President-elect Donald Trump soared to the Republican nomination in large part because of his tough stance on illegal immigration. And while he has modified that stance away from his initial promise to deport nearly every illegal immigrant in the United States, his agenda may still be met with resistance…within his own party.
Several Republican senators are joining forces with Democrat Sen. Dick Durbin to pass legislation that would protect President Obama’s so-called “DREAMers” if Trump decides to scrap the 2012 executive order granting them immunity from deportation. Jeff Flake, Lindsey Graham, and Lisa Murkowski have decided that this should be one of the number one priorities for the Republican-controlled Congress.
Flake said they want to “ensure that children who were brought here by their parents, through no fault of their own, are able to stay and finish their education and continue to contribute to society.”
Trump has sent mixed messages about the 750,000 illegal immigrants under the protection of DACA, but he said recently that he would work out a deal that would make everyone happy. So not only are these Republicans leaping to “save” all of these poor immigrants, they’re doing so without any reason to believe they’re in danger. This is posturing, and it’s a sign that these three Republicans will be looking to make trouble for Trump over the next four years.
Trump may also be met with Republican resistance if he moves forward with his promise to build a wall across the Mexican border. Lawmakers like House Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul, House Speaker Paul Ryan, and Sen. John McCain are just a few Republicans who have tried to downplay expectations regarding one of Trump’s signature issues.
“I believe that we need to have significant improvements in border enforcement, but I believe the way that you do that is technology primarily,” McCain said last week.
The idea is that Republicans will fund virtual fencing and drones in an effort to beef up border security rather than approve the wall. Trump has indicated that he would accept fencing “in certain areas,” but he has never wavered from his vow to build a “big, beautiful wall.” If Republicans think they can pull a fast one – “Oh, this is just as good as a wall” – they may be in for a surprise.
We’re starting to get the sense that congressional Republicans believe that they can use Trump for their own agenda while ignoring the one he ran on. Their success down-ticket has blinded them to the message that was sent to them so clearly. Trump saved this party from their own impending catastrophe, but they seem determined to self-destruct.