As Christine wrote last night, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) met President Trump for dinner, where a supposed deal on immigration was cut. Initially, the deal was that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which was enacted via executive order by the Obama White House, would be made law by an act of Congress. The tradeoff would be tougher border security measure, which did not include a wall. Yet, White House Press Secretary quickly tweeted that excluding the wall was not agreed to, though border security and DACA were the topics of discussion.
The executive order that created DACA has been in legal limbo, with many questioning its legality, citing separation of powers issues with the program. In short, it shields illegal aliens who entered the U.S. as minors from deportation if they meet certain requirements. If approved, they’re eligible for work permit and have to re-enroll into the program every two years. There are 800,000 illegal immigrant minors who benefit from DACA, which was always meant to serve as a stopgap measure.
Former President Obama tried to expand the program, but was blocked by the courts. The issue served as another critical item for Congress, as the Trump administration signaled it wouldn’t defend the unconstitutional order, while the Department of Homeland Security, which had already rescinded its memo that created the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) program, said that the only way for DACA to remain legally is through an act of Congress. Other than that, the choices were a national injunction on DACA, as 10 states threatened to sue if the program wasn’t nixed, or a gradual wind down. The latter approach was taken by the Trump White House, which said it would wind down DACA, but issue a six-month enforcement delay to afford Congress an opportunity to act.
Yet, one Republican congressman is warning that if this DACA deal is true, it could be the end of the Trump coalition. In fact, he said it would be destroyed. Fox News’s Chad Pergram said that Rep. Steve King (R-IA) not only said this, but that Trump’s base would be “disillusioned beyond repair.” In a letter to Democrats, Pergram said that Pelosi noted that they’re open to border security measures that do not include a wall, and that work on making the DREAM Act law could occur “in a matter of weeks.”
While some on the Right might be going nuts over this, we have to remind ourselves that Trump isn’t your run-of-the-mill Republican. He will do what he has to do to get his agenda moving, even if that means reaching out to Democrats. We should all sit on the fence for this ‘DACA deal kills Trump’s base’ theory. Voters are still giving him the benefit of the doubt, they like his business background, they like he’s an outsider shaking things up, and they approve of the way he’s handling the economy. Voters are actually okay with the fact that he’s reaching out to Democrats to move his agenda forward. As Ben Domenech noted on The Federalist when Trump struck a deal with Democrats on the debt ceiling, voters wanted Trumpism, any movement in the direction supportive of that is a plus:
The voters don’t want Ryanism or Cruzism or Kasichism or McConnellism. They want Trumpism – or at least what they think that is. GOP voters want leaders who mesh with Trump and his agenda because that reflects the mandate he won. They can’t stand the fact that their Congressional leaders are crosswise with the president. So it’s a dysfunctional relationship, because McConnell and Ryan are operating from a false perception that they are in charge. They’re not. Trump hasn’t yet cemented that fact in his own mind, but when he does, things will change – and this could be the first indication that they are changing.
Also, the vast majority of voters, including Trump voters, didn’t want DREAMers to de deported. Voters like that Trump is going across the aisle, but Pelosi and Schumer should give us pause. These are two bi-coastal Democrats from states that are arguably the most liberal in the country.
California and New York always try to out-progressive one another. You give a Democrat an inch and they’ll take several hundred miles. For Democrats, who have vilified Trump, why potentially work with him now? The base is demanding that Democrats just block and create havoc on the Hill for any action item this White House may have, so are they deciding that the whine faction of the Democratic Party—indivisible, the resistance, etc., can take a hike? This is the oddest of odd couples (or throuples), but if things get done—there could be little in the terms of blowback.