For Democrats, the DACA deal is a dilemma. Drink any amount of alcohol and repeat this sentence numerous times and it will still sound the same. Also, it will always be just as true. Not so for Republicans because any deal that provides a temporary or permanent reprieve for the so-called ‘DREAMers’ will never be perceived as compassionate or fair, on their part. If there is no deal on DACA, then Republicans will still be portrayed as cruel, heartless and xenophobic.
The difference between these two outcomes, however, is that most of the Republican base would be happier if there is no deal. Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which is technically unlawful, is seen, by most conservatives, as amnesty. By definition, this is exactly what it is. Amnesty means a pardon of offenses or general forgiveness of transgressions. Therefore, anything less than deportation is amnesty.
Democrats Dream of Easier Choices
Where is the dilemma for Democrats, then? The Republicans – assuming they do not follow the time-honored tradition of completely caving to Democrat demands – will not advance legislation to deal with DACA recipients that does not also include border security measures and, possibly, further immigration reform. Particularly, some consensus on building President Donald Trump’s big, beautiful border wall must be reached. Therein lies the dilemma. It appears the Republicans have gotten smart. Incredible.
If Democrats in Congress refuse to play ball, they will be sacrificing the future of all those DREAMer kids – many of whom are now in their 30s and 40s – because they object to tighter controls on illegal immigration. Should they agree to such a deal, they will have thrown away two valuable trump-cards for the November midterm elections. Let us not dwell on the mixed metaphors – perhaps we can all agree that there are ball games that involve playing cards, for now.
Democrats will never agree to a deal providing extended protection for DREAMers as well as an agreement to build the wall and other border enforcement measures. If they did so, they simply could not run on immigration. Do they want to run on immigration, this November? In the immortal words of Sarah Palin, you betcha! On the other hand, the 700,000 or so DACA recipients are up against the clock. No deal means thousands, maybe tens of thousands, who did not renew their paperwork on time will be, once again, subject to deportation.
Just as importantly, perhaps, is the president’s fitness for office, his mental state, and the very legitimacy of his election victory. If Democrats vote for immigration reform and Trump signs the bill, they will have, in effect, legitimized that stable genius in the White House. This is why the ‘loyal opposition’ has refused to cooperate on anything, since January. Trump is crazy, unstable, an impostor, and literally a Nazi, according to them. How can they attach themselves to any bill this lunatic signs into law? If a bipartisan deal meets Trump’s pen, then the whole narrative of Trump’s illegitimacy is gone.
Betray the DREAMers or accept tighter border controls and accept the wall? Those are the choices for Cryin’ Chuck Schumer and [insert nickname here] Nancy Pelosi (Trump’s working on it, surely). Democrats will not take the deal; they would rather have this issue in their arsenal for November. This gives Republicans some ammunition, however. They will be able to tell voters that Democrats had the chance to save DACA and chose not to.
Democrats see all illegal immigrants as potential voters. With anywhere from 12 million to 18 million illegals currently in the United States – depending on who one asks – the less than 1 million DREAMers may be worth sacrificing.
Republicans Dream of Easier Elections
For Republicans, the issue is less convoluted. Any bill the president signs that includes some form of amnesty for DACA recipients, be it temporary or permanent, will be met with anger by a large section of Republican voters. The only way the GOP can sell it to the base is to ensure that there will be no more DREAMers, that the border wall is funded, and that further immigration reform is set in motion. Failure to reach a deal on DACA will appease much of the conservative base but also means that Democrats will fight tooth and nail to kill any further immigration reform or border security legislation.
The upside for Republicans is simple. They can send a clear message to the base; we need controlling majorities in both houses of Congress to get get the wall built and to fix immigration.
Why, then, would Republicans want to pass immigration reform until after the midterms? Why would Democrats want to? The truth is, this is, for both parties, a great punching bag for the elections. The DREAMers, meanwhile, are sh… surely out of luck; they are mere pawns and always have been. They can thank former President Barack Obama for that.