President Trump’s pro-American immigration agenda may be longed for by the Republican base, but GOP lawmakers and White House staffers remain unwilling to prioritize the most important issue for midterm voters.
Last week, Trump signed the omnibus spending bill, a package that does not include a single provision from his 70-point list of pro-American immigration reforms.
Those reforms include:
- Complete and total construction of a border wall along the U.S.-Mexico border
- Ending the “Catch and Release” program that releases illegal aliens into the interior of the U.S.
- Mandatory E-Verify to stop employers from hiring illegal aliens over Americans
- Ending chain migration, where naturalized citizens can bring their foreign relatives to the U.S.
- Eliminating the Diversity Visa Lottery, which imports 50,000 random foreign nationals annually
- Hiring 10,000 Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers
Instead, the omnibus gave Trump about 33 miles of new fencing that can be placed on the San Diego and Rio Grande Valley regions of the border, far from the ideal border wall that Republican voters want to see ahead of the midterm elections.
Republican lawmakers like House Rep. Louie Gohmert, who want to see Trump’s immigration agenda put into high gear, now admit that with the signing of the omnibus, the GOP could be in trouble for the midterms.
“I’m afraid this could end up costing us the majority –in which case you will have total new leadership in the House,” Gohmert said. “I don’t know if the Senate likes to hang on to their bad leadership no matter what happens; but, it would probably mean new leadership there.”
Yet, Trump’s own Budget Director Mick Mulvaney praised the omnibus, saying, “this is a really, really good immigration package” before the president decided he was going to sign the bill.
Mulvaney on omnibus, in case there is still any suspense: “Let's cut to the chase. Is the president going to sign the bill? Yes.”
— Jordan Fabian (@Jordanfabian) March 22, 2018
Likewise, Trump’s Legislative Affairs Director Marc Short — a former executive for the “Never Trump,” pro-mass immigration billionaire Koch brothers — signaled that the president would sign the omnibus before he made an official decision.
Just ran into WH legislative affairs director Marc Short.
I asked: So, will there be a government shutdown?
Short: “I think we’ll be OK,” he said with a smile.
— Jeremy Diamond (@JDiamond1) March 23, 2018
A number of sources who spoke to the New York Times and Wall Street Journal about whether Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen supported the omnibus spending bill gave different takes. Some say she pushed Trump to sign the plan, while others said she wanted the president to veto the plan.
Sources close to Breitbart News did not confirm Nielsen’s position on the omnibus spending bill.
In the end, it was Defense Secretary James Mattis who pushed Trump to throw out his immigration agenda for the second year in a row, ultimately prioritizing bulks of military spending instead of securing the southern border and reducing illegal and legal immigration levels, where the U.S. continues to admit more than 1.5 million foreign nationals every year.
For House Speaker Paul Ryan, the omnibus signing means another year that his brand of Republicanism is able to get by without having to bend to Republican voters’ desires on immigration, wherein reducing immigration is more important than his tax cut plan and even destroying the Islamic State.
At the southern border, the illegal immigration problem has persisted under Trump.
The latest numbers show that illegal immigration has increased nearly three percent from 25,978 to 26,666 illegal aliens crossing the border in February. The border-crossings are on par with illegal immigration levels under former President Obama.
Without the full funding of a border wall for this year, Princeton Policy Adviser President Steven Kopits has warned that illegal immigration in 2018 could increase by 70 percent, making Trump’s second year in office the second highest year for illegal immigration on the southern border since 2010.
Meanwhile, Americans’ wages — which were on the rise months ago — have slowed down as illegal immigration continues as usual and ICE is not given any more manpower than they had a year ago to deport illegal aliens living in the interior of the country.
Still, the red flags for Republican lawmakers in the midterm elections have left the party’s establishment unphased, at least publicly.
Ryan has continued pushing his tax cuts as the pinnacle argument for Republican voters to turn out for the GOP in the midterms.
— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) March 23, 2018
GOP voters, though, say tax cuts are their least important issue in the midterm elections. The most important issue? Immigration and the economy.
Likewise, the much-needed swing voters in the midterm elections also say taxes are their least important issue, while immigration polls as their third most important issue, just after healthcare and the economy.
Last year, the Republican establishment and beltway White House staffers convinced the Trump administration to prioritize tax cuts as the leading legislative issue of the year. Immigration, much like this year so far, was left by the wayside.