President Donald Trump suggested Thursday that the GOP could postpone his immigration-and-amnesty push, and instead pass a no-compromise immigration rewrite in 2019.
“We have to get help from either side [to pass a bill in 2018] — or we have to elect many more Republicans,” Trump told GOP legislators gathered at the Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia.
Electing more Republicans “is another way of doing it,” he said, prompting cheers. He continued:
Really, that is another way of doing it. And based on the [election related] numbers we just saw, we have a real chance of doing that … [Immigration] is now an election issue that will go to our benefit, not their benefit.
Trump said his four-part immigration and amnesty plan “includes reforms that are overwhelmingly popular with the voters, including Democrats … Americans want an immigration system that works for everybody.”
Trump’s suggestion is a 2018 threat to Democrats largely because Trump’s immigration priorities are far more popular than the Democrats’ pro-migrant, cheap-labor policies. By focussing the 2018 race on the nation’s current cheap-labor economic strategy, Trump could reanimate the blue-collar base that carried him to victory in 2016 and also trump the Democrats’ base of revenge-seeking liberals.
Trump’s suggestion of a delay also offers GOP legislators an escape from the amnesty debate, in which they are being pushed to vote for a very unpopular amnesty of at least 1.8 million Democratic-leaning ‘dreamer’ migrants. Unless Democrats suddenly relax their hardline opposition to reforms, the GOP legislators may quietly embrace Trump’s alternative strategy, and then stall and delay debate on the amnesty while pushing the issue into the November election.
A decision to punt the issue into November would also deny employers a flood of new immigrant workers. Without those imported workers, GOP legislators would benefit when employers raise wages for many American voters in the run-up to the November election.
But Trump’s threat of an immigration-election also shows that he wants to make a quick deal with the Democrats — if the Democrats can overcome their visceral opposition to Trump’s legal reforms and his border wall.
Also, Trump did not explicitly say he would take the immigration-and-amnesty issue to the voters in 2018 — even though the issue would likely be front-and-center in the election campaign.
In his speech to the GOP leaders, Trump complained that the Democrats are ignoring his four-part reform-and-amnesty plan.“We’re getting very little help from the Democrats, but I hope when I leave this room I get a call from these people saying ‘Let’s go,’” Trump told GOP legislators gathered at the Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia.
You know, they talk a good game. We have to get help from either side — or we have to elect many more Republicans. That is another way of doing it. [cheers)’ really, that is another way of doing it. And based on the [election related] numbers we just saw, we have a real chance of doing that.
You know ’18 is going to be very interesting. But we’ve got to do one or the other – either they’re going to have to come on board — because they talk a good game with DACA, but they don’t produce — … either they come on board or we’re just going to have to really work and we’re going to have to get more people so we can get the kind of numbers that we need to pass in a much easier fashion legislation [in 2019].
And to get it done [in 2018], we’ll all have to make some compromises along the way to get it done this way, Now to get it done the other way [in 2019], if we win more [seats], we don’t have to compromise so much, OK?
In his State of the Union address, Trump offered to back an amnesty for the 800,000 people who enrolled in the DACA quasi-amnesty, plus at least 1 million additional unidentified illegals who claim to have arrived as children before 2012.
In exchange, Trump asked $25 billion for his wall, plus legal reforms to fill up legal loopholes in border enforcement, plan an end to the visa lottery and to chain migration.
Ending the lottery and chain migration would trim legal immigration by roughly one-third each year, but only after 2027. The benefit for Americans is delayed because Trump’s offer also accepts all 4 million foreigners now on the chain-migration list.
Trump’s plan is sharply opposed by business groups which recognize that Americans’ wages will be nudged up if they cannot hire imported workers. Those business groups, including the Koch brother, have an outside influence because they provide a huge share of the party’s funding, and they are pressuring GOP legislators to actually increase the inflow of foreign workers.
The four-part Trump plan is also opposed by Democrats, who fear that the reforms will sharply cut the long-term inflow of government-dependent migrants. Also, Democrats simply do not want to publicly endorse Trump’s cuts and his border wall.
Aside from the amnesty, Trump’s pro-American immigration plans are very popularamong the public, including among African-Americans who are a core element of the Democrats’ current electoral base.
Business groups, Democrats and the establishment tout the misleading, industry-funded “Nation of Immigrants” polls which pressure Americans to say they welcome migrants, including the roughly 3 million ‘dreamer’ illegals.
The alternative “priority or fairness” polls — plus the 2016 election — show that voters in the polling booth put a much higher priority on helping their families, neighbors, and fellow nationals get decent jobs in a high-tech, high-immigration, low-wage economy.
According to the White House transcript, Trump said:
Nearly 7 in 10 Americans support an immigration reform package that includes a permanent solution on DACA. And I’ve been hearing about DACA for so many years. Some people call it DREAMers. It’s not DREAMers. Don’t fall into that trap. It’s just much different than DREAMers. And I said the other night, you know, we have dreamers too. We have dreamers in this country, too. You can’t forget our dreamers. I have a lot of dreamers here. (Applause.)
But DACA — we want to take care of DACA, and I hope we will. We need the support of the Democrats in order to do it, and they might not want to do it. They talk like they do, but I don’t think they do. But we’re going to find out very soon.
We want something that is very, very tough and strong, in terms of the border. We need to end chain migration, and we need to cancel the terrible visa lottery. (Applause.)
And those are the four pillars that I talked about the other night. We call them the White House framework — a plan that will finally bring our immigration system into the 21st Century.
The Republican position on immigration is the center, mainstream view of the American people, with some extra strength at the border and security at the border added in. What we’re asking for and what the American people are pleading for is sanity and common sense in our immigration system. We want immigration rules that protect our communities, defend our security, and admit people who will love our country and contribute to our society.
I know that the Senate is planning to bring an immigration bill on the floor, to the floor, in coming weeks. And I’m asking that the framework we submitted — with great flexibility, great flexibility, working with both parties — that something very positive will come out of it for our country, for everybody — for our country. And I think that can happen.
If the Democrats choose to filibuster a framework that includes a generous path to citizenship or something that is not fair, we are not going to approve it. We’re just not going to approve it.
So we’ll either have something that’s fair and equitable and good and secure, or we’re going to have nothing at all. And this has been going on for many years. It doesn’t make sense, however, to have nothing at all, because this is something that people want.
So we will be demonstrating that we are very, very serious. One of the reasons I gave a number that was, I thought, a very generous number was because I wanted to see whether or not they were interested in approving that. Because if they don’t approve something within that sphere, that means, very simply, that they’re not looking to approve it at all. They want to use it for an election issue, but it’s now an election issue that will go to our benefit, not their benefit.