Democrats will only negotiate about immigration if they face continued pressure, White House chief of staff John Kelly admitted Tuesday.
“What makes them act is pressure,” Kelly told reporters in Congress.
Kelly’s promise of pressure is built on his disappointment that Democrats have spurned the President’s four-part office to amnesty at least 1.8 million illegals in exchange for three popular immigration reforms. Kelly said:
The president, shockingly, gave [amnesty to] 1.8 million, and then probably the biggest shock was in the [offer of a] path to citizenship. That is beyond what anyone could have imagined, whether you are on the right or the left. Then on top of that, kind of the third tier of that [framework offer], is that anyone, any of the family members based on the chain, the so-called chain or family unification, that anyone in the chain or in the pipeline, four million roughly, will be allowed to continued through the pipeline …
I can’t imagine men and women of good will, who begged this President to solve the problem of DACA, and as generous as the four pillars have been, I can’t imagine they would vote against it [in a Senate debate]. I mean this is more than they could have imagined.
He continued :
I would offer that if before the champions of DACA were members on one [Democratic] side of the aisle, I would say right now, the champion of all people that are DACA is Donald Trump. But you’d never write that.
President Donald Trump also expressed his frustration that Democrats have rejected his four-part offer, saying at a Tuesday event about the migration of MS-13 gangs into the United States via border loopholes that:
If we don’t get rid of these loopholes, where killers are allowed to come into our country and continue to kill … I’d love to see a shutdown if we don’t get this stuff taken care of … If we have to shut it down because the Democrats don’t want safety . . . then shut it down … without borders we don’t have a country.
In fact, Democrats and their allies in the media have already suggested that racism explains Trump’s decision to violate his campaign promise by announcing his four-part amnesty and immigration framework. On Sunday, February 4, for example, the Democrats’ second-ranking leader, Sen. Dick Durbin said:
Understand what they are proposing. They want to cut legal immigration into the United States of family members, some of whom who have waited 20 years or months to join up with their families here.
This is no longer about the security of the United States. It is not about competition for American jobs. It is an effort by them to make a different immigration policy in the future, one that envisions an America that is much different than it is today. This is not an acceptable premise.
The same claim of racial animus was pushed February 6 by the Washington Post, which posted an article saying Trump’s plan to wind down the chain migration program “would delay the date that white Americans become a minority of the population byas few as one or as many as five additional years.” The long article did not discuss the more immediate, direct and important impact on Americans’ wages, productivity or civic solidarity.
Democrats are now trying to recruit business-first Republicans to push through a no-strings amnesty that would include none of Trump’s priorities.
In his talk with reporters, Kelly tried to pressure Democrats towards a compromise by citing a supposed March 5 deadline after which roughly 1,000 of the roughly 680,000 remaining DACA work permits will expire every day. Kelly said the president is unlikely to agree with calls to extend the deadline, adding:
Mr. Obama established the program, and it was considered to be unconstitutional, not based on any law. So the extension, I’m not so sure the president, this president, has the authority to extend it.
But a California court decision in January has killed the March deadline, which was set when Trump ended the DACA amnesty in September. Following the judge’s order, officials have restarted renewing work-permits to the 690,000 migrants enrolled in President Barack Obama’s 2012 DACA amnesty. That decision has effectively moved the supposed March 5 deadline up to June when the Supreme Court is expected to accept or reject the California judge’s decision.
Kelly’s promise of more pressure comes as Congress’ 2018 budget is paralyzed by the Democrats’ counter-demand that the GOP legislators OK a no-strings amnesty for up to 3.25 million illegals in exchange for a large increase in defense spending.
The current temporary spending plan expires at midnight on Thursday. That “Continuing Resolution” deadline is forcing the GOP majorities in the House and Senate to prepare for passage of another temporary funding bill.
House leaders are preparing a Tuesday vote to pass a full 2018 budget with the defense increase, while GOP leaders are setting up their process for a vote on Thursday. But Senate Democrats can prevent the GOP reaching 60 votes, giving them more opportunities to pressure business-first Republicans to back a no-strings amnesty.
During the January government-shutdown, GOP Senate Majority leader Sen. Mitch McConnell used tough language to pressure the Democrats to retreat — but he also conditionally promised Democrats a floor debate on immigration proposals starting February 8. For example, McConnell said about Democratic Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer:
He’s insistent that he won’t support any legislation at all for the American people, no matter how noncontroversial or how bipartisan, unless we pass a bill on illegal immigration first … If that means shutting down the funding for veterans, military families, opioid treatment centers, and even federal grants to his home state of New York, so be it.
Since the shutdown, Democrats continue to quietly hold the 2018 defense budget hostage to get their amnesty, partly by masking it in demands about additional spending for non-defense programs or chatter about the economy.
Trump and other GOP leaders are trying pressure Democrats to compromise. That pressure, however, is very difficult to impose because the establishment media is almost entirely in the Democrats’ corner. For example, almost no media outlets reported that Democrats have rejected Trump’s four-part amnesty-and-immigration framework package.
Trump’s framework offers amnesty for at least 1.8 million illegals, in exchange for building a border wall, enacting border-law reforms, ending the visa lottery, and gradually winding-down the chain-migration program once all four million people in the pipeline are admitted to the United States over the next roughly 15 years.
Kelly and Trump appear to be trying to raise pressure on Democrats. Over the weekend, for example, Trump and Kelly staged a roundtable with homeland defense officials to highlight the need for legal reforms on the border. On Tuesday, he is expected to host another media event to show the danger of the MS-13 gang.
Trump is also using his Twitter account to slam the Democrats for refusing to compromise.
Polling shows nearly 7 in 10 Americans support an immigration reform package that includes DACA, fully secures the border, ends chain migration & cancels the visa lottery. If D’s oppose this deal, they aren’t serious about DACA-they just want open borders. https://t.co/XDMcDOr9vM
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 6, 2018
Trump is also citing the cost of the Democrats’ open-border policy, for example, the weekend death of footballer Edwin Jackson at the hands of a drunk illegal immigrant.
So disgraceful that a person illegally in our country killed @Colts linebacker Edwin Jackson. This is just one of many such preventable tragedies. We must get the Dems to get tough on the Border, and with illegal immigration, FAST!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 6, 2018
Trump’s pressure on the Democrats, however, is increasingly similar to a midterm election campaign. On February 1, for example, Trump told GOP legislators gathered at the Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia that “we have to get help from either side [to pass a bill in 2018] — or we have to elect many more Republicans.”
Electing more Republicans “is another way of doing it,” he said, prompting cheers. He continued:
Really, that is another way of doing it. And based on the [election related] numbers we just saw, we have a real chance of doing that … [Immigration] is now an election issue that will go to our benefit, not their benefit.
In contrast, business groups, Democrats, and the establishment media tout misleading, industry-funded “Nation of Immigrants” polls which pressure Americans to say they welcome migrants, including the roughly 3 million ‘dreamer’ illegals.
The alternative “priority or fairness” polls — plus the 2016 election — show that voters in the polling booth put a much higher priority on helping their families, neighbors, and fellow nationals get decent jobs in a high-tech, high-immigration, low-wage economy.