Recent events show that comprehensive reform will not happen

Two events of the past few days show that it will be practically impossible for comprehensive reform of immigration in this administration. The chief reasons are that (1) President Trump can inspire his base by executive branch action (such as the recent publicized raid on 7-11s) without Congressional involvement and (2) Congressional involvement will always require compromise with pro-immigration forces.

The Washington Posts’ article “Inside the tense, profane White House meeting on immigration” captures the practical impossibility of compromise.

According to the Post, Trump talked by phone with Democratic Senator Durbin, and assured in the call that Durbin and Republican Senator Graham were in agreement over a comprise for the DREAMERS, and invited them to the White House. This is what they experienced:

“But when they arrived at the Oval Office, the two senators were surprised to find that Trump was far from ready to finalize the agreement. He was “fired up” and surrounded by hard-line conservatives such as Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), who seemed confident that the president was now aligned with them, according to one person with knowledge of the meeting.

“Trump told the group he wasn’t interested in the terms of the bipartisan deal that Durbin and Graham had been putting together. And as he shrugged off suggestions from Durbin and others, the president called nations from Africa “shithole countries,” denigrated Haiti and grew angry. The meeting was short, tense and often dominated by loud cross-talk and swearing, according to Republicans and Democrats familiar with the meeting.

“Trump’s ping-ponging from dealmaking to feuding, from elation to fury, has come to define the contentious immigration talks between the White House and Congress, perplexing members of both parties as they navigate the president’s vulgarities, his combativeness and his willingness to suddenly change his position. The blowup has derailed those negotiations yet again and increased the possibility of a government shutdown over the fate of hundreds of thousands of young undocumented immigrants known as “dreamers.””

 

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