Immigration

Report: Trump Will Hold DREAMer Status Hostage for Border Wall Funding

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

Will he or won't he?

Trump promised that he would deport all DREAMers -- undocumented immigrant children who qualify for deferred action because they're are going to school or working -- during the 2016 campaign, but he hasn't done that yet.

Why not? Probably because it would be a goddamn disaster with immediate economic consequences and widespread public rebuke.

That hasn't stopped Trump from vaguely threatening the deferred action program, however, and Trump's threats could become more explicit in the near future according to McClatchy.

Advisers who've urged Trump to keep the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program reportedly believe he can use it to extract border wall funding from Congress, among other things.

The White House officials want Trump to strike an ambitious deal with Congress that offers Dreamers protection in exchange for legislation that pays for a border wall and more detention facilities, curbs legal immigration and implements E-verify, an online system that allows businesses to check immigration status, according to a half-dozen people familiar with situation, most involved with the negotiations.

The group includes former and current White House chiefs of staff, Reince Priebus and John Kelly, the president’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, and her husband, Jared Kushner, who both serve as presidential advisers, they said.

I can say with complete confidence that Democrats are not going to agree to fund the creation of a border wall and more detention centers just to protect the status of Dreamers, nor should they. It's also hard to imagine that kind of bargain would thread the needle for many Republicans on either side of the debate. Hardliners would never agree to make DACA permanent even if it led to the construction of a wall.

If Trump actually pulled the trigger and canceled the deferred action program, the mess would land in the lap of congressional Republicans who control both chambers of Congress. Furthermore, it would be clear that he did so out of spite because he didn't receive funding for his fantasy border wall.

There's no political or policy reason for Democrats to play ball and not even much of a reason for Republicans to play along either. The status quo is actually pretty good for Republicans. The economy benefits from the presence of immigrants and they get to keep fundraising off their pledges to kick them all out.

You can add this to the long list of issues Congress is supposedly going to tackle during the 13 days of legislative session they have scheduled next month before the arrival of a possible government shutdown.

  • muselet

    The White House officials want Trump to strike an ambitious deal with Congress that offers Dreamers protection in exchange for legislation that pays for a border wall and more detention facilities, curbs legal immigration and implements E-verify, an online system that allows businesses to check immigration status, according to a half-dozen people familiar with situation, most involved with the negotiations.

    Wow. Might as well wish for a pony, as long as they’re wishing.

    I don’t think Donald Trump’s advisers understand just how little leverage their boss has in negotiations with congressional Rs right now—to quote Mr Prosser, “None at all!”—and it’s only going to get worse. The Dear Leader could be twice the brilliant negotiator he claims to be and still would never be able to pull off a deal like that.

    The Ds should stand on the sidelines, and point and laugh. No other response is warranted.

    –alopecia

    • HandleB

      While the 800,000 DACA recipients lose everything.

      Not sure they’ll be laughing.

      • muselet

        There’s not going to be a deal, full stop. The nativist proclivities of a goodly chunk of the R conference in the House—plus the R leadership’s (in both houses) active dislike of Donald Trump—guarantees it. I’m a long way out on this limb, but it feels pretty sturdy to me.

        I’ll even go a little farther out and suggest Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III would find some way of weaseling out of any (purely hypothetical) deal made between Donald Trump and Congress, so la Migra would continue to go after DREAMers and anyone else they have an address for (after all, going after dangerous people who are hiding isn’t nearly as “fun”).

        The Rs couldn’t organize a two-car funeral if you spotted them the hearse (h/t Charlie Pierce), so the administration will be able to continue to play games with the DREAMers’ lives until we elect a sane majority in Congress.

        I’m with Badgerite on this: the Ds need to make the Rs own this. I’m not happy about it—I’d far rather see the Obama administration’s policy continued, since it is both rational and humane—but any other course either makes Ds complicit or makes things almost unimaginably worse for everyone. That’s the reality.

        –alopecia

        • HandleB

          “There’s not going to be a deal, full stop.”

          That’s hunky dory with me. None of my friends or family are DACA recipients. So, nothing to lose for me. We don’t believe in contempt for the country.

          It’s the court that will terminate DACA, not the administration, not congress.

          If the D’s refuse to compromise to keep the 800,000 from getting fired, cars repo’d, evicted, foreclosed, etc., they will need to explain why to them and their families as many of them become homeless and wind up in deportation proceedings.

          • muselet

            Whether or not the Ds decide to negotiate a compromise with whatever fraction of the R conference wants to do a deal, there will be no deal because the Rs can’t negotiate a compromise among themselves. The best the Ds can do is point this out, loudly and often.

            –alopecia

          • HandleB

            In the mean time, there will be 800,000 bankrupt former DACA recipients who could be preserved if congress would compromise.

            The R’s will say that they are willing to save them but the D’s want to enable illegal immigration and obstruct law enforcement, which is how 12 million illegal immigrants got here in the first place.

  • ninjaf

    You know, simply implementing e-verify and then enforcing the laws against those businesses who hire workers here in the US illegally would go further than border walls and detention centers at reducing illegal immigration. But why let workable, relatively inexpensive ideas interfere with the race-baiting that keeps his base ignited?

    • HandleB

      Except for the 60-70% that work off the books, and those who get social services.

      What’s the plan for them?

  • Badgerite

    No deals with hostage takers. Dems should hold firm on this. It’s GOP shit. They should own it.

    • HandleB

      Then, the 800,000 DACA recipients will get fired, lose their drivers licenses, and be at risk of deportation.

      On or around September 5th.

      It’s their choice.

      • Badgerite

        No. That’s the GOP choice. Their policy. Their choice.

        • HandleB

          DACA isn’t their policy.

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