The Wall Street Journal editorial board published a furious tirade Tuesday in response to President Trump’s “America First” immigration proposals, arguing that the proposals do not do enough to make open-borders Democrats happy and would lead to a “humanitarian calamity” if illegal immigrants are sent home.
“Does President Trump want a bipartisan deal on immigration, or is his talk merely for cable-TV show?” the outlet, which caters to a big business readership, wrote.
Trump’s proposal, believed to have been drafted by nationalist adviser Stephen Miller, would shield illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. as children and eligible for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in return for a host of measures demanded by conservatives. Those include funding for the wall on the southern border, mandated use of E-Verify by employers, an increase in immigration agents, greater restrictions on which family members immigrants can bring, and a stripping of funds from so-called “sanctuary cities.”
Trump had cozied up to the Democrats shortly after announcing the repeal of the Obama-era DACA program in September — setting a six-month time limit for its expiration and urging Congress to make a deal. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) indicated that Trump had suggested funding for the wall had been jettisoned by Trump as a firm term, replaced instead by a vague “border security.” But the proposals announced late Sunday indicate a return to Trump’s “America First” campaign stance that helped him win the election in 2016.
However, the Journal described the demands as “everything that the restrictionist right has ever sought” and making an agreement “well-nigh impossible.”
The article pivots to its concern for cheap labor for big business, claiming that “tight visa caps” are sending high-tech jobs abroad and agricultural production to Mexico. Oddly, it claims that limiting chain migration for family members would encourage more illegal immigration — the argument apparently being that America should just let in potential illegal immigrants before they break the law.
As Breitbart News reported, this argument from the center-right outfit is in line with that being pushed by a number of left-wing media and advocacy groups claiming that such demands are “poison pills” because they will upset Democrats.
“It’s hard to know if Mr. Trump intends all this as a serious negotiating offer, or merely as poison pills,” the editorial board writes. The case for the latter is that he is demanding money for the wall, which he knows is a nonstarter with Democrats.”
The board essentially is arguing that Trump should give up on a central campaign promise because Democrats do not like it. However, it later says that he would be much better off going for the old talking point of a “virtual wall”:
If Mr. Trump feels he needs a symbolic wall victory, he’d be smarter to settle for a virtual wall with drones, aerostat blimps and towers with infrared sensors to fill gaps in fencing where the border patrol has difficulty accessing. Newer technology has facial recognition features that can capture biometric data. A virtual wall could be installed within months, not years, and it can be continually improved.
If such a wall is a real possibility and would actually work better than a real wall, it is unclear why the Journal thinks Democrats would fund this, either.
But after claiming for much of the article that Democrats would scupper the deal, the board admits that such demands would “have no chance of passing no matter which party controls Congress” — essentially conceding that the problem is not just the Democrats.
It finishes with the warning that if illegal immigrants are not granted amnesty via a DACA replacement, Democrats will “blame” Republicans for their deportation — despite this being a campaign promise from the president.
“This would be a humanitarian calamity, and a monumental lost political opportunity. Mr. Trump needs legislative victories to show he can govern, but his immigration bait and switch may guarantee another failure.”
The WSJ article is the latest in a broad attack from pro-big business interests. Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s lobbying group has reportedly been lobbying top Republicans to prevent President Trump from including pro-American reforms as part of the amnesty for DACA recipients.
Adam Shaw is a Breitbart News politics reporter based in New York. Follow Adam on Twitter: @AdamShawNY.