My friend Tom Edsall wrote a very smart column in The New York Timeson Trump’s immigration offer to the Democrats. Edsall quotes a number of political scientists and strategists, but the bottom line is: Take the deal.
Trump is offering to more than double the number of number of young people brought here illegally as children who can qualify for citizenship. In exchange, Democrats must support $25 billion for Trump’s wall, as well as his unsavory demands to limit so-called chain migration and to end the visa lottery.
Why take the deal? Because Trump’s strategy jams the Democrats. If the Dreamers are deported, much of the Hispanic community will blame the Democrats as well as blaming Trump. But conversely, if the number of Dreamers is more than doubled, it splits Trump’s base, especially immigration hard-liners.
Yes, the other elements of the proposed deal are odious, but all of them can be fought another day. For instance, construction of the wall can be suspended, after the Democrats take back Congress. The issue of whether to have a visa lottery, a decidedly secondary issue, can be revisited another day. Likewise the details of which family members legal immigrants can bring in.
Chuck Schumer, who has flatly said no way, should think again. The Democrats should turn the tables on Trump by simply announcing that they will take his deal, in the interest of the Dreamers. Other aspects of immigration policy have been repeatedly revised over the last century, and will continue to be.
Then we will find out if Trump is for real on this—or whether the offer is one more Trump lie.