...Or is it Trump who's fallen into the trap?

Both Thomas Lifson and Silvio Canto make good cases about President Trump quite possibly trapping Democrats into coming out as opponents of law and order as the 2020 election beckons, an untenable position, supposedly even for them.

I'm not so sure about this. I hope they're right. But I have a bad feeling about President Trump's calling off of raids of "families" who've already been ordered deported by the court system.

Why the heck is this a bargaining chip? And what else is President Trump going to give to the Democrats in exchange for whatever he wants from them -- probably funds for free soap, toothbrushes and soccer balls for detained illegals? We know the Border Patrol is overwhelmed with the surge and Congress has given no extra funds. But do we have to exchange rock-solid deportation cases to buy diapers for the current crop of illegals rolling in? Is there no such thing as a legitimately adjudicated case for deporting someone? Why is this now a political football? As Mickey Kaus notes, why are we ever bothering with courts at all, now that Trump seems to be normalizing the idea that everyone gets to stay, or that court-ordered deportation, like anything else, is now a 'maybe' thing, exchangeable for something else?



Is Trump really that addicted to deals that he would now make enforcement of court rulings a maybe? And for none other than making a deal with Nancy Pelosi, which he already knows, is quite opaque to? Offering up rock-solid deportation orders as a bargaining chip has the look of an own-goal actually, or of moving the goalposts further down the field from one's own side. 

Do I think Democrats are going to shy away from the idea of appearing to champion people who've broken the law, which seems to be the Trump trap being placed in front of Democrats?

Nope, not in the least. I don't think President Trump has that much narrative-framing power to get the Democrats to admit they're the party of lawbreaking and court defiance. They've been pretty comfortable shaping the narrative into something it isn't, deflecting the issue of whether the border should be open, and the press and courts have been squarely on their side to help out. 

They've managed to conflate immigrants with illegal immigrants for starters, setting no distinction between the two, to paint those of us who favor immigration through a legal process as racists. The press has swallowed that one whole. They've also painted the current border surge, which has made cartels very rich, as an issue of "families" needing to stay together - and now "family" crossings are being used as decoys for the Border Patrol to babysit even as much scarier cartel contraband rolls through on the other side. They've also painted caravan alternatives to cartel smuggling as the acts of selfless humanitarians seeking to help people through cheaper group travel to avoid smuggling fees - and that's a phony one, too. One of the organizers of Pueblo Sin Fronteras just got busted in Mexico for shaking migrants down for cash. They've spilled significant ink to claim the surge is one of global warming driving migrants out, which is pure baloney because there is no global warming -- there is just dry weather and these things can be planned for. They've also falsely claimed that the economies of these places are falling apart (false again, Guatemala's economy is soaring), and that crime is unbearable (false, except in a few urban enclaves where the gangsters themselves on losing ends of battles are often the ones claiming asylum) as reasons for opening the border. Media headlines have screamed "families" in a bid to whip up public outrage, drowning out every concern about whether the state should control who enters. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has framed the issue as one of "families belong together" in a tweet. (Such a nice lady!) Yet now we come to the issue of deporting the deportables and nobody remembers that they came here illegally in the first place, or that even the leftist courts found their cases without merit. Democrats are going to fight deportation with photos of crying children and Trump seems to be asking them for a deal as if to avoid some kind of shame at being perceived as the party of lawbreakers? Not with crying kids on the news menu.

Why do I think Trump has moved the goalposts backward? 

Up until now, a huge brouhaha has been made by the left about the "right" of "families," incentivized by the current asylum system, to cross illegally into the U.S. and then wait and work in the United States until their cases are adjudicated. Trump was supposedly being unreasonable by calling it an abuse of the system, and a loophole, in need of reform. They were, as the left narrated, engaged in a legal process even if they came here illegally.

Yet it was Trump who was right because the court backlog is years down the line, rendering it almost meaningless. A court backlog is a great thing for "asylum seekers with kids" because they get the right to work here after six months, but makes anyone waiting from the outside to legally get in into a sucker. After all, someone waiting to enter legally will lose five, ten, maybe 20 years of his or her working years at an American salary in waiting to come here legally. Someone breaking in and claiming asylum, no matter how meritless his or her case, gets two or three free years of working in the states almost on the spot, even if he or she is eventually turned down for asylum by the courts. And unlike the would-be legal immigrant, they don't have to be vetted, not even for communicable diseases. 

And now it turns out that even if they lose those vaunted court cases, they don't even have to leave, being deported as the law calls for is an up-in-the-air, subject-to-dealmaking thing now, now that President Trump has called off his raids and said he'd go into talks about a deal with the Democrats. Even after they made a big stand on asylum cases being so important that a border surge was important. Yet these people lost their cases. They got their free years of working here, yet they weren't the people the asylum laws were written for. 

Democrats also have thwarted Trump at every turn through the courts, so what the courts say is nominally sacred in their eyes because they win every time. Now even these court rulings around individual deportations are subject to negotiations? Trump's the one who came up with this idea of calling off the raids in the name of holding peace talks with the Democrats, yet Democrats have been fierce about claiming the courts are the only proper instrument for deciding who stays and who goes.

It's a bargaining chit he didn't need to put out there. If even a court-ordered deportation is not good enough for enacting a deportation, what is it going to take? 

It's rather noticeable that this isn't going over well with Trump's base on Twitter. And now that the ICE is reasserting that it still has the right to deport the deportables, it sounds like maybe a little spin control is going on. President Trump's Twitter rah-rah video of the supposedly going-up border wall came out with some weird timing, too. Were we not supposed to notice that court-ruled deportables are now not so deportable? One feels manipulated by that video...

It's a complicated issue - note the traitor in the Department of Homeland Security with his leaks of upcoming raids - and maybe there is something going on under the surface that's not so visible. In addition, Trump has put out an honest-sounding tweet about Democrats probably not wanting a deal, emphasizing that it's just two weeks. I hope Silvio and Thomas are reading this better than I am. But I am wondering if Trump has miscalculated, given the implacability and mendaciousness of the Democrats he's going up against...

Image credit: Michael Vadon, via Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 2.0