In an interview with Fox News that aired Thursday morning, President Trump said that while he was eager to get an immigration bill on his desk that would move his agenda forward, help the Dreamers, and get this debate off Congress’s plate, he was not willing to give away the farm in order to achieve progress. He told host Brian Kilmeade that any bill that reached his desk would need to meet some basic criteria before he would even think of signing it.
“Unless it includes a wall – and I mean a real wall – and unless it includes very strong border security, there will be no approvals from me,” he said. “I can tell you there is a mood right now for very strong border security.”
That said, Trump allowed that he was unhappy with the last spending bill that only set aside $1.6 billion for the wall. He said that was a good start but not enough to accomplish the extraordinary goals he set for himself, nor to live up to the promises he made the American people on the campaign trail.
“It’s time to get the whole package,” he said.
Trump expressed his frustration with many of our current immigration laws, including those that call for border agents to “catch and release” immigrants as well as misguided policies like chain migration and the diversity visa lottery.
“It’s crazy,” he said, “we have the worst immigration laws in the entire world by far. The whole system is corrupt. It’s horrible.”
Meanwhile over in Congress, the so-called “discharge petition” is still circulating, and it picked up another two Republican signatures on Thursday. Tom Reed of New York and Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania signed the petition along with several Democrats, bringing the total number of names to 212. If supporters can push that number to 218, it will force a House debate and vote on four existing immigration bills, only two of which – the ones that do NOTHING to protect the border – stand a chance of passing. In other words, the Republicans who are signing this petition are only helping the Democrats’ cause.
It’s difficult to see how Trump can get his “whole package” from a Congress that is primarily made up of politicians (Rs and Ds) who do NOT want a wall along the southern border, much less an end to various legal immigration schemes. The only thing that’s going to make a difference is significant public pressure on Washington, and that’s just not materializing right now.