In the midst of a government shutdown over funding of a border wall, President Trump has made an offer that the Democrats will find difficult to refuse. During a television address broadcast on January 19, the president discussed the immigration crisis at the nation’s southern border in terms of a humanitarian issue, and reiterated his commitment to forging an agreement with Democratic lawmakers.
During his address, the president repeated his request for $5.7 billion to fund the creation of “steel barriers in high-priority locations,” and pointed out that the objective of such barriers would be to divert human traffic to legal ports of entry. He then stated that he is willing to provide “three years of legislative relief for 700,000 DACA recipients brought here unlawfully by their parents,” in exchange.
Under this deal, Dreamers would be able to obtain work permits, social security numbers, and protection from deportation. The president also indicated that he would provide similar measures for immigrants who have Temporary Protected Status (TPS). This temporary relief will give Congress more time to create a more permanent solution for the individuals who are involved in these programs.
The Battle Over Border Security
As the government shutdown drags on, Republicans and Democrats have continued to clash over the issue of border security. While the crux of the matter appears to be funding for the border wall, it is clear the conflict is more about politics than border security.
President Trump campaigned on the promise that he would construct a wall along the southern border to prevent illegal immigration, and the Democrats leadership refuses to allow him to fulfill this vow. Indeed, many of the Democrats who are opposing the wall have voted in favor of a physical barrier at the southern border, in the past. It is clear that for the Democrats, the goal is to deny Trump a victory.
Recently, Representative Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) sent a letter to President Trump rescinding her previous invitation to him to give the State of the Union address in the House of Representatives. Why? Because apparently, she was concerned about security. “Both the U.S. Secret Service and the Department of Homeland Security have not been funded for 26 days now — with critical departments hamstrung by furloughs,” she said, although the relevant departments have since voiced their objections.
President Trump has not yet announced whether or not he will seek other venues for delivering the State of the Union Address, but he did retaliate against Pelosi in pure Trumpian fashion. The speaker was scheduled to take a trip to visit members of NATO, and Afghanistan. Typically, a member of Congress making such a trip would be transported by the military, but hours before she was set to depart, President Trump sent her a letter stating that he was canceling her trip due to the shutdown.
Predictably, the left lashed out at Trump for his action against Pelosi, but it appears he was only holding her to the same standard he himself has followed during the shutdown. Earlier this month, he announced that he would cancel his trip to Davos, Switzerland, where he was supposed to attend the World Economic Forum.
What Will The Democrats Do?
Not all Democratic lawmakers are as gung-ho about opposing the Wall as it may seem. Some have indicated that they have other priorities and are supportive of bolstering U.S. border security. In an interview with Politico, several freshman lawmakers stated that they are not on board with Speaker Pelosi’s irrational crusade against the border wall, and are willing to bend on this particular issue if it means they can get other concessions from the Trump administration.
This is not the first time President Trump has offered amnesty to illegal residents, as part of a political bargain. In the past, he has proposed similar solutions to address the problems faced by DACA recipients and those under TPS, only to be rebuffed by the Democrats who would not have any part of a deal involving a border wall. The left has paid lip service to the idea of obtaining legal status for DACA recipients since President Obama was in office, but it appears that they are not as concerned with the plight of these individuals as they make believe.
Democrats in Congress have rejected proposals that would benefit the Dreamers on multiple occasions. Why? Because each of these bills would have provided funding for the Wall and additional border security. If their past behavior is any indication, they will likely reject Trump’s current offer.
If this happens, it could widen the divide between Democrats who are serious about helping DACA recipients and those who are only focused on impeding Trump’s agenda. In the end, it is these Dreamers – along with Americans who wish to protect the southern border – who will suffer.