It’s really something we have not seen so far in the Donald Trump Administration, a push for legislation that is meaningful, but does not depend on one party or another carrying it. And what’s more, for the first time, the president is conducting the negotiations and meetings publicly.
The topic is immigration, and it’s close relative the Dreamers or DACA. From the beginning of the end of DACA, Trump has called for a legislative solution, and on Tuesday, he began to force the discussion in a meeting that was open to the media.
President Trump hosted a bipartisan group of lawmakers at the White House on Tuesday to talk about revamping the nation’s immigration policies. During the meeting, Mr. Trump told the group that he hoped to come up with “an answer for DACA” and said it should be a “bill of love” while remaining firm that his long-planned border wall would be part of any DACA agreement reached.
“I really do believe Democrats and Republicans, the people sitting in this room, really want to get something done,” Mr. Trump said. He told them they should “put country before party,” and he called for a permanent fix rather than a stop-gap bill.
“Let’s see if we can get something done. I really think that we have a chance to do it. I think it’s really important. You’re talking about 800,000 people. You’re talking about lots of other people who are affected, including people who live in our country, from a security standpoint,” said Mr. Trump.
The 800,000 number is in dispute, and there is one mindset that says “illegal is illegal.” However, if that action which may not have been the dreamer’s in the first place, is the only infraction, President Trump would like to find a way to citizenship for those people.
It could well be a losing argument.
There are a lot of moving pieces and parts to immigration and the challenges faced that need to be addressed range from simple crossing the border, to drug running and gang activity. Some of that can be part of the border wall or fence solution, but the dreamer question cannot be. And thus President Trump wants meaningful discussion out in the open. This is a matter everyone needs to understand. He is taking steps to be sure we all do.
It will be worth the time to pay attention and watch a master negotiator at work.
Instead, Mr. Trump said, he’d like to see merit-based immigration in any bill. “I very much think the American public wants that,” he said.
The meeting was also a rare moment for civil discussion and debate amongst both Republicans and Democrats, all calling for bipartisan approaches to the legislation.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said the group should make a commitment to a permanent solution addressing all the president’s concerns, saying, “We are all going to have to give a little.”