It’s often been reported that Donald Trump does not like to read much. His attention span is well-known to be a bit on the short side. So, to ask him to read a long, lawyerly written text on comprehensive immigration reform is a stretch, to say the least. But, perhaps someone on his staff could take a look and give the president an excellent summary of what exactly Senate Bill 744 is all about.
Ok, it’s a stretch. But the truth is, with the whole mess going on with the partial government shutdown, and Trump’s upcoming speech tonight about the so-called national security crisis at the border, the solution to all of this could reside in this bill. Or, at least it could be a starting point.
The bill, passed by a bi-partisan vote of 68-32, contains many components that should pique Trump’s interest. There are billions in border security … even for additional fencing … supposedly the main reason for the shutdown in the first place. There’s an employer component. There’s an e-verify component. In other words, it’s comprehensive. Many of the issues we face at the border are dealt with in this bill. If the president of the United States is earnest about fixing this problem, there’s no better place to begin than with this legislation.
But, as stated in a companion post, just released on this site earlier today, it’s highly unlikely this president is interested in a real solution. The political advantage he gets by raising this issue over and over with his base is undeniable. But if he really wanted to make his mark, and he wanted to cement something positive for an otherwise pathetic legacy so far, he’d use the bully-pulpit and declare his desire to really fix the situation at the border in an entirely comprehensive way.
On Morning Joe earlier today, Senator Joe Manchin suggested this same solution. While Manchin at times has disappointed his fellow Democrats, he’s spot on here. Manchin is right to say it’s a starting point. How about passing continuing resolutions to fund the government, then immediately start the process for a comprehensive fix to immigration? Sounds like a great idea. Too bad it’s probably not going to happen.
The irony here is that if John Boehner had brought Senate Bill 744 to the House floor for a vote, it very well could have passed, with the help of most of the Democrats. But, he refused to do so. He could not control his own caucus because part of the bill dealt with a path to citizenship for the millions of immigrants who were already in the country, illegally. Yes, the “amnesty” argument was too much for Boehner to overcome.
But just think if the bill would have passed. It was nearly six years ago, and it’s entirely possible some of the same thorny issues we’re dealing with today would have already been fixed by now. And, quite possibly, Donald Trump would have never even materialized as a viable presidential candidate. After all, railing on illegal immigrants and arguing that we needed a wall is how he became an icon to his base of supporters. If a viable fix had been in place? No Donald Trump.
The point here though is that there may be a solution. Here’s hoping that Senate Bill 744 rises from the dead. What do we have to lose?