On Saturday, Donald Trump once again attempted to coerce Democrats into giving him money for what many have characterized as a “vanity wall” along the southern border — a campaign promise he’s already failed to live up to, as it has not been funded by Mexico, nor are there any provisions or plans in place for Mexico to pay for it.
In the much-hyped announcement, which drew immediate speculation as to whether it might be the declaration of a “national emergency,” Trump offered concessions on immigration that fall far short of anything that could possibly bring Democrats to the table, especially considering their position during all of the now month-long shutdown has been for the President to reopen the government and then engage in talks about immigration.
Trump, of course, cannot declare a national emergency unless he wants to set a precedent for future Presidents to be able to use the same tactic in order to divert funds intended for something else and instead use them to combat climate change, provide universal health coverage, make college tuition-free, or any number of other campaign promises that they have been unable to achieve in a deadlocked Congress.
But Trump’s proposal falls almost laughably short of a workable arrangement: Based on the BRIDGE Act, which allows for short-term work authorization with no path to citizenship, it is a far cry from talks of DACA or the DREAM Act.
In fact, prior to Trump’s announcement, a senior House Democratic aide had already told CNN:
Democrats were not consulted on this proposal. Similar inadequate offers from the Administration were already rejected by Democrats. The BRIDGE Act does not fully protect Dreamers and is not a permanent solution. This is not a compromise as it includes the same wasteful, ineffective $5.7 billion wall demand that shut down the government in the first place. This cannot pass the House or Senate. The President must agree to re-open government and join Democrats to negotiate on border security measures that work and not an expensive and ineffective wall that the President promised Mexico would pay for.”
Calling our immigration system a “source of shame,” Trump said he was here to “break the logjam.”
His proposal included $800 million in “urgent humanitarian assistance,” $800 million in “drug security protocols,” 250,000 new border agents, 75 new judge teams, and a “new system to allow Central American minors to apply for asylum” in their home countries.
Trump did not relent on his demand for $5.7 billion for a wall, including 230 new miles of wall this year. In return, he offered 3 years protection for DACA recipients and a 3-year extension of temporary protected status for other immigrants here whose protected status is set to expire.
According to the President, Mitch McConnell will bring the bill to the floor of the Senate this week for a vote — which will surely strain his credibility after claiming he would not bring “any” bill that would not move forward, as this one will not.
Featured image via screen capture