Trump Defeats His Own Call For Immigration Bill

Ken AshfordImmigration and Xenophobia, Trump & AdministrationLeave a Comment

Trump’s tweets today come as House Republicans have been struggling to wrangle support for a comprehensive immigration bill. Yesterday, Republicans decided to postpone a vote on it for the second time in less than a day. Senate and House leaders have also been trying to find a bill that would end family separations at the border.

South Carolina Republican Rep. Mark Sanford said Trump’s tweets amounted to “game over” for any immigration bill being considered. “It takes the wind out of the sails in what might have been a fairly productive week in terms of looking for a compromise,” Sanford told CNN’s Alisyn Camerota on “New Day.”

Immediately following Trump’s tweets above, he launched three tweets supporting certain governor races.  All this shows that Trump seems to moving into campaign mode.  He realizes the election this year is about him, his agenda, and the scandals surrounding him.

Unfortunately, his tweet hurt Republicans who are running, as Chris Ciillizza notes:

Imagine you are a conservative Republican resistant to the “compromise” bill because it provides a path to citizenship for DACA recipients. You now have every reason in the world not to come to the table and take a tough vote. The President literally said there was no point!

The question before Ryan and the rest of his leadership team is whether there’s even any merit in trying to push for a vote on the compromise bill next week — or even if it’s worth making some of the changes on things like E-verify that their members expressed a desire for over the past 48 hours.

The problem with pushing for a vote on a bill that’s doomed is you put your members in a very difficult place. Please vote for this legislation — that includes $25 billion to fund Trump’s border wall — even though it has zero chance of passing in the Senate and the President is on record as saying the fight is pointless.

On the other hand, moderates — and many members in swing districts — within the conference want to be able to vote on something regarding DACA before November so that they can go back to their constituents and say they are working hard to address the immigration problem.

The immigration discharge petition — a legislative end-around organized by moderates and members with seats with high Hispanic populations — was the vehicle for that vote, but Ryan, fearing an open debate and votes on immigration that favored a bipartisan bill, sought to cut it off at the pass with his compromise bill. And now that the legislation that the discharge petition was attached to — a more conservative immigration bill that failed the House on Thursday — is dead, a new discharge petition would have to be started and all the signatures would have to be gathered again. And Democrats would make Republicans prove they can put up enough signatures this time before they sign on.

All of which means that what Trump did Friday morning effectively ends the immigration debate in Congress until the fall. And raises the stakes on the already hugely important showdown over the budget — and whether Trump will get the full funding he wants for the border wall. “We come up again on September 28, and if we don’t get border security, we’ll have no choice,” Trump said in April of the coming fall fight. “We’ll close down the country because we need border security.”

About half an hour ago, he returned to tweeting about immigration (doesn’t he have a JOB to do?), including this one:

“Phony stories”?

Despite Trump’s executive order ending family separation, the immigration problem remains the number one story. There have been many developements

  • Border Patrol will stop sending parents illegally crossing into the U.S. with children to federal courthouses for prosecution because ICE lacks the detention capacity needed. Solo adults who cross illegally will continue to face misdemeanor charges under the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy. (Washington Post)
  • The Trump administration has not provided a plan to reunite at least 2,300 undocumented children with their families. The executive order Trump signed yesterday temporarily stopped his policy of separating children from their parents at the border, but does not address the uniting of families already separated. Instead, existing policies put the onus on parents to find their children in Department of Health and Human Services custody. In a letter to Trump, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said: “It seems that the administration lacks a plan, intention, and a sense of urgency to begin reuniting these children.” (CNN / Politico / Los Angeles Times)
  • Immigrants as young as 14 years old who are being housed at a detention center in Virginia say they were beaten while in handcuffs, stripped nude, and placed in cold solitary confinement cells for extended periods of time. The abuse claims are detailed in federal court filings, which include allegations from multiple detainees that guards stripped them of their clothes, strapped them to chairs, and placed bags over their heads. (Associated Press)
  • The Defense Department sent 21 military lawyers to Arizona, Texas and New Mexico to help prosecute illegal immigration cases. Lawyers will be given basic training in immigration law and federal criminal procedure in order to help the current federal prosecutors. (NBC News)
  • The Defense Department will house up to 20,000 unaccompanied migrant children on military bases starting “as early as July through December 31, 2018.” (Washington Post)
  • The House voted down its conservative immigration bill and then postponed a vote on a Republican compromise measure. Trump repeated his call to eliminate the filibuster, telling Republicans that “it is killing you!” and that Senate Democrats “are only looking to obstruct,” because they think it “is good for them” in the midterm elections.