The Democrats caved. They were ready to give Donald Trump his $25 billion ransom for his wall if he would free the 2 million or so Dreamers he was holding hostage.
You remember the wall. It was Trump’s big campaign issue. Sure, he insisted Mexico would pay for it, even though he knew that would never happen. Then he insisted that Democrats agree that rest of us suckers should pay for it. Whoever thought they’d go for that?
Personally, I was torn on this issue. If you truly want to make America great again, you don’t build a wall that symbolizes everything that America shouldn’t be. It would be a waste of money. It would be a use of medieval technology in a time of drones. What I mean is, tell me when the Chinese start building a new wall.
But. It’s only $25 billion — Republicans, these days, are willing to toss away a trillion to their rich buddies — and if that was the only deal you could get to put the DACA kids on the path to citizenship, well, a dreamer’s gotta do what a dreamer’s gotta do. I couldn’t decide.
But Trump solved the crisis of conscience by rejecting the wall. Somehow, it wasn’t enough. I have no idea why he didnt just take the $25 billion and declare victory. Instead, he also wanted to reduce legal immigration, cut back on so-called chain immigration (which is how my family came to America and probably yours did, too), get rid of diversity lottery picks from shithole (read: nonwhite) countries.
Trump didn’t come up with any of this, of course. Supposedly, his right-wing aide Stephen Miller did. It was all whispered in his ear as if all this could ever happen. In the Congressional vote, the Trump plan received only 39 votes — 21 fewer than it needed. And among those who voted against it were 13 GOP defectors. All the other plans failed, too, but thanks to Michael Bennet and Cory Gardner for coming up with a failed plan of their own.
The entire exercise was a joke, but not a funny one, particularly if you’re old enough to remember last month when Trump was meeting with lawmakers as the TV cameras rolled, and he said he would sign any bill that Congress sent him. Of course, at one point, he also said he favored a “clean” DACA bill. Instead we get the usual dirty politics, in which Trump is blaming the Democrats for the DACA failure.
I assume politics are at work here, but I can’t quite figure out the strategy. It’s hard to imagine that Republicans want the images of Dreamers being deported flashing on our TV screens in the run-up to the November midterms. More likely, some short-term fix will pass, or ICE will let the Dreamers quietly slip back into the shadows or Trump will blame it all on Obama.
In any case, with DACA sidelined, Congress can concentrate instead on refusing to consider any life-saving gun-safety legislation. Maybe we should ask Mexico to pay for a wall around our schools.