Democrats cautiously share the driver’s seat with Trump
WaSHInGtOn - democratic lawmakers shut out of governance for much of this year now find themselves at the center of high-stakes negotiations with president donald trump that could achieve a prize they have sought for nearly a decade: permanent legal status for hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants.
For a small but vocal contingent of democrats, these talks are fraught with peril, largely because of their total distrust of a man who began his presidential campaign two years ago describing mexican immigrants as rapists.
but for Senate minority Leader Charles Schumer, d-n.y., and House minority Leader nancy pelosi, d-Calif., there is little to lose. If the deal falls apart and trump returns to his pattern of insult-hurling and name-calling, the democratic leaders will be right where they began - no better and no worse. and a successful negotiation would achieve something they failed to pull off when their party controlled both Congress and the White House. It could also serve as a road map for more achievements to come.
“nothing ventured, nothing gained,” Schumer said in an interview. “We thought we had an opportunity to get something good done, and let’s see what happens. We’re very hopeful that they will keep their word.”
Schumer and pelosi are pressing ahead with the president’s top advisers, hoping to reach a deal in a matter of weeks to enshrine in law an Obama-era executive order called deferred action for Childhood arrivals that protects from deportation undocumented immigrants brought to the u.S. as children. trump has criticized daCa as executive overreach, but he has also expressed empathy for the young immigrants it protects.
there is one critical stumbling block to the whole effort to pass a dream act to replace daCa: how much additional border security and enforcement trump will demand. the deep fear among democrats skeptical of the negotiations is that, in exchange for permanent protections for “dreamers,” trump will win broad new powers and resources to enforce immigration laws that go beyond adding more agents or technology along the border. the cost of a permanent dream act, they say, could be a new and emboldened deportation force across the nation that undermines civil liberties and terrorizes law-abiding immigrants.
“We’re going to have to be very leery and very careful of the slippery slope,” said rep. Luis Gutierrez, d-Ill.
“there is no fresh start with trump, and I don’t trust him,” said rep. raul Grijalva, d-ariz.
Washington heads are still spinning from a new negotiating dynamic that no one expected - not Schumer and pelosi, and not their republican counterparts, House Speaker paul ryan, r-Wis., and Senate majority Leader mitch mcConnell, r-Ky.
trump spent his first seven months in entirely partisan bubble, working only with republicans trying, and failing, to pass conservative legislation - notably a replacement to the affordable Care act. and it was less than a month ago when pelosi said trump should be given a formal censure by Congress for how he responded to the violent neo-nazi clashes in Charlottesville.
President Donald Trump meets with congressional leadership in the Oval Office.