Trump Takes Even Harder Line on Immigration

The Trump campaign released a new campaign ad calling Democratic lawmakers “complicit” in all murders committed by undocumented immigrants.

TPM:”The spot seems unlikely to ease tensions on Capitol Hill as the Senate tries to negotiate a compromise on the fate of the 700,000 immigrants who entered the U.S. illegally as children in order to reopen the shuttered federal government.”

Most Say DACA Is Not Worth a Shutdown

A new CNN poll finds 56% of Americans say avoiding a shutdown is more important than passing a bill to maintain the program allowing people brought to the US illegally as children to stay.

“Overall, about half of Americans say they would blame either Trump (21%) or his Republican counterparts in Congress (26%) should Congress fail to fund the government by the midnight Friday deadline. About a third, 31%, say they would hold the Democrats in Congress responsible, and another 10% say they’d blame all three groups.”

Supreme Court Will Hear Challenge to Travel Ban

“The Supreme Court announced on Friday that it would consider a challenge to President Trump’s latest effort to limit travel from countries said to pose a threat to the nation’s security, adding a major test of presidential power to a docket already crowded with blockbusters,” the New York Times reports.

“The justices are likely to hear arguments in the latest case in the spring and to issue a decision in late June.”

GOP Bill Would Actually Cut Highly-Skilled Immigrants

President Trump and his Senate allies “are now presenting their goal for immigration reform as increasing the number of high-skilled immigrants allowed into the United States,” The Atlantic reports.

“But the immigration legislation from Senators Tom Cotton of Arkansas and David Perdue of Georgia that Trump has endorsed would almost certainly reduce the total number of high-skilled immigrants… But by trumpeting high-skilled immigration, Trump, Cotton, and Perdue are also obscuring the most significant impact of their proposal: a 50 percent cut in legal immigration.”

Kelly Says Some of Trump’s Pledges Were ‘Uninformed’

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly told Democratic lawmakers that the United States “will never construct a physical wall along the entire stretch of the U.S.-Mexico border and some of President Trump’s campaign promises on immigration were ‘uninformed,'” the Washington Post reports.

“The comments put Kelly at odds with Trump, who repeatedly said during his presidential campaign that he would build a border wall that Mexico would pay for, not U.S. taxpayers.”

Graham Says Immigration Debate Is a ‘Shit Show’

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said the immigration debate has turned into an “shit show,” lamenting what he said was President Trump’s abrupt change in tone on the topic last week, Politico reports.

Said Graham: “This has turned into an s-show, and we need to get back to being a great country where Democrats and Republicans work together to do something that we should have done years ago.”

Nielsen Won’t Confirm Trump’s Vulgar Comments

Homeland Security Kristjen Nielsen confirmed that President Trump used “tough language” in an Oval Office meeting last week over immigration policy, but she said she did not hear him describe some African countries and Haiti as “shithole countries,” the Washington Post reports.

Said Nielsen: “I did not hear that word used.”

She added: “The conversation was very impassioned. I don’t dispute that the president was using tough language. Others in the room were also using tough language.”

U.S. Deports Mexican Immigrant After 30 Years

Detroit Free Press: “Jorge Garcia was brought to the U.S. by an undocumented family member when he was 10 years old. Today he has a wife and two children,, all of whom are U.S. citizens.”

“Garcia had been facing an order of removal from immigration courts since 2009, but under the previous administration, he had been given stays of removal. But because of the Trump administration’s immigration crackdown, Garcia was ordered in November to return to Mexico. His supporters say he has no criminal record — not even a traffic ticket — and pays taxes every year.”

“Nevertheless, Garcia had to be removed, said Immigration and Customs Enforcement.”

Why Trump Voters Need the Immigrants They Shun

Ron Brownstein: “The irony in President Donald Trump’s hostility to immigration, expressed again in reports of his vulgar comments about Africa and Haiti last week, is that in appealing to the racial and cultural resentments of his political base he is directly threatening their economic interests.”

“The equation is unmistakable: as America ages, the older and blue-collar whites at the core of Trump’s electoral coalition in 2016 need more working-age immigrants to pay the taxes that fund Social Security and Medicare.”

“Without robust immigration, each American worker will need to support substantially more retirees in the future than workers do today. And that will greatly increase the pressure for either unsustainable tax increases or biting benefit reductions in the federal retirement programs that the older and blue-collar whites central to Trump’s support rely upon so heavily.”

Immigration Deal Highly Unlikely This Week

Playbook: “Aides to House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX) and House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) are continuing to talk and are likely to meet this afternoon to continue to try to work out an immigration deal. Based on what we know about Congress, there is a zero percent chance that a deal can be reached at this point and passed this week.”

“The big question: Will Congress be able to pass a short-term stopgap spending bill this week? Will House GOP defense hawks and conservatives give the leadership another month of negotiating? Will Senate Democrats allow a short-term spending bill to pass without an immigration deal?”

Inside a Tense, Profane Meeting on Immigration

The Washington Post has fascinating details from last week’s Oval Office meeting on immigration.

Trump told the group he wasn’t interested in the terms of the bipartisan deal that Durbin and Graham had been putting together. And as he shrugged off suggestions from Durbin and others, the president called nations from Africa ‘shithole countries,’ denigrated Haiti and grew angry. The meeting was short, tense and often dominated by loud cross-talk and swearing, according to Republicans and Democrats familiar with the meeting.”

“Trump’s ping-ponging from dealmaking to feuding, from elation to fury, has come to define the contentious immigration talks between the White House and Congress, perplexing members of both parties as they navigate the president’s vulgarities, his combativeness and his willingness to suddenly change his position.”

A Nation of Holers

Bret Stephens: “I’m not alone. America is a nation of holers. It is an improbable yet wildly successful experiment in the transformation — by means of hope, opportunity and ambition — of holers into doers, makers, thinkers and givers. Are you of Irish descent? Italian? Polish? Scottish? Chinese? Chances are, your ancestors did not get on a boat because life in the old country was placid and prosperous and grandpa owned a bank. With few exceptions, Americans are the dregs of the wine, the chaff of the wheat. If you don’t know this by now, it makes you the wax in the ear.”