Lindsey, Donald and the DREAMers
I posted yesterday about the bizarre statement from the Department of Homeland Security regarding the pending Immigration compromise which sounded as if it had been drafted in the Breitbart mens room. Apparently Lindsey Graham thought it was a little bit weird as well:
“Who the hell wrote this?”
It looks like Lindsey's in the dog house. And his influence on the immigration issue is over:
That’s how Sen. Lindsey Graham described his furious reaction to a Department of Homeland Security statement condemning a Senate immigration plan carefully crafted by Republicans and Democrats.
Graham has been working for months on writing a proposal that could win Senate approval. He’d spoken to President Donald Trump just days earlier, warning him, “I want to work with (you), but I'm not going to tolerate ... some of the things coming out of this White House.”
Once a Trump favorite, Graham found Thursday he was seen as an “obstacle” by at least some senior members of the administration.
The unprecedented crosstown rhetorical battle began in the morning, when DHS blasted out a press release saying a Senate Democrat-Republican agreement to protect 1.8 million undocumented immigrants from deportation “would effectively make the United States a Sanctuary Nation where ignoring the rule of law is encouraged.”
Graham fired back with his own statement saying he was “disappointed” with DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen for sanctioning the release.
At a news conference a few hours later, Graham later revealed the department screed was penned by a one-time press secretary to Tom Tancredo, who as a Colorado GOP congressman sought to derail comprehensive immigration overhaul legislation in the mid-2000s.
“You've got the two most extreme characters in town running the show,” Graham said of the former Tancredo aide and Stephen Miller, a senior White House adviser who has spent years as a congressional staffer fighting expansions of legal immigration.
By the early afternoon, a senior White House official was telling reporters on a phone briefing that Graham was a deterrent to landing a deal to codify the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which Trump will end on March 5 unless Congress extends it.
“If you look at the history of failed immigration reform bills, at some point you have to ask yourself the question whether Lindsey Graham’s involvement in drafting those bills means that instead of being the solution to the problem Lindsey Graham’s presence on those bills is the problem,” said the official, who later sniped, “I'm not aware when Lindsey Graham became the chair of the Democratic conference.”
The official would not put a name to the remarks.
“I don’t know who it is. All I can say is, they’re brave enough to be anonymous,” Graham said in response to the call. “So here’s what I can say: Stephen Miller is an outlier on immigration, he’s an extremist and the president who has turned the keys of the car over to him will never get anywhere.”
After Trump won the 2016 election in part by campaigning to deport millions of undocumented immigrants, conservative hardliners are questioning whether Graham is the right person to lead immigration talks on Capitol Hill, asking whether someone who is more in line with the president’s base should be running point — someone like Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark.
Cotton has spent the past month demeaning Graham’s participation in immigration negotiations.
“I think it’s embarrassing for a senator to punch down and attack a staffer,” Cotton told reporters. “It impugns the president for any senator to say a president is being led around by his staff.”
But the criticism lodged against Graham on Thursday from White House officials went beyond typical verbal sparring. And immediately after the exchanges, few fellow Republicans were eager to enter the fray to defend him.
White House legislative director Marc Short, at the Capitol for meetings with lawmakers, told reporters he “obviously” didn’t know who the unnamed official was. Short refused to comment on the remarks.
“I still feel like I’ve had a good relationship with Sen. Graham and appreciate the chance to work with him on lots of things. I don’t happen to agree with him on this particular issue but I’ve found he’s been a good help for me on a lot of issues,” Short said.
I'm sure Graham will find a way to help. He's already working the Christopher Steele angle with everything he's got. He'll be back on the golf course with his Dear Leader any day now.
Senators on both sides of the aisle agreed Graham had been an instrumental in trying to find an immigration compromise. As he headed to the Senate floor to take a procedural vote on the Republican-Democrat proposal that was ultimately doomed — it failed to advance, falling six votes short of the 60 needed — he said he wasn’t looking to sugarcoat the situation, or his position.
“I have no interest in lying to the American people about what’s going on at the White House,” Senator Mike Rounds said. “I’m a proud Republican who believes in more immigration, not less.”
Proud Trumpists, which includes the vast majority of the GOP today, want to deport as many Latinos, Muslims and Asians and members of African shithole countries as they can. Not to worry. They'll let "hard working" Norwegians in.
That is the official position of the Republican Party in 2018. Let's not kids ourselves. Any hope that "only Trump can go to Mexico" for the DREAM kids the way Nixon went to China was always a joke. He's a stone cold racist and most of his followers are too.
As the New York Times' David Leonhart wrote today:
[F]orget for a minute about what President Trump keeps saying about the Dreamers — that he cares about them — and focus on his actions: First, he went out of his way to cancel their legal protection from deportation, a cancellation scheduled to take effect in March. Then Trump rejected an emerging bipartisan deal to restore those protections. And this week he announced that he wouldn’t restore the protections unless Congress passed a long list of other fairly radical immigration changes, like a border wall and sharply reduced legal immigration.
The Plum Line’s Greg Sargent has put together a more detailed version of this timeline.
Vox’s Ezra Klein wrote: “Trump doesn’t want a fix for Dreamers but he does want a suite of unpopular changes that he’s holding Dreamers hostage to pass. This is his crisis, and he shouldn’t be allowed to confuse that.”
What can Democrats do? They are the minority party, and they can’t force Trump to change his policy, as I’ve argued before — frustrating as that may be. They also shouldn’t give into his demands for radical immigration changes and encourage more political hostage-taking. (Greisa Martinez Rosas, a prominent advocate for Dreamers, makes the same point in Sargent’s piece.)
In the end, the choice is Trump’s. Democrats and Dreamer advocates can lobby him and other Republicans, hoping to put political pressure on them, as happened on health care last year. But Trump will ultimately have a decision to make. Sometime in the next few weeks, he will have to decide whether he is really willing to allow federal law enforcement to begin deporting people from the country they call home.
I'm going to guess yes. But that's just because I have been closely observing this sociopath for the last couple of years and I see no evidence that he will ever do the right thing. Ever.
The best hope now lies with the courts. God help them.