In his latest column, the Washington Post’s Greg Sargent delivers an insightful and sobering take on the latest Dream Act action happening on Capitol Hill.
Read excerpts from the latest Greg Sargent’s column from The Washington Post below and find the entire piece here:
In January of 2017, at a town hall meeting broadcast live to the nation on CNN, Paul Ryan made a heartfelt promise to an anxious “Dreamer” mom: He and incoming President Donald Trump would do everything in their power to make sure she could remain in the United States.
“What we have to do is find a way to make sure that you can get right with the law,” Ryan said. “That’s the way we feel. And that is exactly what our new, incoming president has stated he wants to do.” Ryan added that he was “sure” that the young mother is a “great contributor” to her “community.”
Nearly 18 months later, the monstrous reality of this broken promise is perfectly captured in two new episodes: Trump’s raging tirade against his Homeland Security chief over the allegedly insecure border; and Ryan’s craven effort to stop an effort by Republicans in the House to force a vote on bills that would protect the dreamers.
The New York Times reports that Trump erupted in a rage at Homeland Security secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and other Cabinet members over the alleged failure to make “progress towards sealing the border.” According to the Times, Trump also raged about the “continued failure of his administration to find a way to build a wall along the southern border.”
The Post adds more reporting, noting that Trump’s “blowup lasted more than 30 minutes.” His face “reddened” as he railed that Nielsen must “close down” the border and shouted: “We need to shut it down. We’re closed.”
Now, over to Paul Ryan. Vulnerable Republicans in the House are pushing a discharge petition that would force a vote on immigration bills, including two measures that would legalize the dreamers, one of them packaged with fortifications to border security. Seventeen Republicans have signed the petition, meaning that if organizers can get eight more, it would pass — forcing a full House vote on whether the dreamers will be protected or remain in limbo.
Ryan is trying to stop this from happening. He justifies this by claiming that there’s no sense in voting on measures protecting the dreamers that Trump would veto. As Ryan put it: “We actually would like to solve this problem, and that is why I think it’s important for us to come up with a solution that the president can support.”
Ryan is trying to prevent a vote to protect the dreamers precisely because such a measure could pass the House. That would expose him to the right’s rage and would probably end up forcing Trump to make the terrible choice of accepting or vetoing it. A deal protecting the dreamers in exchange for border security would probably pass the House by a comfortable margin, and it might pass the Senate — after all, passage in the House would bring tremendous pressure on moderate Republican Senators — especially if the White House didn’t actively lobby against it.
But Trump will not accept any deal to protect the dreamers, even though it could very likely pass both chambers, unless it also contains deep cuts to legal immigration. So if the House passed it, the White House would lobby the Senate against it, and if that failed, Trump would then have to veto it. Either of those would look horrible, because after House passage, suddenly protections for the dreamers would appear in reach. This is the spectacle that Ryan is trying to avert — all to protect Trump from having his true priorities revealed in all their ugly glory.