Opinion | Morgan Liddick: President Trump’s magic trick
On Your Right
Now for a magic trick: President Trump is about to make Senator Chuck Schumer disappear.
Figuratively, of course.
If you start watching now, it’s too late. The setup started on Tuesday, Jan. 9, with the one-hour televised meeting between Trump and congressional leaders of both parties; the one that provoked so many contradictory reactions there was a question about how many different meetings there were. And the follow-up meeting with its Dick Durban disinformation campaign.
Both of these caused the radical left of the Democratic party to lean in hard on the question of what to do with those illegal residents participating in Barack Obama’s “Deferred Adjudication” program. “Do it now! Do it clean!” the cry went. “Make 800,000 illegal residents citizens now!” Nancy Pelosi and Senator Schumer were both in the vanguard of the assault, in full howl. And then …
The White House released proposals for a negotiated settlement to the immigration dilemma: a 10-12-year “path” to citizenship for 1.8 million illegal residents; $25 billion payment into a “trust fund” for construction of “wall systems” and other border security elements; specific limits to “chain migration;” elimination of the “diversity lottery” for visas in favor of merit-based admissions and systems to insure that when visitors’ visas expired, they would leave.
The squealing began immediately. House Minority Leader Pelosi called the entire proposal “racist,” a “plan to make America white again.” Which is absurd on its face; the president’s plan ultimately legalizes more than twice the number Democrat leadership told everyone they were so concerned about. In suggesting that abandonment of the “diversity” visa lottery is racist, Ms. Pelosi exposes which side is truly so: does she really believe that only white people will benefit from a concentration on merit? What does this show about her — and her Democrat colleagues’ — view of the abilities and merits of the world’s non-white populations? Nothing admirable, that is certain.
So now the Democrat leadership has painted itself into a corner, maneuvered there again by a president they persist in portraying as a bumbling fool. And we all get to watch them squirm as he starts the real process of finalizing the deal.
Nor will they be alone in their dismay and impotent fury. Already, certain elements of the “deport them all” faction of Republicans have weighed in. From Ann Coulter to Ted Cruz, they are nearly as vociferous in opposition as their opposite numbers. Understandably so: in the past they have watched repeatedly as Republicans have fallen for the promise of stronger borders in exchange for amnesty — with the latter coming first, of course. But when amnesty is given, the issue evaporates; border security is never addressed and, 20 years later, we have to do it all again.
This time, however, there is a difference that will actually make one: the novel “trust fund” approach to funding border wall systems and other security measures that President Trump proposes. Once the trust is funded, money cannot be rescinded; walls will be built, the border will become more secure and the possibility of yet another conversation about citizenship for illegal residents in the future will be far less probable. This approach funds construction while, not before, offering benefits — addressing the failing of previous efforts. It is an unorthdox approach, yes — but not without its charms. Or its ingenuity.
This is something that frightens and infuriates Democrats. Not only has the president exposed their trick, he has taken steps to deprive them of its use in future. Making borders more secure and illegal entry far more difficult deprives them of a reliable source of prospective constituents: people with low skills and few prospects who must, due to their illegal status, remain members of an easily-exploited underclass; easy pickings for demagogues.
Now Democrat leaders face a dilemma. If they accept the president’s gambit, they will inflame their relationship with the party’s large open-borders, unlimited-immigration wing. But rejecting it, as they seem inclined to do at present, will open them to the charge of indifference not only toward the “Dreamers,” to whom they had previously pledged their undying fealty, but to those American workers who a more targeted immigration policy might protect from the competition of workers here illegally, willing to work for less. It is a pretty problem, one bound to vex the party whichever way it goes. There will be problems for Republicans too, but they will not be so severe since the party has not formed the better part of its persona on the issue of legalizing those in the country illegally. Instead, they will eventually agree that, given the reforms and security improvements included, a final legalization is a price worth paying; a position most Americans will find a reasonable compromise.
This will be fun.
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