Durbin Signals An Unconditional Surrender On Immigration Deal

Senior Senate Democrat Dick Durbin (IL) said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union” that legislators are unlikely to reach a deal on the Delayed Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) before the president’s March deadline, but that Democrats will not force a second government shutdown over the impasse.

“There is not likely to be a DACA deal, though we’re working every single day on telephone calls and person-to-person to try to reach this bipartisan agreement,” Durbin told host Jake Tapper. “I don’t see a government shutdown coming.”

This leaves Democrats with few options — and no leverage — going into the final weeks of negotiations over an immigration deal that they were, by all accounts, poised to ink with the president. But earlier in January, the deal broke down, reportedly over an included stipulation that would have given indefinite amnesty to parents of DACA recipients even though those parents knowingly violated U.S. immigration law.

When Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) realized he’d lost Republican cooperation, he ordered his colleagues to filibuster a continuing resolution on the budget, sending the government into a three day shutdown. But having lost the media, and activists in both the middle and on the far left, Schumer caved to the president’s shutdown deal and ordered his colleagues to negotiate on the budget and on immigration separately.

But now, it seems that while budget negotiations are going smoothly, immigration negotiations aren’t seeing the same success. And Durbin’s interview seems to indicate an unconditional surrender on the issue.

“We’re making real progress,” Durbin said. “I want to salute the moderates in both the Republicans’ and Democratic caucuses in the Senate. I do see a promise by Sen. McConnell to finally bring this critical issue that effects the lives of hundreds of thousands of people in America, finally bringing it to a full debate in the Senate. That’s what we were looking for when there was a shutdown. We have achieved that goal. We’re moving forward.”

That’s a strong betrayal of the Democrats’ progressive base who not only wanted an immigration deal, they wanted one that included a “clean” DACA bill which would let the children of immigrants stay in the U.S. indefinitely and without any conditions.