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Opinion: Immigration ‘compromise’ is just a trick

— The White House’s immigration plan is not a “compromise.” It’s not a “generous” deal for Democrats, and it’s not full of “concessions.” It’s a sleight of hand designed to help the far right shove through sharp new limits on legal immigration, under the pretense of moderation and reasonableness.

Supposedly this immigration framework includes “concessions” to Democrats because it involves protections for “Dreamers,” the young undocumented immigrants who were brought into the United States as children.

But here’s the thing: Nearly everyone, Democrat and Republican, wants to protect Dreamers.

President Trump included.

“I love these kids,” he said last February about beneficiaries of the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which offered protections for Dreamers who have no criminal record and are in school, have a high school diploma or have served in the military. At the same news conference, he pledged to deal with the issue with “great heart.”

In another interview last year, he said Dreamers “shouldn’t be very worried,” because he has a “big heart” that dictates, “We’re going to take care of everybody.”

Trump’s big-hearted love-fest for Dreamers continued even after, in September, he unilaterally put an expiration date on the DACA provisions that allowed them to remain legally in the only country they know.

“Does anybody really want to throw out good, educated and accomplished young people who have jobs, some serving in the military? Really!” he tweeted.

Indeed, who does want to throw out these good, educated, accomplished people? The answer: almost no one.

Nearly every survey has found that the overwhelming majority of not just Americans overall, but Republicans specifically, support helping these immigrants. A Washington Post/ABC News poll this month found that 87 percent of Americans, and 76 percent of Republicans, think Dreamers should be allowed to stay.

A September Fox News poll likewise found that 79 percent of Americans and 63 percent of Trump voters believe undocumented immigrants brought here as children should be granted citizenship. That’s right — not just legal status but the opportunity to be Americans.

Maybe we shouldn’t be so surprised, then, that Trump last week proposed a path to citizenship for these young people, despite all the gasping media coverage. This is not a radical policy. It’s mainstream and popular.

Yet somehow Trump and his fellow Republicans pretend that any offer to protect Dreamers is a painful giveaway, for which Democratic leadership should grovel in gratitude.

In a call with allies last week, White House adviser Stephen Miller reportedly described the overall framework as “a compromised position” of which the Dreamers provision is “the most substantial concession” from the White House to Democrats. Similar language was used in a background briefing with reporters, in which an unnamed White House official referred to the plan as “extremely generous.”

This spin seems to be working.

On the Sunday shows this past weekend, Trump surrogates and journalists alike bewilderingly characterized the Trump immigration proposal as a “compromise.” This despite the fact that the Trump framework packages protection for Dreamers — something both sides demand — with stuff only the right demands, such as border wall funding, curbs to family-sponsored visas and an end to the diversity visa lottery.

Far be it from me to critique the dealmaking know-how of our Dealmaker in Chief, but this White House seems to misunderstand how compromises and concessions work. If you give me something that only I want in exchange for my giving you something we both want, I haven’t actually made any concessions. I’ve merely gotten everything I wanted.

It’s not a quid pro quo; it’s just quid.

No wonder anti-immigration hard-liner Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., agrees that Trump’s proposal is “generous.”

All of which is to say that Trump’s threats to deport Dreamers unless he gets everything else don’t seem to be in terribly good faith. He’s pointing a gun to his own head, a bit like that scene in “Blazing Saddles” where Sheriff Bart pretends to hold himself hostage.

So what would a good-faith compromise look like?

One possibility would be to focus only on the stuff that both sides want (i.e., protection for Dreamers) or at least don’t abhor (such as funding for border projects), and leave out the more inflammatory provisions, unless and until there are symmetric concessions from both sides. In other words: something like the plan that Sens. Lindsey O. Graham, R-S.C., and Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill., have been working on, and that Trump blew up at the infamous “shithole” meeting.

Either Trump wants to protect Dreamers or he doesn’t. Talking out of both sides of his mouth won’t cut it.

— Catherine Rampell is a columnist for Washington Post Writers Group.

Comments

Bob Summers

There are too many people in America now destroying the environment.

Why do Liberals want more people in the country?

Liberals ideology is unsustainable. Their reasoning destroys the livability of ANY society.

3 months, 3 weeks ago

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Steve King

The Conserative Condition in black and white:

Owsely County Kentucky. Highest food stamp use in the nation. 99% White. 95% Conservative Republicans.

95% of the poorest counties are Republican. 8 of the 10 poorest states are Republican. Red states take more from the Federal Government than they pay in.

86% of the nation supports the Dreamers. Trump dangles citizenship because he wants $25 Billion in tax dollars to build his wall. Knowing he won't get it. Bluster.

So who's going to pay for the Wall? Trump is asking for $25 billion from...us.

I thought Mexico was paying for the Wall. I've heard no plan how that happens. Guess he lied huh?

3 months, 3 weeks ago

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Gary Stussie

"Either Trump wants to protect Dreamers or he doesn’t."

President Trump want Immigration Reform ... and, unlike the last 5 Presidents, he will get it!

The writer, and the rest of the Democrats, expressing such concern for the "Dreamers" seem to forget that Obama PROMISED immigration reform. Obama’s party controlled the House, and Democrats had a 60-vote filibuster-proof Senate majority. If Obama really wanted to pass either the Dream Act or comprehensive immigration reform, Republicans were powerless to stop him. But he didn’t do it.

Of course, Obama was not alone in failing to act. Who was in charge of the issue on Capitol Hill? On the Senate side, none other than Schumer (D-N.Y.). In 2009, Schumer succeeded Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) as chairman of the Senate Judiciary subcommittee on immigration. In that role, the New York Times reported, “Mr. Schumer would take the point in pushing for passage of a new bill.” But Schumer didn’t push. (That's the same Ed Kennedy who had us all in tears with his Democratic response to the SOTU).

Neither did Pelosi (D-Calif.), who was speaker of the House at the time and had the power to bring immigration legislation to the floor at will. And Obama also did not push because, according to the Times, the president “does not intend to get out in front of any proposal until there is a strong bipartisan commitment to pass it.” Funny, he did not wait for a “strong bipartisan commitment” before pushing ObamaCare. But apparently immigration and the Dreamers were not a priority.

President Trump will solve the problem ... he has given Congress a firm timeline (which they hate) and will come up with a package that breaks the SURGE/AMNESTY cycle that has destroyed California and is adversely impacting the entire U.S.

3 months, 3 weeks ago

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Bob Summers

Why do Liberal people give sanctuary to criminals?

http://www2.ljworld.com/users/photos/...

3 months, 2 weeks ago

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