“Trump is the wild card” in ongoing Capitol Hill legislative negotiations on immigration reform and border security, said Chris Chmielenski, Director of Content & Activism for NumbersUSA.
Chmielenski made his remarks during a Tuesday interview on SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Tonight with co-hosts Rebecca Mansour and Joel Pollak.
President Donald Trump’s position on amnesty proposals related to the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy is unclear, said Chmielenski.
“Trump is the wild card because we don’t know what he’s gonna sign or what he’ll threaten to veto,” said Chmielenski:
The thing that scares us the most in the Senate, right now, are some of these so-called “skinny proposals” that are being offered; a three-year authorization of DACA in exchange for a couple billion dollars worth of wall funding. It’s a temporary fix for DACA, and then it’ll have to be renewed a few years down the line, and assumedly it’ll get paired again with more border funding, so you’ll have this continuous flow of border money coming in.
Chmielenski said Trump’s clarity is on three issues: chain migration, the diversity visa lottery, and border security.
“Trump has drawn a line in the sand [on] chain migration, the visa lottery, and border security,” said Chmielenski. “But, if you’ve given that offer — an amnesty for DACA recipients plus funding for a border wall — will he sign it? He hasn’t come out and said that, although he’s tweeted several times that any DACA deal must include border security. … So that’s what we don’t know. What will the White House do should the Senate or the House pass legislation and it ends up getting to his desk. So I completely think that Trump is the wild card here.”
Trump should demand an end to chain migration and the diversity visa lottery in an immigration reform and border security legislative deal, said Chmielenski: “It would be great for him to come out and say, ‘Nope. Any proposal has to end chain migration and it has to end the visa lottery.’ That would be great, but obviously, he hasn’t said it yet. So until he says that, we don’t know what he’s thinking.”
Democrats damaged themselves politically by prioritizing the welfare of illegal aliens over American citizens during January’s “shutdown argument,” surmised Chmielenski. Republicans, conversely, learned of a political advantage.
“I think Republicans realize that they won that shutdown argument back in January because Democrats tried to shut down the government over DACA and it wasn’t popular with the American voters. So I think they realize, even though maybe they don’t support the Donald Trump line on immigration, they do realize it’s popular with American voters and it can work for them, especially when November rolls around.”
Democrats may further damage themselves via their opposition to popular proposals regarding ending chain migration and the diversity visa lottery and implementation of a national mandate for use of E-Verify, said Chmielenski: “[Democrats] can lose the most with some of these votes, if they have votes on E-Verify, if they have votes on chain migration, if they have votes on the visa lottery. A lot of those issues are very popular with American voters, but we know that the Democrats will probably do everything they can to vote against them; to vote them down.”
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) should bring forward a House vote on the Securing America’s Future Act (SAF), championed by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), said Chmielenski. Ryan’s hostility toward immigration reduction proposals, he speculated, makes such a move unlikely.
“I understand Paul Ryan not wanting that, just because we all know what Paul Ryan wants,” said Chmielenski:
Paul Ryan wants more immigration coming to the United States. That’s what his position has been, and it’s been that for quite a long time. … Paul Ryan doesn’t want to put [SAF] on the floor, he wants to wait and see what the Senate does because he truly believes that if the Senate does pass something, it’s going to be much, much, much weaker than what the Goodlatte bill does, and he’d rather put that on the floor than [SAF]. So it’s understandable from the perspective of Paul Ryan, not that I agree with what he’s doing.
Breitbart News Tonight airs Monday through Friday on SiriusXM’s Patriot channel 125 from 9:00 p.m. to midnight Eastern (6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Pacific).
Follow Robert Kraychik on Twitter @rkraychik.