Immigration compromise leaves Trump walled in

By unveiling a deal to end the government shutdown standoff, at its heart an exchange of border wall funding for extended protections for illegal immigrants and foreign nationals, President Trump took one step forward on compromise and two steps back on satisfying his base.

The deal Trump pitched Saturday afternoon included extensions for recipients of the Temporary Protected Status and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, programs in return for $5.7 billion for additional barriers at the southern border.

While House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., beat Trump to the punch, calling the plan a "nonstarter" for the Democrat-controlled lower chamber, Trump's strongest allies who have long championed his hard-line immigration policies felt betrayed.

Conservative author and pundit Ann Coulter tweeted, "Trump proposes amnesty. We voted for Trump and got Jeb!" The Drudge Report, a popular conservative aggregation website, trumpeted a banner that read, "Trump dangles amnesty."

"A Big Beautiful Concrete Border Wall will be a monument to the Rule of Law, the sovereignty of the USA, & @RealDonaldTrump," tweeted Rep. Steve King , R-Iowa. "If DACA Amnesty is traded for $5.7 billion(1/5 of a wall), wouldn’t be enough illegals left in America to trade for the remaining 4/5. NO AMNESTY 4 a wall!"

In a series of tweets Sunday morning, Trump pleaded his case to the Right while also warning Democrats not to laugh off his offer. "No, Amnesty is not a part of my offer," he said Sunday morning. "It is a 3 year extension of DACA. Amnesty will be used only on a much bigger deal, whether on immigration or something else. Likewise there will be no big push to remove the 11,000,000 plus people who are here illegally-but be careful Nancy!"

Throughout the day, Trump also furiously retweeted a slew of GOP lawmakers, actor James Woods, and influential conservative radio host Mark Levin, all of whom praised his efforts to end the shutdown, which enters its 31st day on Monday and is affecting important policy portfolios at the departments of Homeland Security, Justice, State, and Treasury.

Trump's offensive will begin in the Senate, where Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., announced he will take up legislation next week incorporating the deal Trump outlined. The measure requires 60 votes to advance, which means Republicans will need the support of seven Democrats to pass the measure, assuming no GOP lawmakers vote against it. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has already said he will rally his party to oppose the plan.

But there is some hope for Trump.

At least one Senate Democrat seems to be taking Trump's offer on immigration reform as a sign an end to the partial government shutdown may be near. West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, a moderate Democrat who won re-election last November in a state Trump carried by 42 points in 2016, hasn't said he will support the GOP-led push. But he did say Saturday evening that he's looking forward to working with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to "end this shameful shutdown." "I'm hopeful the President's statement tonight will allow us to immediately reopen gov, put WVians back to work & start negotiating long-term immigration reform," Manchin said in a tweet.

The spending package, which could be scheduled for a vote as early as Tuesday, would reopen the parts of the federal government closed by the ongoing shutdown until Oct. 1 and allocate $12 billion for disaster aid, about $4 billion more than that proposed last year by House Republicans, a congressional aide confirmed to the Washington Examiner. The measure — based on seven appropriations bills already considered by a bipartisan, bicameral group of lawmakers — will allow $5.7 billion to be spent on Trump's southern border impediments and implement the series of immigration concessions suggested by the president.

Aides hope the disaster relief funding will be an added sweetener to entice enough Democrats to help push it through. However, the vote could be delayed until Thursday if McConnell fails to convince Democrats to let him substitute the text of a House-passed measure with his proposal.

If Trump's shutdown gambit plays out successfully in the Senate, the larger question remains: Will Pelosi and rank-and-file Democrats feel the pressure and play ball?

Pelosi said Trump's plan was “a compilation of several previously rejected initiatives, each of which is unacceptable and in total, do not represent a good faith effort to restore certainty to people’s lives." She particularly lamented how the proposal does not achieve what Democrats have long sought for the "Dreamers," which is a pathway to citizenship or permanent legal status.

Trump tweeted Sunday that Pelosi is being unreasonable because she is "petrified" of her allies on the Left. Meanwhile, the Washington Post reported House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., has told Trump that he thinks Pelosi relishes the opportunity to embarrass him.

Democrats have said they won't deal on border security until spending bills are passed, as 800,000 federal workers are furloughed or working without pay. If they hold the line, Trump may be the one to fold under the weight of public opinion.

Polls show the majority of Americans blame Trump for the shutdown. “The president is very much aware he’s losing the public opinion war on this one,” one senior administration official told the Post. “He looks at the numbers.”

As the American people's patience runs thin, the Trump administration is increasingly feeling the squeeze. Vice President Mike Pence hit the Sunday morning talk show circuit to defend his boss and even said he was open to further negotiations. “The legislative process is a negotiation," Pence said on "Fox News Sunday."

However, Pence struggled to answer the question of whether Republicans are using the government shutdown as leverage for Trump's southern border wall.

"You could open the government tomorrow. The House has passed bills to open the government tomorrow, why don't you sign them and open the government, and then you can negotiate about this?" host Chris Wallace asked Pence.

Pence's response belied what the polls say. "Well, because — I mean, you know, frankly, Chris, what the American people want us to do is to work on the priorities and the American people want us to secure the border."
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