Trump Vents Anger at Homeland Security Secretary

Washington Post: “The president has chastised her on several occasions this spring, including a much-publicized meeting earlier this month when he attacked her in front of the entire Cabinet. He has grown furious because his administration has made little progress building the border wall, and his most ardent supporters have blamed Nielsen for not doing more to halt the caravan of Central American migrants whose advance Trump saw as a personal challenge.”

“He has also seen her as a proxy for Kelly, whose relationship with the president has frayed in recent months. Trump has decided, according to several aides, that Nielsen is a George W. Bush kind of Republican, the worst in his view.”

“Tensions between the two could soon flare again — the Border Patrol’s May arrest numbers are due to be released early next month, and immigration hawks, including the president, now treat them as a kind of barometer for Nielsen’s performance.”

House GOP Holds Last Ditch Immigration Talks

“House Republican leaders have at least temporarily blunted an internal rebellion to force votes next month on protecting young undocumented immigrants from deportation while they negotiate with the GOP renegades on an alternate path forward,” the Washington Post reports.

“But with conservatives and moderates far apart on crucial provisions, there was little sign Wednesday that the warring factions would be able to reach a workable agreement on a compromise immigration bill.”

“Immigration has exposed deep divisions within the GOP, pitting conservative adherents of President Trump’s hard-line stance against moderates frustrated by inaction.”

Can Paul Ryan Quell a Rebellion In the House?

Playbook: “The discharge petition to force a series of immigration votes on the House floor is 22 lawmakers short of 218 — a huge number of Democrats signed in the last few days. Speaker Paul Ryan is hoping that he can keep Republicans from signing onto the petition, instead opting for a tightly controlled series of Republican-leaning votes in June.”

“If Republicans sign on this week — the last week before a weeklong Memorial Day recess — Ryan’s plan could be foiled, which would be seen internally as another blow to the speaker. If the discharge petition reaches 218, Ryan would need those Republicans to essentially abandon the petition by voting to turn it off in order to proceed to his vote plan. The leadership feels like it’s stopped the rush to sign the petition by convincing lawmakers the controlled series of votes is a better option. We’ll see if that holds this week.”

Ryan and McCarthy Split on Immigration

“Paul Ryan and his longtime No. 2 Kevin McCarthy have maintained a unified public front on immigration — but behind the scenes, the interests of the outgoing speaker and his potential successor are colliding over controversial Dreamers legislation,” Politico reports.

“Both have vehemently opposed an effort by centrist Republicans to force votes on bills shielding young undocumented immigrants who came here as children from deportation. But to stop it, Ryan floated the possibility of reigniting talks on a bipartisan deal that President Donald Trump would get behind.”

“McCarthy, on the other hand, has panned that idea.”

Republicans In an Immigration Nightmare

Playbook: “Speaker Paul Ryan, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and House Majority Whip Steve Scalise have spent this week trying to get Republicans to not sign a discharge petition that would open the House floor to a wide-ranging immigration debate. As of now, it’s been a failure.”

“After the trio spent the morning making the argument that this was not the path to go down, two Republicans — New York Rep. John Katko and Michigan Rep. Dave Trott — signed it anyway. That Republicans are openly defying their own leadership is relatively stunning. McCarthy has made the argument that an immigration vote could cost Republicans the majority. That clearly isn’t resonating.”

“Republicans are in a box. The discharge petition is a bad look for a lot of conservatives, who rightly think that the process will lead to a bill that will be carried mostly by Democrats. But it’s a central part of how the House works… Make no mistake this is a mess for the GOP.”

James Hohmann: “This open rebellion really is extraordinarily unusual. These renegade Republicans risk retribution from party chieftains by signing onto this petition over the strenuous public and private objections of leadership. But these lawmakers feel caught between a rock and a hard place: They also realize that they may lose reelection in November if they do nothing.”

Trump Mulls Replacing Nielsen

“The White House is discussing possible replacements for Department of Homeland Security secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, because Donald Trump is unhappy with how she is running the massive agency tasked with keeping the US safe,” Quartz reports.

