Donald Trump–hate and racism personified. Photo Gage Skidmore–Flickr
After a dizzying set of developments and ahead of a chaotic week in Washington, DC, here are five key points to keep in mind:
President Trump created the urgent crisis for Dreamers and those with Temporary Protected Status (TPS). While Trump’s tweets and Republicans’ speeches are trying to muddy the waters, there is no escaping the fact that the urgent crisis facing 800,000 DACA recipients is solely due to Trump’s September decision to end the popular and successful DACA program. In addition, the crisis affecting 300,000 TPS holders from El Salvador, Haiti and elsewhere is solely due to the Trump Administration’s decision to terminate their protections. As a result, more than 1 million deeply-rooted immigrants are losing their legal status and being exposed to deportation because of unilateral decisions by the President and his team.
Trump asked for a bipartisan immigration deal last week and six Senators delivered a proposal that checked all the boxes. The televised bipartisan White House immigration meeting last Tuesday put the Administration’s demands into sharp relief: that lawmakers should work on a bipartisan immigration proposal that would address four key policy elements – DACA, border, the diversity lottery, and family immigration. Subsequently, a bipartisan group of six Senators — three Republicans, three Democrats — presented just such a proposal and were led to believe by the President himself that he was supportive of the deal (see Dara Lind’s Vox piece for a good overview of the policy details and implications of the proposed bill from Senators Graham and Durbin and others.)
Stephen Miller, John Kelly, and anti-immigrant lawmakers worked Trump to blow up the bipartisan Senate deal and are now covering for Trump’s racist comments. A Washington Post story from last night confirms what many had suspected: key White House staff, such as Chief of Staff John Kelly and White House aide Stephen Miller, working in conjunction with anti-immigrant lawmakers such as Bob Goodlatte and Tom Cotton, worked to derail the only detailed bipartisan deal on the table. Some are lying about what Trump’s racist rant, while others are hiding under their desks and saying nothing. But all are complicit in creating the current moment of crisis.
President Trump’s racist comments rip the cover off the coded language of the nativist agenda. Now, there can be no mistaking the larger goals and underlying motivations of the hard line anti-immigrant agenda: kick out and keep out people of color in favor of those from European countries. Using coded language such as “chain migration” and “merit-based immigration” and “deport criminals” to cover their tracks, Trump and his allies in and out of Congress have exposed the nativist agenda, which is to reduce the number of people of color in the country in an attempt to reverse the demographic diversification of America.
Republicans control Washington and need to resolve this crisis; Democrats should stand up to the bully. Trump is a racist, a liar and a bully. As a result of his recent behavior, and just days before the January 19th deadline, he has poisoned the atmosphere for negotiations on the range of outstanding issues holding up a spending package. Republicans control Washington and need to get a global deal done in order to keep the lights on.
Democrats, meanwhile, should continue to demand a workable, balanced bipartisan deal — on all issues — without caving in to the racist, lying bully.
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