The Washington Post editorial states it concisely, The Trump administration created this awful border policy. It doesn’t need Congress to fix it. As Senator Lindsey Graham said, pick up the damn phone and make the call.
But as the New York Times interview with White House crypto-fascist white nationalist adviser Stephen Miller makes abundantly clear about what is happening, “they want this” (h/t graphic: Rachel Maddow Show). How Anti-Immigration Passion Was Inflamed From the Fringe:
It was Jeff Sessions who ordered prosecutors to take a new “zero tolerance” attitude toward families crossing into the United States, part of his plans to reshape the country’s law enforcement priorities to limit immigration. It is Stephen Miller who has championed the idea inside the White House, selling President Trump on the benefits of a policy that his adversaries have called “evil,” “inhumane” and equivalent to child abuse or the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II.
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Asked if the images of children being taken from their parents would eventually make the president back down, Mr. Miller was adamant.
“There is no straying from that mission,” he said.
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In the recent interview, Mr. Miller dismissed as ignorant the hand-wringing of Republicans about the family separation controversy.
“You have one party that’s in favor of open borders, and you have one party that wants to secure the border,” Mr. Miller said. “And all day long the American people are going to side with the party that wants to secure the border. And not by a little bit. Not 55-45. 60-40. 70-30. 80-20. I’m talking 90-10 on that.”
In MIller’s view, all white Americans are xenophobic, anti-immigrant closet racists who, in the privacy of the voting booth, will let their inner racist out. The racist-in-chief Donald Trump sent his clearest signal yet on Monday that he intends to make divisive, racially charged issues like immigration central going into the campaign season. Forget Tax Cuts. Trump Wants to Rally the G.O.P. Base Over Immigration.
[W]ith more Americans still opposing the tax measure than supporting it, Mr. Trump’s allies believe that trying to link Democrats to crimes committed by undocumented immigrants and gangs like MS-13 will do more to galvanize Republican voters and get them to the polls in November than emphasizing economic issues.
In other words, the GOP is going back to the well of its well-honed Southern Strategy of appealing to racism against African-Americans, updated for Latino immigrants. The MS-13 gang thing is a direct descendent of George H.W. Bush’s 1988 Willie Horton ad. One Nation, a Virginia-based non-profit “social welfare” organization, has is already airing a commercial “Stream” in Arizona that is the latest iteration of the Willie Horton ad “trying to link Democrats to crimes committed by undocumented immigrants and gangs like MS-13.” McSally, Schweikert get ad help from group tied to McConnell, Rove.
“People don’t turn out to say thank you,” said Corey Lewandowski, one of the president’s top political advisers. “If you want to get people motivated, you’ve got to give them a reason to vote. Saying ‘build the wall and stop illegals from coming in and killing American citizens’ gives them an important issue.”
Republicans vote out of ignorance, fear and hatred of “others” (including Democrats). Sadly, this strategy has worked too many times. Americans never learn their lesson and keep repeating the same mistake.
Senior policy adviser Stephen Miller and a team of officials from the departments of Justice, Labor, Homeland Security and the Office of Management and Budget have been quietly meeting for months to find ways to use executive authority and under-the-radar rule changes to strengthen hard-line U.S. immigration policies, planning additional crackdowns on immigration before the November midterms, despite a growing backlash over the administration’s move to separate migrant children from parents at the border. Trump aides plan fresh immigration crackdowns before midterms.
With the Associated Press reporting today that Youngest migrants are held in ‘tender age’ shelters, i.e., “baby prisons,” Congress is pretending to take legislative action to end Trump’s family-separation policy.
House Republicans are complicit in Trump’s extortion strategy to include a measure to end his family-separation policy — something Trump can do on his own — in a package of immigration measures which provides funding for Trump’s “big beautiful wall” on the Mexico border, and that restricts legal immigration as well.
Trump wants $25 billion up front for his “monument to the stupidity of man” (Gen. George S. Patton), “The president said at the [GOP Caucus] meeting that if Congress doesn’t give him the resources he needs for border security, he will shut down the government in September, according to one of the people familiar with the meeting.” Trump loses temper over border wall funding.
The Hill reports that “The president endorsed both the GOP compromise bill and a hard-line measure from Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), according to a source inside the room. Lawmakers leaving the meeting said he did not indicate a preference.” Trump vows to stand with House GOP ‘1,000 percent’ on immigration.
Both House measures are dead on arrival in the Senate, where Septuagenarian Ninja Turtle, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, is working on a narrowly tailored bill to reverse Trump’s family-separation policy. Senate GOP tries to defuse Trump border crisis:
The legislation in the House, a compromise between GOP centrists and conservatives, would stop the Department of Homeland Security from separating parents from their children. But it also includes border security measures, funding for Trump’s wall on the border and language that would allow “Dreamers” who came to the United States illegally as children to remain in the country.
It faces a difficult road in the House, and would almost certainly be dead on arrival in the Senate, where it would need support from Democrats to overcome a filibuster.
The House is expected to vote on the compromise legislation and a more hard-line bill on Thursday.
If the bills fail to pass, it could give leverage to a narrow Senate bill, though that legislation would also face questions.
Democrats argue, accurately, that Trump could end the separation of families by giving an order from the White House.
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Democrats say the onus is on Trump to prevent immigrant children from being separated from their parents.
