The Amnesty Kerfluffle

So here's how I see it.

The Trump White House announced that it would announce an immigration plan on Monday, something it thinks both sides of Congress and the issue can agree to compromise on.

We haven't seen that plan yet. We've seen what people have leaked that claims to be that plan.

In politics, those are called "trial balloons". You release leaks ahead of time, see what the reaction is, and adjust the final release to take those reactions into account. Maybe you change it, maybe you don't, but at least you know ahead of time how people will react to it.

So far, Trump's base seems to be reacting negatively. Trump may get the signal that the leaked proposal is too much amnesty and backpeddle. Or maybe the leaks didn't come from him and his actual plan doesn't resemble what leaked to begin with.

The only strong objection I have to the plan as leaked is the end of E-Verify. I don't like handing out amnesty and a path to citizenship, but for a small number of people, who can be subjected to background checks and be disqualified if they fail to remain law-abiding citizens (aside from the initial, illegal entry), it might be a workable compromise. But, because of the trust deficit on this issue, it has to be significantly delayed -- and canceled if the other elements of the deal are messed with.

My take on the issue is simple.

First, I won't waste a lot of time worrying about any proposal I see before Monday. The real proposal is Monday. Anything before Monday is a trial balloon. That doesn't mean don't react to the trial balloon. It's the reaction that makes it useful. But don't treat it as an unforgivable betrayal when it isn't even a real proposal yet.

Second, as things stand, Trump needs any bill dealing with the issue to get to 60 votes. That means significant compromise is inevitable if anything is going to pass at all. Some group of people are going to get amnestied. If Trump can keep that number down while getting significant concessions (wall actually built, enforcement actually funded, policy changes that fix some of the problems) that's not necessarily a bad deal.

Third, Trump is trying to take the middle ground here. That's generally the President's goal: let the extremes in Congress say their piece and then propose something that 51% of the population can agree with broadly. He's specifically looking for something that can break off enough Dem Senators to get to 60 votes. Every time he shakes up the game by throwing a proposal out there, he gets to see if anyone twitches like they want to go for it. He's probably not going to get Schumer or other hardliners on board. But he doesn't need to. He just needs 8-10 of them.

So. It's Monday. Let's see what the real proposal is, if any.

This entry was published Mon Jan 29 10:05:31 CST 2018 by TriggerFinger and last updated 2018-01-29 10:05:31.0. [Tweet]

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