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Of all the issues upon which Democrats and Republicans could campaign, in the run-up to the November midterm elections, immigration may turn out to be the one both parties try to avoid. Both of the main voting bases in America have been betrayed by their respective parties. President Donald Trump appears to have lost patience even with his own party and is demanding immediate action on border security. In another epic Trumpian tweetnado, which began Sunday morning, the president ramped up the heat on both parties and appeared to signal the end of the road for DACA recipients.
As news emerged of a herd of Hondurans moving through Mexico and heading for the U.S. border, Trump took to his favorite social network to unleash his frustration over the inertia on Capitol Hill. After savaging California Governor Jerry Brown, the president dropped a bombshell, regarding former President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
Those enrolled in DACA had pinned their hopes on Democrats, who had continuously promised to win permanent legal status for them. Negotiations broke down after Democrats realized they would have to agree to a range of other measures on immigration and border security.
End Of The Road For Dreamers?
The president seems to have announced that the window of opportunity for this particular group of illegal immigrants has now closed:
“Border Patrol Agents are not allowed to properly do their job at the Border because of ridiculous liberal (Democrat) laws like Catch & Release. Getting more dangerous. “Caravans” coming. Republicans must go to Nuclear Option to pass tough laws NOW. NO MORE DACA DEAL!”
Unfortunately for these so-called ‘DREAMers,’ the Democratic Party understands that their plight is more useful as an electioneering tool. To resolve the DACA issue would be to throw away a major Democratic campaign weapon. Thus, when confronted with an offer from Trump to provide the DREAMers – and many more illegal immigrants – with legal status, the Democrats turned away. They were simply unwilling to give Trump the other concessions he wanted on border security, and so, the DACA recipients were abandoned. It will now be very difficult for Democrats to portray themselves as the protectors of these DREAMers come November.
The Complicity of Mexico in US Immigration Debacle
In another tweet, early Monday morning, the president called out Mexico for its policy of allowing large numbers of migrants from Central America to pass through on their way to the U.S. He has a point. Mexico strictly enforces its own immigration laws and does not tolerate illegal immigrants, except when those immigrants are en route to America.
Pointing out the obvious fact that Mexico could very easily stop these migrants at their own southern border, Trump tweeted that America’s southern neighbor should “not allow [the migrants] to pass through into our country, which has no effective border laws…..” He wasn’t done there and turned his attention to the Republicans in Congress:
“…Congress must immediately pass Border Legislation, use Nuclear Option if necessary, to stop the massive inflow of Drugs and People. Border Patrol Agents (and ICE) are GREAT, but the weak Dem laws don’t allow them to do their job. Act now Congress, our country is being stolen!”
The lack of funding for the border wall – a major Trump campaign promise – is likely to bite Republicans in their collective rear ends, come the midterms.
The “Nuclear Option” reference concerns the inability of Senate Republicans to pass legislation without Democratic votes due to their razor-thin majority. Trump is looking for the Senate to the change its rules so that bills can be passed with a simple 51-vote majority. Most say such a rule change would be a bad idea and they are probably right, but Democrats – if and when they regain control of the Senate – may, themselves, invoke the so-called nuclear option in order to roll back the Trump agenda.
As if confirming his previous decision on DACA, Trump returned to the subject and wrote that “DACA is dead because the Democrats didn’t care or act…” He went on to demand that the border wall be constructed. “Must build Wall and secure our borders with proper Border legislation. Democrats want No Borders, hence drugs and crime!”
DACA is dead because the Democrats didn’t care or act, and now everyone wants to get onto the DACA bandwagon… No longer works. Must build Wall and secure our borders with proper Border legislation. Democrats want No Borders, hence drugs and crime!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 2, 2018
The Reality and the Future of the Border Issue
Regardless of Twitter rants, it is entirely possible that Trump will, once again, open himself up to the possibility of a deal that provides DACA recipients with long-term legal status. The Democratic Party, however, is going to have to accept additional funding for the border wall and other immigration law changes. While Democrats attempt to push the narrative that Trump created the problem when he terminated the DACA program, this is simply not true. Obama created the program and made it clear that DACA was a temporary stop-gap measure. The former president placed these people in limbo the moment he created a program he had no legal authority to create.
As for the mass of Central Americans heading for the southern border, these people are fleeing poverty, misery, and oppression in countries that Trump allegedly referred to as “sh*tholes.” Their decision to undertake such a perilous and uncertain journey appears to prove that Trump – if, indeed, he said what was reported – had a pretty good point. Regardless, these people have no automatic right to simply walk into the U.S. and remain here. Trump has run out of patience on immigration and he feels he is racing against time to fix a broken system. As it happens, the approaching migrants are racing against time for the very same reason.