I had expressed some surprise at the fact that Donald Trump agreed to deals with the Democrats on raising the debt ceiling and funding the government at least through December 12 without demanding anything in return. I had expected him to demand funding for his precious border wall as part of the deal. He also indicated that he was willing to do something to accommodate the so-called Dreamers, those undocumented immigrants who had been brought here as children and had led normal lives here.
But now it appears that Trump has reversed himself and decided that he will hold the Dreamers hostage unless he gets funding for the wall. As always with Trump, it is not clear how much he himself is aware of these new conditions and how much were introduced by his staff.
The list of principles, which were sent to Congressional leaders on Sunday night, called for withholding federal grants for “sanctuary cities” and limiting legal immigration by issuing fewer family-based green cards to spouses and the minor children of US citizens and lawful permanent residents. It also demanded the creation of a points-based system for migrants to gain entry to the US.
Last month, the Trump administration abruptly announced plans to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, a program established by the Obama administration that shielded the young people from deportation and allowed them m to work on renewable two-year permits. About 690,000 recipients are currently enrolled in the program, and their work permits are due to expire in March 2018.
The Democrats have said that they could not agree to these conditions.
“The administration can’t be serious about compromise or helping the Dreamers if they begin with a list that is anathema to the Dreamers, to the immigrant community and to the vast majority of Americans,” Schumer and Pelosi said in a joint statement.
“We told the president at our meeting that we were open to reasonable border security measures alongside the Dream Act, but this list goes so far beyond what is reasonable. This proposal fails to represent any attempt at compromise.
“The list includes the wall, which was explicitly ruled out of the negotiations. If the president was serious about protecting the Dreamers, his staff has not made a good faith effort to do so.”
The Democrats said the deal the discussed with the president did not include funding for a wall, which the party have repeatedly said is a non-starter. Trump has previously said that funding for the wall could be addressed separately and suggested that he did not expect it to be included in a Daca bill.
So what explains the reversal? The only thing I can think of is that the Trump administration, reeling from a week of bad news with the Rex Tillerson ‘moron’ comment and Bob Corker’s characterization of Trump as needing adult day care, felt that they needed to show toughness to enthuse their supporters and fell back on that old popular standby, immigrant-bashing..
Another day, another erratic performance from the Trump administration.