Thankfully, Republican Congressional leaders remained in lockstep with the White House and did not try to sneak in any legalization for illegal immigrants. The Omnibus may have been the last chance for Congress to pass amnesty before the mid-terms. So immigration patriots have a victory, albeit a defensive one.
But they elected not to.
GOP leaders in the House are still sitting on Rep. Bob Goodlatte’s bill, making no effort to bring it to a vote or to talk it up as the party’s official stance. The Goodlatte bill [ H.R. 4760: Securing America’s Future Act of 2018] is by no means perfect, but it is substantially better than any other DACA proposal and would improve America’s immigration system. Still, it’s apparently too much to ask of Paul Ryan to have a vote on the bill that would institute mandatory e-Verify, end chain migration and provide full funding for the wall.
President Trump himself has appeared to have forgotten about the Goodlatte bill—he only talks about DACA in exchange for funding the wall.
Instead of attacking Democrats for not refusing to side with the majority of Americans who want patriotic immigration reform, Trump makes a stupid “Democrats R The Real Racists” argument about how the Democrats refuse to save DACA. [Trump: Democrats 'Just Don't Care' About Daca, Program He Opted To End, By Cristiano Lima, Politico, March 5, 2018]
That line is not going to win any Hispanic votes for the GOP. And it will positively repel Trump’s base, which in fact positively does not want a DACA Amnesty and absolutely does want patriotic immigration reform.
Last month, I predicted DACA’s demise and wrote:
The next step for Trump: adopt the Goodlatte bill and bully Republicans into campaigning on it. This new framework actually gives something for immigration patriots to root for and will satisfy the president’s base. It would be stupid for the Congressional GOP to not campaign on it in 2018.Sadly, it looks like the Stupid Party is indeed not going to push for patriotic immigration reform (or anything else) in 2018. That means no Goodlatte bill or RAISE Act coming up for a vote—which would either pass or force Democrats to go on the record, which could then be used against them in the election—unless some unforeseen event shocks the GOP out of its complacency.
But then again, it isn’t called the Stupid Party for nothing.
The GOP Establishment is just not going to run on patriotic immigration reform. Instead, it will punt. Tax cuts and the economy will be its pitch to voters. Needless, that pitch did not work out in the Pennsylvania special election earlier this month, but GOP leadership has chosen not to notice.
Maybe they’ll get away with it. Perhaps surprisingly, recent polls showing the 2018 race apparently tightening [CNN Poll: 42% approve of Trump, highest in 11 months, by Jennifer Agiesta, CNN, March 26, 2018; Fox News Poll: Gap narrows on 2018 vote preference, by Dana Blanton, FoxNews, March 25, 2018].
The GOP leadership doesn’t want to do anything on immigration for two main reasons.
I hate identity politics, it’s wrong, it’s morally wrong, but also it’s insidious, and it’s practiced on both sides. Our job is to reject identity politics and try and replace it with better ideas, an aspirational politics. I’m a Jack Kemp acolyte……and that the GOP can appeal to younger people with “equality of opportunity” and “getting entitlements under control.”
In other words, Ryan literally has no idea why Trump won. The party Establishment has simply opportunistically grafted its own agenda on top of Trumpism, with the president only occasionally casting off the facade.
Unforeseen events that might get the GOP to act on immigration: if the Supreme Court finally scraps DACA before November; a terrorist attack committed by someone who came here due to chain migration/diversity visa lottery; another high-profile illegal immigrant murder in a sanctuary city.
The first item might shock Congress into doing something on immigration, probably bad; the last two might provoke Trump into forcing his party to do something, possibly good.
We’ll just have to wait and see what the rest of 2018 brings.
But right now, the best bet is on no immigration legislation until next year—and, possibly but not certainly, a drift to GOP defeat in the 2018 midterms.
Washington Watcher [email him] is an anonymous source Inside The Beltway.