Democrats are slamming President Donald Trump’s deal with Mexico for failing to do anything new — but also for imposing new curbs on migration and sidelining Democrats’ immigration agenda.
The contradictory Democrats, however, are united in their opposition to Trump’s Mexico deal, which may deny Democrats political leverage in 2019 and an election argument in 2020.
“I think the president has completely overblown what he reports to have achieved. These are agreements that Mexico had already made, in some cases months ago,” said Democratic presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke. “They might have accelerated the time table, but by and large the president achieved nothing except to jeopardize the most important trading relationship that the United States of America has,” he told ABC’s The Week on June 9.
But a statement from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says the deal will block migrants from seeking asylum:
We are deeply disappointed by the Administration’s expansion of its failed Remain-in-Mexico policy, which violates the rights of asylum seekers under U.S. law and fails to address the root causes of Central American migration.
June 9th on CNN, Bernie Sanders downplayed the entire crisis, claimed Trump “demonized” migrants, and then tried to change the subject:
It is a serious problem, but it is not the kind of crisis that requires demonization of desperate people who in some cases have walked a thousand miles with their children. It is an issue we have to deal with. But the issue of climate change, the issue of tens of millions of Americans not having any health insurance. The fact that half of our people are living paycheck to paycheck, those are more serious crises. So it is an issue. But you don’t demonize desperate people. We deal with it in a rational and humane way.
Sen. Chuck Schumer’s June 9 tweets — based on a New York Times article — claimed that Trump’s deal achieved nothing:
North Korea redux. Big show, no improvement. The game-show president strikes again.https://t.co/Xu9OKAoox0
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) June 9, 2019
The establishment media amplified the Democrats’ claims. The deal “clearly was a political setback for the president because he didn’t get everything he wanted,” Washington Post reporter Anne Gearan told Fox News on June 9.
Many Democrats cautiously stayed silent amid Trump’s victory claims, such as Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley and Sen. Dick Durbin, despite their outspoken opposition to Trump’s immigration and border reforms.
The Democrats’ contradictory reactions are shaped by a common hope that Trump’s migration policy will hurt him in 2020, regardless of their efforts to preserve the migration into Americans’ workplaces, schools, and neighborhoods.
For example, Neera Tanden, president of the left-wing Center for American Progress, told Fox News that a Trump failure to block the migrants should be counted against him in the 2020 election:
I think the issue here for the president is now he’s an incumbent and when he faces reelection, he’s going to have a set of facts. The set of facts are that there are more border crossings now than there were two or three years ago, and that his policies — so far — have not succeeded. He argued — in fact, I will make — he argued to the American people, his administration argued, family separation would be a strategy that succeeds, and it has so far not succeeded. Now, he’s trying to do these things with Mexico.
So Trump needs to adopt the Democrats’ border policies, she said:
The strategy that would actually work and did actually have results at the end of the Obama administration was dealing with these countries and their problems internally and trying to support actually keeping their economies working where they are.
Schumer also demanded that Trump accede to Democrats’ demands, tweeting June 8 that Trump “ought to stop acting like a showman and start working with Democrats on our serious proposals to address the nation’s most pressing needs.”
The Democrat leaders’ effort to extract political gains from the Central American migration is supported by far-left groups. For example, the April 2019 issue of Jacobin magazine argued that migration would help the left gain power:
The Left’s message isn’t that capitalists need more immigrant workers but that the labor movement needs more immigrant worker militants … the task is to stand with immigrants as they fight at the lead of the working class.
“There are two reasons the Democrats have not acted on this” crisis, said Jessica Vaughan, policy director at the Center for Immigration Studies.
One is ideology; Many of them welcome more migration, especially from Mexico and Central America. But I think they also welcome this crisis because they think at some point the Trump administration will cry uncle and give up almost anything to get some policy changes our of Congress – and almost anything means a massive amnesty. The Democrats think the worse the situation gets, the more they are in the driver’s seats.
They say just enough [in public] … to avoid accounability for their unwillingness to address this [crisis]. They think the longer this goes on, the more the Trump administration will make a deal [with Democrats] to get out of out it.
The ideological drive is strong. For example, a June 5 statement from Democratic Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Ben Cardin (D-MD), and Tim Kaine (D-VA) declared that Americans have an obligation to provide sanctuary to foreigners temporarily living in the United States if they are facing “repression” at home:
We have an obligation to take action and give needed predictability and safety to people who are in an uncertain status. We need to stand up for the American values of compassion and diversity that have made this country stronger.
Meanwhile, the crisis is pushing Sanders and other Democrats towards the pro-migration groups. For example, Sanders is calling for faster processing of migrants’ claims for asylum, even though any process that provides asylum to more migrants will encourage more migration. Sanders told CNN:
What we need is a border policy that is humane that, among other things, expedites the asylum process by bringing in a whole lot more legal staff and judges, so that people do not have to wait …
You don’t demonize desperate people. We deal with it in a rational and humane way.
CNN’s Dana Bash declined to ask Sanders if migrants should be sent home when they failed to win asylum.