Trump promises to 'take the heat' to sign DREAMer 'Bill of Love'

At a meeting to negotiate immigration issues, President Trump made it clear that he agrees with Lindsey Graham and is willing to grant citizenship to "DREAMers."

President Trump on Tuesday appeared open to negotiating a sweeping immigration deal that would eventually grant millions of undocumented immigrants [sic; should be "illegal aliens" –ed.] a pathway to citizenship, declaring that he was willing to "take the heat" politically for an approach that seemed to flatly contradict the anti-immigration stance that charged his political rise.

Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, floated the idea of a broader immigration deal during the meeting in the White House Cabinet Room on Tuesday, making clear that it would have to include a pathway to citizenship for [illegal aliens] already in the country.

Mr. Trump replied: "If you want to take it that further step, I'll take the heat.  I will take all the heat.  You are not that far away from comprehensive immigration reform."

President Trump promised to fight conservatives who object to amnesty:

Mr. Trump's call for a comprehensive solution came just after Mr. Graham had said he was a proponent of "a pathway to citizenship for 11 million people," and then predicted "a drumbeat" of vitriol against such an approach.  "Right-wing radio and talk show hosts are going to beat the crap out of us," he said[.]  "It's going to be 'amnesty' all over again."

Mr. Trump seemed almost to relish such a fight.

"My whole life has been heat," he shrugged.  "I like heat, in a certain way."

While President Trump wants border security, he is flexible on what that means:

The president said he would insist on strict new immigration limits as part of any such measure, although he seemed to concede that his call for a "wall" might not entail the kind of physical barriers that many Democrats have viewed as a nonstarter.

As Politico reported:

[H]e responded warmly to California Democratic [s]en. Dianne Feinstein's suggestion that he support a "clean" bill on DACA – that is, one without any funding for the border wall Trump has promised since the campaign.  "I have no problem," Trump said.  "I think a lot of people would like to see that."

Trump promised to sign whatever Congress passes, regardless of whether or not it contains funding for a border wall.

Even by the end of the meeting, Trump seemed to indicate that the border wall isn't necessarily a must-have for him – becoming just the latest iteration in a dizzying series of back-and-forths on what he wants in a DACA deal.

"I think my positions are going to be what the people in this room come up with," Trump said.  He added: "I'm not going to say, 'Oh, gee, I want this,' or 'I want that.'  I will be signing it."

Trump calls the bill giving amnesty to "DREAMers" a "Bill of Love," much as Jeb Bush called illegal immigration an "act of love".

After President Donald Trump referred to a potential DACA deal bill as a "bill of love" in a bipartisan White House meeting, Trump's 2016 presidential opponent and former Florida [g]overnor Jeb Bush tweeted support for Trump's immigration discussions, [writing on Twitter,] "Encouraged the [p]resident is seeking bipartisan solutions to our immigration challenges"

Several things are clear:

1) We don't know what the final scope of the deal will be, but President Trump has clearly said he wants to give amnesty to "DREAMers" and will sign whatever Congress passes, whether he gets a border wall or not.

2) There are enough votes in the House and Senate among Democrats and, yes, liberal Republicans to grant amnesty to "DREAMers."

3) Trump saying he will sign "whatever they pass" gives up all his leverage in negotiations.

4) Trump was obviously not at all truthful as a candidate regarding his positions on immigration.

Remember when he ridiculed Jeb Bush's "act of love" phrase?  Now he's using the same language and is being praised by Jeb Bush for it.

Remember when candidate Trump promised that Mexico would pay for the border wall?  Now Trump says he can't build the border wall until Congress appropriates money for it.  Why does Congress need to do so when Mexico will be paying for it?

Remember when candidate Trump said illegals would have to go back to their countries of origin and reapply to enter America?

For those here illegally today, who are seeking legal status, they will have one route and one route only: to return home and apply for re-entry like everybody else, under the rules of the new legal immigration system that I have outlined above. 

President Trump is now talking about giving a blanket amnesty without any such requirement.

Candidate Trump talked about ending birthright citizenship and imposing mandatory E-Verify for employers.

In an August 2015 interview with CNN's Chris Cuomo, Trump affirmed his position to eliminate birthright citizenship for children born in the United States to parents living here illegally

President Trump never mentions either topic now.

It was comical watching the press conference where Trump eagerly agreed to Dianne "Frankenfeinstein's" proposal for a "clean DACA" bill, only to be pulled back by House majority leader Kevin McCarthy, who also wants amnesty but wants a fig leaf of "border security measures" to go with it.  It became clear, at that moment, that on immigration, Trump is to the left of the establishment Republicans in Congress, who want to give DACA amnesty but are smart enough to demand some face-saving non-substantive concession in return for it, like hiring some more border guards or repairing a few miles of existing fence.

Questions for discussion:

1) If President Trump had run for president promising to give amnesty to "DREAMers," would you still have supported him?

2) What kind of leadership does President Trump show when he says he will sign whatever Congress passes without knowing in advance what it will be?

3) Liberal author Michael Wolff claimed that President Trump is disengaged from policymaking.  Do statements from the president like "I think my positions are going to be what the people in this room come up with" tend to support or discredit such a view?

Ed Straker is the senior writer at