Trump ups the ante on immigration deal to avoid shutdown

Donald Trump has drawn a line in the sand on deal to keep the government operating past January 19.  Democrats are demanding that Trump address the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program, which would legalize hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens.  They say they won't vote to fund the government past the January 19 deadline unless DACA provisions are included.

Trump has upped the ante by making funding the border wall part of the deal, as well as the elimination of "chain migration" and the visa lottery.  Trump is making the Democrats pay a heavy price for DACA by tying his approval to the continuing resolution to fund the government.


"The Democrats have been told, and fully understand, that there can be no DACA without the desperately needed WALL at the Southern Border and an END to the horrible Chain Migration & ridiculous Lottery System of Immigration etc," the president wrote on Friday.  "We must protect our Country at all cost!"  On Tuesday he added, "Democrats are doing nothing for DACA – just interested in politics."

Two top White House officials, [b]udget [d]irector Mick Mulvaney and [l]egislative [d]irector Marc Short, will meet with congressional leaders of both parties Wednesday to discuss a spending plan for fiscal 2018, an issue Congress repeatedly punted last year.  The White House and Capitol Hill Republicans say the meeting will be limited to the issue of caps on domestic and defense spending.  Any effort to bring up issues other than the caps, like immigration, will be considered a distraction, a senior Republican aide said.

But the Democratic leaders are under pressure from Latinos to use the spending legislation as leverage to force Trump's hand on protection for the young immigrants [sic] brought to the U.S. as children whom advocates call "[DREAM]ers." Senate [m]inority [l]eader Chuck Schumer and House [m]inority [l]eader Nancy Pelosi[] plan to do just that and raise DACA, among other issues, according to a Democratic aide and a letter that Pelosi sent Tuesday to House Democrats.

Democratic leaders have pushed for a "global" agreement that encompasses spending caps and immigration, as well as deals on disaster relief, electronic surveillance[,] and the Children's Health Insurance Program.  "We can't leave any of those issues behind," Schumer said on the Senate floor in December.

Given the time remaining before the January 19 deadline, it is unlikely that both sides can come to an agreement on a "global" deal.  But on immigration, there's a chance for a compromise.  Democrats may agree to fund a border wall as long as it isn't called a "border wall."  Referring to the funding as "enhanced security" or some other euphemism could be acceptable, while severely limiting the number of people a DACA recipient can sponsor to come to the U.S. might also be acceptable to Democrats.

The pressure of getting a funding resolution to the floor of both houses of Congress will force both sides to deal, although the president probably has the upper hand in the negotiations.  The president set a March deadline last year for Congress to deal with DACA, so shutting down the government over the program is unnecessary.  That would be an easy sell for Trump, no matter how hard the Democratic-media complex tries to spin any shutdown as the GOP's fault.

Expect negotiations – as usual – to come down to the last minute and even beyond.  Sadly, that's the only way things appear get done in Washington.

If you experience technical problems, please write to