Smarting from the pummeling he took from the Democratic base over his surrender to Republicans on the funding bill, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is apparently in no mood to compromise with the White House on immigration.
Schumer angrily rejected Donald Trump’s proposal for a path to citizenship to be created for 1.8 million DREAMers in exchange for a big increase in spending on border security, as well as an end to “chain migration” and the visa lottery.
“This plan flies in the face of what most Americans believe,” Schumer said on Twitter. While Trump “finally acknowledged that the Dreamers should be allowed to stay here and become citizens, he uses them as a tool to tear apart our legal immigration system and adopt the wish list that anti-immigration hard-liners have advocated for for years.”
The one-page proposal released by the White House on Thursday would allow as many as 1.8 million young immigrants to become citizens, while also calling for $25 billion in spending on a border wall and security as well as sharply restricting family-based immigration and eliminating a visa lottery system. White House officials are hoping the Senate will put it up for a vote, but it appears doomed to fail.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders quickly shot back, tweeting that Schumer prefers “open borders & sanctuary cities over law & order and popular, common sense reforms.”
Soon after, Trump himself piled on with a personal insult aimed at Schumer.
“DACA has been made increasingly difficult by the fact that Cryin’ Chuck Schumer took such a beating over the shutdown that he is unable to act on immigration!” Trump tweeted.
That’s the truth of it. Schumer and other Democratic leaders in Washington are shell-shocked over the savage response to their giving in to the GOP on the spending bill without getting a deal on DACA in return. Name-calling, threats of being primaried, and harsh words from supposed friends have severely impacted the leadership.
But even Schumer has to see that Trump’s play for DREAMers was only the opening gambit in immigration negotiations. The meat of Trump’s proposal is in securing funding for the wall, tightening restrictions on chain migration, and ending the visa lottery. Trump will eventually have to give Democrats something on DREAMers to get that, but it most assuredly won’t be a path to citizenship for nearly two million illegals.
Indeed, Schumer has maneuvered himself into a corner. In order to get deportation relief for DREAMers, he and the Democrats are going to have to swallow hard and accept funding for the border wall. This, after promising their base they would never vote a dime for it.
Trump has now successfully linked the DREAMers to critical reforms in immigration policy that Democrats oppose. Does Schumer dare risk disappointing the DREAMers and enraging the base by refusing to compromise?