The Democratic Party is having an identity crisis. For the past couple of months, Democrats have loudly declared protecting so-called DREAMers — children who entered this country illegally when younger than 18 — is their top priority. President Trump has made it clear he will sign a bill that accomodates these young people, and many Republicans are willing and eager to put together a proposal that does just that. So why hasn’t the Democratic Party gotten it done? The answer is simple: they don’t actually care about DREAMers. Their fixation with these young people is political calculation.
On Thursday, not one, not two, but FOUR immigration reform proposals failed to pass the Senate after Trump made it clear he would not sign a bill unless it included funding for a border wall, end “chain migration,” and stopped the visa lottery system. Trump has been very vocal about what he will and won’t sign — it’s not like this is a secret. The leaders of the Democratic Party know what they will have to concede in order to create legal favors for these DREAMers, and they are simply unwilling to do it.
Immigration hardliner Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) told The Washington Post there was “broad agreement about how to solve this problem.” “But we won’t succeed unless the Democrats stop this incessant virtue-signaling and start negotiating in good faith,” he added.
Last week, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi held court with an eight-hour-long floor speech, during which she spoke out against a government spending bill that excluded accomodations for DREAMers. In meetings, Pelosi reportedly urged members of her party to “stick together” in their refusal to vote for the spending bill, which ultimately passed with the help of yes votes from 73 Democrats. After she failed to stop the bill from continuing to fund the government, she tried to walk back her eight-hour speech, telling reporters she was happy it passed.
“We had a great bill; we got everything,” she said, according to The New York Times. “Republicans gave away the store.”
This double-talk might seem contradictory, but this is a classic move from the party that purports to be all about the little guy.
“Democrats are very good at Spanish,” Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-Ill.) told MSNBC’s Chuck Todd last week. “One word: mañana — tomorrow. . . They talk about how they are there for immigrants, but when it counts and when it matters they usually put their party before their principles in terms of our immigrant community.”
I couldn’t have said it better myself. The truth is, they don’t want to actually fix our country’s broken immigration system. They want to keep our borders porous and to neuter Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) from doing its job and deporting those who overstay their visas or enter without one because Democrats want people to enter this country illegally. A porous border creates political pressure for amnesty. They also want to keep these people permanently disenfranchised — forever resigned to live in the shadows, wholly dependent on the mercy of the Democratic Party.
Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which is set to expire March 5 if Congress can’t agree on a compromise, defers the lawful consequence of deportation for politically appealing classes. It allows them to stay in the United States, get work permits, drivers licenses, and pay income tax for two years at a time. This program does not provide these 800,000 DACA recipients with a pathway to citizenship beyond the same processes all applicants already have to follow, nor was it ever intended to.
In short, DACA was never going to be a permanent solution for these DREAMers and was always subject to be altered or cut short at the whims of the person who occupies the Oval Office. The way the program is structured is a classic Democratic ploy — keep a group of people stuck in a bad situation as long as possible in order to use them as pawns in a larger game of identity politics.
Meanwhile, there are a lot of Americans whose top priorities are not to protect a group of illegal immigrants who are trapped in a sad situation being exploited by “Chuck and Nancy.” The Democratic Party is also ignoring existing U.S. citizens who care about the economy, jobs, and their pensions.
“If you’re going into a budget battle like this, you can’t go in with just a million Dreamers,” Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) said. “You need the retired coal miners, the retired Teamsters. You need the groups that support the community health clinics, the opiate coalition. They should have all been together.”
Will the Democratic Party suffer at the ballot box come November for honing in on a relatively small group of illegal immigrants? Will American voters see through Pelosi’s empty words and recognize the political game afoot? Or will the Democratic Party’s message of “Vote for us because we definitely won’t murder you” going to work once again? Only time will tell.