So, the media manipulation by Donald Trump about The Wall and the Dreamers has begun. Last Wednesday, Donald Trump dropped in, on an ongoing press conference with John Kelly at the Whitehouse before he left for Davos. Trump is a media manipulator and his “drop in” to the ongoing conference was orchestrated to rehabilitate his public persona. Trump touched on many topics, including the Mueller investigation that has many talking heads talking about what it all means. Today, I’d like to focus on two issues: The Wall and the Dreamers. As you read Trump’s comments, you can see how the “promises” are being massaged into the reality of what will be the outcomes.
As a reminder, Donald Trump has argued, and promised his base, that there would be no pathway to citizenship for the Dreamers. Although Trump has said he is sympathetic to their cause, his core base has demanded that Trump not give them a pathway towards citizenship. This is a typical immigration rhetoric that is designed to keep immigrants out of the country.
Without a pathway to citizenship, the dreamers are subject to being expelled from the country when Trump, or any other administration finds it useful to use them again as political fodder. Those arguing against a pathway to citizenship argue that it gives the Dreamers an unfair advantage over others. They also argue that a citizenship pathway encourages other immigrants to come to the country without documents.
But the true underlining fear is that a pathway to citizenship gives the Dreamers the ability to help their parents and their siblings to get documented. As citizens, they would be able to “sponsor” their family members. That is the underlining fear of a pathway to citizenship for those opposed to it.
The “chain migration” debate proves this.
Like most immigration reform attempts, many politicos, on both sides of the isles, feign empathy for the Dreamers offering solutions, many times absent a pathway to citizenship. Trump’s base has demanded no pathway towards citizenship. During the last government shutdown, Trump backed away from tying the Dreamer solution to funding for The Wall because he soon realized that he would lose his core base if he proceeded with the deal he offered Chuck Schumer.
As a result, we ended up with a government shutdown. Although the Republicans and Trump have argued that they won, and Schumer capitulated, the Dreamer issue will once again become central to funding for the government should a pathway towards a solution not be publicly embraced before February 8, when the government again runs out of money.
The Dreamer issue will be central to the next round of government funding if a solution isn’t in the works. Along with the Dreamers is Trump’s promised wall along the U.S.-México border. Both issues now go together. Trump needs the victory of The Wall because he has staked his whole reputation on it.
On Friday, Trump further validated his need for The Wall by offering the Democrats a citizenship pathway for the Dreamers in exchange for funding The Wall.
Read between the lines, give me funding for The Wall, all of it up front, so that I can pacify my core base.
Donald Trump has now come to the realization that although he needs his core base, he also needs to govern for a larger audience, if he is to avoid another government shutdown and the possibility of saving some of his legacy.
Thus, the carefully crafted wordsmithing has begun.
Let’s look at Trump’s comments to reporters on Wednesday.
First, the Dreamers.
Donald Trump is clearly offering a pathway towards citizenship for the Dreamers. “Over a period of 10-12 years, somebody does a great job, they’ve worked hard” giving the Dreamers an “incentive” in the form of citizenship. The “10-12 years” is crafted to mollify the core supporters with the argument that they won’t have to deal with the Dreamer parents or siblings for 10-12 years giving the Trump government enough time to deport them all. That’s the reason for the 10-12-year period.
This allows Trump to save face with his core constituency and offer the Democrats what they are demanding for funding the government and The Wall. The Democrats cannot argue against a pathway towards citizenship for the Dreamers.
Most important is that the Dreamers will be offered either, a 10-12-year temporary work permits or a Green Card which means that they are subject to deportation immediately after committing a crime. That’s where the “good job” and “incentive” rhetoric comes into play.
As an aside, as an immigrant I do not find the 10-12-year period and the requirement to stay out of trouble a problem, but the threat of deportation against the parents and siblings as part of the immigration rhetoric to keep the xenophobes under control bother me. It’s the ongoing use of immigrants as political fodder.
Look at my Friday article for a synopsis of how immigration law created “chain migration” and the “lottery system”.
Now, The Wall.
Donald Trump told the reporters that “we’re going to get the wall,” but he added the caveat that “we’re going to get great border security.” Trump is setting the argument that The Wall will not be the “magnificent wall” from sea-to-shining-sea he promised his core constituency. Trump went on, “when you have a mountain, you don’t build a wall, ok?” See the wiggle room? But, Trump had more, “when you have a river that is un-crossable, that you cannot cross, you don’t build a wall, ok?”
Trump is adding wiggle room for other devices/structures besides the wall. You’ve already seen talk from other Whitehouse officials about “rivers,” “mountains” and “fences.” Those are code words for we built the Great Wall around the U.S. mountains, rivers, lakes and all sorts of other technology to create the illusion that Trump delivered on his promise of The Wall.
Trump clearly knows that he needs to create an illusion for his core base. Trump told the reporters, “I can tell you this: if you don’t’ have a wall, you don’t have DACA.” See how he is distracting away from the fact that the “magnificent wall” is now a wall here and there? Schumer is the cherry and the DACA connection is the distraction.
But Trump is not done yet, “we’re saving hundreds of millions of dollars, hundreds of billions of dollars, by building the wall.”
By demanding money for The Wall upfront for DACA, Trump is creating the situation where he addresses the need for a DACA solution to avert another government shutdown while keeping his core base at bay.
You’ll hear things like we got funding for The Wall, conveniently dropping “some” from the factual sentence. More important is that The Wall will be a mixture of fences, a few pieces of a wall, technology, rivers, lakes and mountains in the end. Trump will pretend that he built The Wall and some his core will buy into the lie, because Donald Trump told them so.
Remember that México was going to pay for the wall? Well the reality slapped Trump across his silly face and now he’s trying to convince the taxpayers that The Wall is going to save them millions, or billions. It’s part of the see-this-hand-while-I-hide the truth from you game Donald Trump likes to play.
So, there you have it, not only is The Wall not going to be the sea-to-shining-sea wall Trump promised you but now it’s, you the taxpayer who will pay for it.
I hope it was all worth it to you, those of you who voted for Trump.