“There are so many obstacles to legislation,” Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer (N.Y.) told reporters Tuesday. “Legislation is not the way to go here when it’s so easy for the president to sign it.”
He argued any legislative fix would quickly become a magnet for “unacceptable additions,” such as proposals to toughen enforcement provisions.
But Schumer did not completely rule out Democratic support for a narrow bill.
Asked if his remarks meant Democrats would not support the bill favored by McConnell to keep immigrant families together while seeking asylum on the U.S. border, Schumer emphasized “the president can change it with his pen.”
The Senate bill would effectively take away Trump’s “leverage,” i.e., holding immigrant children as hostages in order to extort from Congress the draconian measures that he wants on immigration and funding for his “big beautiful wall” on the Mexico border. I fail to see how the radical GOP House Freedom Caucus, which backs Trump’s extremist immigration measures, would support this bill in the House. Trump would not sign it unless he gets the money he is extorting from the Congress for his “big beautiful wall” on the Mexico border.
So where does this leave us? Paul Waldman writes, Republicans are taking one more shot at immigration reform. They’re going to fail.
What’s happening right now is that the horrifying images of children being torn from their parents’ arms have spurred House Republicans to take one more shot at broad immigration reform. But they’re going to fail, just as they have so many times before.
Some quick background: Republicans are supposed to vote tomorrow on two competing bills. One, a hard-line measure sponsored by Rep. Bob Goodlatte, would significantly reduce legal immigration, beef up border security, require employers to use the E-Verify system to verify the citizenship of employees (it’s currently voluntary) and give the “dreamers” a temporary legal status but not citizenship. The other, a slightly less severe measure supported by the House leadership, would also restrict legal immigration, but wouldn’t require E-Verify and provides a path to citizenship for dreamers.
So why do I say this is going to fail? Here are the reasons:
They can’t agree amongst themselves. Since Democrats aren’t going to support either of these bills, Republicans have a small margin for error, and they’re confronting a problem they’ve always had: Their few remaining moderates are skittish about the harsher approach, while their conservatives don’t want anything that they think is “amnesty” for anyone, including dreamers. Everyone acknowledges that the Goodlatte bill doesn’t have the votes to pass, and it looks as though the compromise bill — which, we should note, is still very harsh — will also lose enough hard-liners to fall short.
As far as they’re concerned, doing nothing is a viable option. As much as Republicans say they hate the current immigration system, they’ve shown time and again that they’re perfectly happy to shake their fists at it but leave it in place. If the alternative is voting for a bill that a far-right primary challenger will say is amnesty, many of them would rather do nothing. They’ve seen how people such as Sen. Marco Rubio got punished for trying to achieve comprehensive immigration reform that included a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, and they don’t want to put themselves at risk.
The president won’t help them. Just in the past week, Trump has gone from saying that he won’t support the compromise bill to saying that he supports both bills; as one Republican said after yesterday’s meeting, “He made comments like ‘I’m behind it 1,000 percent,’ but what is ‘it’?” Members of Congress have learned that Trump simply can’t be trusted to keep to a single position from one day to the next. So if you were one of them, would you stick your neck out on the theory that the president had your back?
The Senate won’t pass either of these bills anyway. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said that he doesn’t have any intention of bringing up a comprehensive immigration reform bill this year, and it’s almost impossible to see how even the compromise bill — which, to repeat, is still extremely harsh — could get the votes of nine Democrats, which is what it would need to reach 60 votes and overcome a filibuster.
The only incentive is to deal with the family separation crisis and leave it at that. Every day brings more horrifying stories and images of the children who are being separated from their families at the border as a result of the administration’s “zero tolerance” policy. Trump claims that he hates doing it (which no one believes) and that it’s the fault of imaginary laws passed by Democrats (which is just false). So there’s a solution: pass a narrow bill dealing just with this issue.
There are already bills circulating from both Democrats and Republicans to do just that. Passing one of them could handle the Republicans’ immediate political problem without creating other problems for them with their own base, so that’s the path they’re most likely to choose.
This conclusion is where I fault Waldman’s analysis. As I stated previously, I fail to see how the radical GOP House Freedom Caucus, which backs Trump’s extremist immigration measures, would support this bill in the House. Trump would not sign it unless he gets the money he is extorting from Congress for his “big beautiful wall” on the Mexico border.
And Trump is not giving up on funding for his “big beautiful wall” on the Mexico border. Just yesterday he told Republicans that he is planning to make it part of the budget negotiations in September, and if he does not get what he wants, he will shut down the federal government at the end of September, something he has previously threatened to do but eventually caved to congressional leaders and backed off.
With the Special Counsel’s Russia investigation reportedly prepared to issue findings on the obstruction of justice element of the investigation in the next several weeks, Trump may see his demagogic racist appeal to his nativist and racist cult of Donald Trump as necessary to his political survival.
The “Party of Lincoln” is dead and only a memory now. The
Party Cult of Donald Trump is now the party of child abuse, a morally bankrupt political party that is leading this once great nation down the road to perdition.
Trumpism is the new American fascism, and it is time for all loyal patriotic Americans to come to the defense of the Constitution and our long-cherished American values and ideals. The survival of our democracy is on the ballot.
UPDATE: International human rights agreements forbid the use of inhumane treatment of refugees as deterrent to others seeking asylum; the Convention on the Rights of the Child specifically bars policies of child separation.