“Names being discussed inside the White House include Tom Cotton, the senator from Arkansas, energy secretary Rick Perry, and Thomas Homan, the retiring head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, one of these people said. Cotton and Perry were also considered for the position previously.”

Trump Calls Unauthorized Immigrants ‘Animals’

“President Trump lashed out at undocumented immigrants during a White House meeting on Wednesday, warning in front of news cameras that dangerous people were clamoring to breach the country’s borders and branding such people ‘animals,’” the New York Times reports.

”It was hardly the first time the president has spoken in racially fraught terms about immigrants, but it underscored his anger about unchecked immigration — the animating issue of his campaign and his tenure so far — and his frustration that he has not been able to do more to seal the nation’s borders.”

GOP Leaders Warn Members on Immigration Vote

“Republican leaders warned rank-and-file members Wednesday not to move ahead with a discharge petition to force an immigration vote, saying the effort would effectively hand over power to the Democrats,” The Hill reports.

“Eighteen Republicans have signed on to a discharge petition to force a series of votes on several immigration bills… If all Democrats back the petition, the sponsors would only need 25 Republicans to do so, a number that appears to be within reach despite opposition from GOP leaders.”

McSally Veers Right on Immigration

Rep. Martha McSally (R-AZ) “has dropped her support for immigration-reform legislation that offers a pathway to citizenship for undocumented dreamers in favor of a less generous alternative that also would sharply reduce legal immigration,” the Arizona Republic reports.

“McSally, now a U.S. Senate candidate, instead is backing a bill that calls for allowing undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children to apply for ‘contingent non-immigrant status,’ rather than giving them a shot at becoming legal permanent residents and eventually full U.S. citizens.”

“The move comes as McSally is facing two rival conservatives seeking this year’s Republican nomination for the state’s open Senate seat and as she has taken a harder line on border security and other issues in advance of a combative Republican primary.”

Quote of the Day

“They’re overwhelmingly rural people. In the countries they come from, fourth-, fifth-, sixth-grade educations are kind of the norm. They don’t speak English; obviously that’s a big thing… They don’t integrate well; they don’t have skills. They’re not bad people. They’re coming here for a reason. And I sympathize with the reason. But the laws are the laws.”

— White House chief of staff John Kelly, in a NPR interview.

House Republicans Break Ranks Over the Dreamers

Playbook: “Republican leaders are becoming very concerned about the new immigration discharge petition, which would force a vote on a package of five bills in the coming weeks. The GOP has put off the immigration issue for some time, because of divisions in their ranks. Now they need just eight more Republicans to sign on — and every Democrat — to force the issue immediately.”

“Can House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and/or Speaker Paul Ryan cut a deal to convince people to not sign on? Can they convince Democrats they’ll get a better deal if they don’t join in? Unlikely. There’s not been an immigration deal in the last two years. Lawmakers see Ryan and McCarthy’s promises as hollow.”

Republicans Move to Force DACA Vote In Defiance of Ryan

“House GOP moderates are defying Speaker Paul Ryan and trying to force a vote codifying Obama-era protections for young undocumented immigrants on the House floor,” Politico reports.

“Reps. Carlos Curbelo of Florida,Will Hurd of Texas, and Jeff Denham and David Valadao of California filed a discharge petition Wednesday that would trigger a series of votes on different immigration bills if 218 members sign on. If every Democrat supports the idea, which sources said is likely, 20 Republicans would have to break ranks and join them to trigger the votes.”

“Two sources intimately involved in the effort say at least 15 Republicans are ready to join.”

The Anti-Immigration Party

Ron Brownstein: “The results of Tuesday’s primary elections simultaneously bolstered the Republican Party mainstream and demonstrated how much ground it has yielded to Donald Trump, particularly on the volatile issue of immigration.”

“In several key races, GOP primary voters rejected candidates who presented themselves as the most ardent acolytes of Trump, in terms of style, political agenda, or both. But the relatively more mainstream alternatives triumphed in those contests only after embracing much, or all, of Trump’s hostility toward immigration. That dynamic underscores Trump’s success at eroding resistance in the GOP toward his racially infused nationalism. And that could prove a defining gamble for the party in a nation inexorably growing more diverse.”