DACA, NAFTA and a Caravan ... Oh My
With more than a thousand people headed through Mexico for the U.S. border, what next?
President Donald Trump signaled over the weekend that a deal with Democrats on DACA is now off the table. The Democrats have rejected all of the numerous offers to create a legislative fix to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program since Trump ended the program last fall. Trump also fired shots across the bow of Mexico over NAFTA. Part of Trump’s impetus was the reported caravan of 1,000-1,500 people in Mexico aiming to illegally cross the U.S. border. While these people would not be DACA eligible, the Leftmedia is happy to use the caravan as an opportunity to profile the plight of this group and to promote how terrible Trump and Republicans are for not taking these people in. Trump got out in front of it.
When Trump ended Barack Obama’s unconstitutional order to create the DACA program, he gave Congress six months to come up with a permanent legislative fix. During that time, Trump signaled a willingness to end deportations, extend citizenship to the so-called “Dreamers,” and offer amnesty to close to two million illegal immigrants. In return, he wanted an end to the visa lottery and chain migration, which the Left now claims is a racist term, and money set aside to start building the wall. And even that was up for negotiation, as the president appeared willing to break out the $25 billion tab for the wall over three years.
Democrats refused everything put in front of them. They sought neither compromise nor any alternatives. The reason for this is simple: Democrats don’t want a solution to DACA. They want to keep the issue alive for the midterms because they believe it will drive support among Latino voters and they can use it as a cudgel against the Republicans by claiming the GOP doesn’t care about immigrants. Democrats will claim Republicans are using immigration as a political wedge issue, even though that is precisely what Democrats are doing.
Where to from here now that DACA is dead? (Well, maybe not technically dead. A federal judge recently ruled that Trump doesn’t have the authority to end the program by executive order, even though the program was created by executive order by his predecessor. Stay tuned on that one.)
Trump suggested that Senate Republicans go nuclear — end the filibuster even on legislation — and pass tough immigration legislation on their own. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said he will not end the filibuster. Such a move would surely come back to haunt the Republicans later since they won’t be in the majority forever.
Now, to Trump’s threats to dump NAFTA if Mexico doesn’t help stem the flow of illegal immigrants and drugs into the U.S. He referred specifically to a caravan of anywhere from 1,000 to 1,500 people currently making their way through Mexico from Honduras headed for the U.S. border. Mexican authorities had been turning a blind eye to this group, allowing them free passage through their country. The caravan reportedly plans to cross the U.S. border this weekend by any means necessary, then demand asylum or just blend into the masses once they arrive. However, Trump’s threat might have worked — the Mexican government appears poised to break up the group.
Of course, Trump has threatened to dump NAFTA before, but, as negotiations to revamp the deal continue, he can still pull the plug. Mexico stands to lose big if that happens; it sends close to three quarters of all its exports to the U.S. And whether Trump will make good on his most recent call to end NAFTA is uncertain. He’s very likely posturing for a better deal by going for the extreme position, forcing Mexico to come further his way than it otherwise would. Again, that might already be working.
Either way, if there is going to be any true immigration reform, then Republicans are going to have to do it themselves just like with the tax cuts. Democrats can’t be counted on to do the right thing here. In fact, they can’t be counted on to do anything.