Some pro-Trump conservatives who back the president’s immigration policy criticized his sweeteners for Democrats on Saturday. Rep. Steve King, an Iowa Republican who recently sparked bipartisan condemnation for racist remarks about white supremacy, tweeted: “NO AMNESTY 4 a wall!”
Firebrand media character Ann Coulter also tweeted that “Trump proposes amnesty.” She added: “We voted for Trump and got Jeb!” She referenced former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, a 2016 GOP presidential hopeful who dropped to Trump after he suggested more centrist immigration policy. Meanwhile, right-leaning radio host Erick Erickson stated the first reactions from his listeners revealed conservatives were “livid.”
Trump said Saturday that he expected some Democrats to support the strategy. But, none of the party’s senators — not even the handful of more centrist voices from pro-Trump nations — had supported the proposal soon after the president’s remarks.
The possible rejection still leaves uncertain a route to reopening about a quarter of the authorities. In December, Pelosi refused a possible plan to finance the wall, in exchange for legal protections or a potential path to citizenship for those immigrants.
When Republicans held both chambers of Congress this past year, a broader agreement to resolve the two issues fell apart. Trump refused a deal that included $25 billion in boundary wall funding, together with legal standing and a potential path to citizenship for as much as 1.8 million undocumented immigrants. Lawmakers have sought a remedy to protect the immigrants for decades, and made it more of a priority when Trump attempted to terminate the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals in 2017.
“There seemed to be very little new” in Trump’s address Saturday, said Carl Tobias, the Williams Chair in law at the University of Richmond School of Law. Since the Supreme Court declined to take up Trump’s decision to finish DACA in its present term, meaning it might stay intact for almost a year longer, Trump’s three-year extension offer “means less,” he told CNBC in an email.
“His attempts to appear reasonable are not very persuasive when he offers so little that is new,” Tobias said. “If McConnell brings up a bill with these ideas, it may not even pass in the Senate and surely not in the House. The shutdown promises to continue.”
A conversation this past year about immigrants with temporary protected status in part contributed to discussions collapsing. Durbin said Trump referred to Haiti and African nations as “s—hole” nations.
The president later claimed that the senator “blew DACA.”
— CNBC’s Javier David contributed to the report