While conservatives are nervous about just how little the president is willing to accept in exchange for a DACA bill, Democrats are having the exact opposite reaction on the other side of the aisle. According to a remarkable story in Politico, Democrat leaders are watching a potential mutiny unfold among the rank-and-file because they don’t want the party to give anything away in exchange for amnesty. Or, at least not anything substantial.
Many Democrats, particularly in the House, are horrified that their leaders would even agree to discuss issues beyond legal status for Dreamers and limited measures to curb illegal immigration. The concerns span multiple factions of the Democratic conference, and, combined with opposition from Republican immigration hard-liners, they could put passage of a DACA deal at risk.
“We’re willing to give a little when it comes to border security, but we’re not willing to give away the whole hog and farm,” said Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.), a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus who attended the meeting.
He and other Democrats in the opposition camp argue that wide-scale changes to family-based sponsorship laws and the visa lottery should be discussed only as part of a broader immigration deal.
“I believe we need to pass a ‘clean’ Dream Act,” Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) said. “If we’re going to talk about, you know, all these other factors, then let’s just talk about comprehensive immigration reform.”
You have to realize that these Democrats aren’t talking about something big like the wall, which remains completely off the table even as far as the leadership is concerned. No, they’re willing to add a few Border Patrol agents to the roster…and that’s about it. No cuts to legal immigration. No end to the diversity visa lottery. No crackdown on chain migration. Nothing. They’re essentially saying they won’t vote for anything that isn’t a clean DACA bill – or at least one that’s as clean as you could possibly get in a bipartisan bill.
Now, if we were just talking about Republicans, we would say the Democrats had a winning strategy on their hands because half the party is just as excited about giving the Dreamers amnesty as your basic Hispanic Caucus member. But is Trump really going to sign off on a bill that gets him jack squat as far as border security is concerned? No wall? None of these things he’s been talking about? We’d like to say the answer is, “No way in hell,” but we don’t like what we’ve been hearing lately.
Democrats don’t want to concede anything, which is about what we’d expect. But the big question is: Will they even have to?