It appears President Donald Trump may have successfully maneuvered the Democrats into a corner. The left has been fighting Trump’s anti-illegal immigration efforts since he took office. Since gaining control of the House of Representatives, Dems have been given more power to push back against these attempts to stem the flow of illegal immigrants across the southern border.
But recently, the president made a move that could ramp up the battle over the border, while making it more difficult for Democratic lawmakers to push their agenda of unfettered migration. If it works, this strategy might empower the White House to finally address the illegal immigration issue. In a tweet, Trump acquiesced to Democrat wishes that he halt planned mass deportations – but is this apparent sacrifice a sharp move that will force Dems to take responsibility for border security?
Trump Throws down the Gauntlet
Earlier in the week, The Washington Post reported that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) planned to conduct major raids to apprehend and deport illegal immigrants residing across the country. They were to target about 2,000 families who ICE had already ordered to be deported. Naturally, this revelation sparked a tremendous backlash from the progressive left, which engaged in the race-baiting that typically follows such a move.
Democratic lawmakers excoriated the president’s decision, and some organizations began publishing information designed to inform illegals of their rights if they are taken into custody. Various law enforcement agencies stated that they would refuse to work with ICE in tracking down and arresting suspects.
In a seeming about-face, Trump announced on Twitter that he would postpone the raids to give Congress time to solve some of the major issues in the country’s current immigration laws. “At the request of Democrats, I have delayed the Illegal Immigration Removal Process (Deportation) for two weeks to see if the Democrats and Republicans can get together and work out a solution to the Asylum and Loophole problems at the Southern Border,” he tweeted. “If not, Deportations start!”
The next day, Trump tweeted an explanation for his reasoning behind the delay:
“I want to give the Democrats every last chance to quickly negotiate simple changes to Asylum and Loopholes. This will fix the Southern Border, together with the help that Mexico is now giving us. Probably won’t happen, but worth a try. Two weeks and big Deportation begins!”
ICE has stated that it would prioritize the removal of illegal immigrants “who pose a threat to national security, public safety and border security.” The agency reiterated that “90 percent of aliens arrested by ICE’S Enforcement and Removal Operations component in FY2018 had either a criminal conviction(s), pending criminal charge(s), were an ICE fugitive, or illegally re-entered the country after previously being removed.”
Placing the Burden on Democrats
According to ABC News, Trump relented after a phone call from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. It may seem that the president is giving in to her demands, but perhaps he has another strategy in mind. He wishes to place the onus on Democratic lawmakers to offer legitimate solutions to the problem; Dems might finally be forced into a position where they must take the illegal immigration issue seriously and pass laws that aid border enforcement. If they refuse, the president will deal with the matter by stepping up deportations across the country.
If the Democrats fail to provide adequate legislation to resolve the existing loopholes, they will share much of the blame for the deportations that follow. This could do grave political damage to politicians whose constituents might take issue with their inability to draft the appropriate laws.
Trump’s approach enables him to confront the problem at the border regardless of the action, or inaction, of his political opponents. While increased deportation campaigns will elicit the usual accusations of racism and xenophobia from the hard left, polls show the rest of the country is more in line with the president’s stance on illegal immigration, and will likely support it despite the protestations of progressives. In this way, it appears the president has placed the Democrats in a lose/lose situation.
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