Wednesday :: Sep 6, 2017

Turning DACA Into a Democratic Victory

by Steve

Trump’s move yesterday to disrupt the lives of nearly a million people with his DACA decision doesn’t have to end up badly. I would argue that with the news today that Trump stiffed the congressional GOP leadership to cut a deal with Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi this morning on temporary government funding, a debt ceiling increase, and Hurricane Harvey funding points to a roadmap in the months ahead, if the Democrats and Trump are agile enough to grab it.

First, it’s clear that Trump’s move yesterday was designed to get leverage for funding the border wall, as evidenced by the White House statement that Trump wants a broader deal and not just a single-issue DACA fix. Instead of fighting the White House on this linkage, Schumer and Pelosi should see them on that bet, and then raise them with linkage to a full immigration reform measure next year. The GOP will want immigration to be changed from a “come one, come all” program to one based on economic value to the country, as Senator Tom Cotton proposed in the New York Times months ago. And although it may be distasteful for House and Senate Democrats to go along with border wall funding and a visa program that prioritizes needed skills and labor, they can negotiate changes that continue an open door for refugees with all others to follow the process and get in line.

If Pelosi and Schumer pivot and signal to the White House that a grand deal is possible that would give Trump the one thing he promised his base (the wall) in exchange for full administration support for the 2013 immigration reform package (which included the DACA fix) authored by the Gang of Eight senators, it creates a situation where the White House would be pushing something through the Senate that will destroy the House GOP caucus upon its arrival. Even if Schumer and McConnell get over 60 votes for a package that includes DACA, the Tom Cotton changes that the conservatives want coupled with “refugee protection” language Democrats would want, and a guarantee that the cost of the wall will not be paid for through cuts to discretionary programs or entitlements, Paul Ryan could never get that package through his caucus in an election year (or any other year) without splintering the House GOP. He would not only lose his speakership and put the House GOP on full display as a useless body just months before the midterms, but Trump would be able to argue that he needs the Democrats to deliver to his base what he promised, thereby cementing into place the final rupture that would lead to a Democratic recapturing of the House in 2018.

I realize such a formulation is distasteful on many levels for progressives, but frankly a down payment on a border wall that may never be built and immigration changes that factor in economic harm to Main Street are a worthy price to pay for full immigration reform and the implosion of the Republican Party months before the 2018 midterms.

Steve :: 2:26 PM :: Comments (0) :: TrackBack (0) :: Digg It!