Democrats cau­tiously share the driver’s seat with Trump

Edmonton Sun - - NEWS - Paul KaNE, Ed O-KEEfE and aSh­lEy parKEr The Washington Post

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.

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