Alexander's Column

The Border Barrier Standoff: What Do Latinos and Hispanics Think?

Predictably, Nancy Pelosi rebuffed Donald Trump's offer of a DACA/wall compromise.

Mark Alexander · Jan. 21, 2019

Donald Trump upped the ante Saturday in the poker standoff with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her gang of Democrat obstructionists.

In my analysis on the partial government shutdown showdown over the border three weeks ago, I predicted that Trump would seek “some concession from Democrats by using Barack Obama’s illegal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) deceit as a bargaining chip. That could come by offering green cards to the children of illegal immigrants already in the U.S., but not a path to citizenship.”

In exchange for the $5.7 billion he has requested for border security (which provides a physical barrier on less than 20% of the border), Trump formally put that DACA offer on the table, offering a three-year extension of protections for 700,000 immigrants who entered the U.S. illegally as children and were protected from deportation under Obama’s DACA political charades. He also included an extension of protection for 300,000 aliens who have been granted Temporary Protected Status — those who can’t safely return to their home countries. Again, no amnesty and no fast-track to citizenship.

Trump is also requesting 2,750 new Border Patrol agents and 75 new immigration judges, $805 million for drug interdiction efforts at ports of entry and $800 million in humanitarian assistance at the border.

Endeavoring to corner Democrats, Trump noted, “Our immigration system should be a source of pride, not a source of shame as it is all over the world. … If we are successful in this effort, we will have the best chance in a long time at real, bipartisan immigration reform. And it won’t stop here; it will keep going until we do it all.”

Amid some protests from Republicans, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Trump had offered a “bold solution,” adding, “Compromise in divided government means that everyone can’t get everything they want every time. The President’s proposal reflects that. It strikes a fair compromise by incorporating priorities from both sides of the aisle.”

Predictably, Pelosi rebuffed the offer, noting, “It is unlikely that any one of these provisions alone would pass the House, and taken together, they are a non-starter.” She then, in effect, provided a counteroffer, saying, “For one thing, this proposal does not include the permanent solution for the Dreamers and TPS recipients that our country needs and supports.” House Democrats plan to pass six bills to reopen government operations this week, which Pelosi insists Trump must sign before any further debate: “I am ready to sit down at any time after the government is opened and work to resolve all outstanding issues.”

Notably, even The Washington Post suggested Pelosi erred: “To refuse even to talk until the government reopens does no favors to sidelined federal workers and contractors. … A measure of statesmanship for a member of Congress now is the ability to accept some disappointments, and shrug off the inevitable attacks from purists, if it means rescuing the lives of thousands of deserving people living among us.”

According to Pew Research, the standoff has created the sharpest partisan divide on record. According to the survey, 88% of border-wall opponents “say it would not be acceptable to pass a bill that includes Trump’s request for wall funding, if that is the only way to end the shutdown,” while 72% of border-security supporters “say a bill to end the shutdown would be unacceptable if it does not include Trump’s funding request.”

But there is another poll from a reputable source that caught my attention last week. An NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll found that Hispanic and Latino approval of Trump surged 19 points in just one month and is now at 50%.

This finding seems counterintuitive. But Democrats, who are in effect advocating for open borders, hoping to appease their Hispanic and Latino constituencies while creating a future-voter pipeline, have run into a problem. A growing number of those constituents don’t want the deflationary job and wage competition from more illegals flooding in from Mexico and Central America. In December, the employment rate for Hispanics and Latinos fell to a record low. Democrats say they support a “living wage” but then advocate, in effect, an open border, which ensures that millions of working men and women will never break free of the minimum wage.

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