The Senate met Thursday to vote on four possible immigration solutions. While three came close, all four ultimately failed to get the required 60 votes. Among the bills up for vote were both the Grassley Plan, which Trump supported, and the Bipartisan Plan, which the president specifically denounced.
The Blame Game
Typically, when bills fail to pass, politicians begin the traditional Congressional Blame Game. This time, there’s a lot of blame tossed in the president’s direction. He denounced all but the Grassley Plan, and said that the Common Sense Coalition’s bill was dead on arrival.
While it’s generally expected that everyone blame the other party as a whole – and there was some of that – some supporters of the Bipartisan Plan blamed the extremes of both parties instead. Senator Linsey Graham (R-SC) said that while there are some folks in the White House who have made careers of stopping immigration reform, the president isn’t one of them. “So the demagogues of the left and the right are gonna win,” he said.
But let’s be clear that this rests entirely on the Senate – whether that be the Democrats, the GOP, the middle, or the extreme outer edges of both parties. President Trump may very well have threatened to veto all but Senator Grassley’s (R-IA) bill – which was quite unpopular, gaining only 39 yeas – but it is still the Senate who failed to pass any of the four bills up for vote. It is the Senate who failed to draft a bill that 60 of them could agree on.
Congress has had plenty of time to come up with a plan; President Trump announced his intention to reform immigration and eliminate DACA back while he was still just Candidate Trump. This should not have been a surprise. Perhaps six more Senators would have voted for one of the two more popular bills had the president lent his support, but it was still their choice and they chose to not even give one a chance.
— Fox News (@FoxNews) February 15, 2018
What Happens Now
The Senate is taking a recess, making Thursday’s failed attempts the last chance for immigration reform before DACA’s expiration of March 5. It’s unlikely that President Trump will bump back that date. Why would he? As DACA recipients begin to face the risk of deportation, many will likely blame Trump rather than the 100 men and women who couldn’t even work together well enough to get a 60-vote majority to support any one of a few options that would have created paths to citizenship for 1.8 million Dreamers.
But no amount of railing against the president or wailing at the sky will change the truth. And it won’t be Trump who bears the ire of registered voters. According to a statement released by the White House and citing several polls, between 55% and 79% of Americans support the president’s vision of immigration reform.
And even if every illegal in the nation is deported – It’s unlikely to hurt Trump in 2020. One of his primary promises was to drastically cut illegal immigration. How many of the folks who voted him into office in 2016 would vote against him in 2020 for keeping one of his most significant campaign promises – even if only because Congress couldn’t get the job done?