Trump bucks the trend, does the right thing for Dreamers

Trump bucks the trend, does the right thing for Dreamers

Wednesday night, the Democratic minority leaders of the House and Senate, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Sen. Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerOvernight Health Care: Schumer calls for tying ObamaCare fix to children's health insurance | Puerto Rico's water woes worsen | Dems plead for nursing home residents' right to sue Crying on TV doesn't qualify Kimmel to set nation's gun agenda Trump knocks ‘fake’ news coverage of his trip to Puerto Rico MORE (D-N.Y.), announced they had cut a deal with Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpIvanka Trump pens op-ed on kindergartners learning tech Bharara, Yates tamp down expectations Mueller will bring criminal charges Overnight Cybersecurity: Equifax security employee left after breach | Lawmakers float bill to reform warrantless surveillance | Intel leaders keeping collusion probe open MORE to protect the Dreamers and enshrine Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) protections into law, in exchange for a robust border security package that excludes building the physical wall.

Wow. Democrats and Dreamers were ecstatic, albeit confused. Republicans were just dumbfounded.

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Thursday morning, everyone tried to make sense of what happened. In typical, knee-jerk reaction from the Bannon-Coulter-King peanut gallery, the reaction was swift, harsh and typically anti-immigrant.

 

There were accusations of Trump betraying and destroying his base, headlines screaming “Amnesty Don" and hysterical tweets about how Trump supporters have already started burning "Make America Great Again" hats.

As predicted, what followed was a confusing set of tweets and statements from the president trying to walk back the deal but also trying to stay on the right side of protecting the nearly-1 million Dreamers in this country that Trump put in danger of deportation by rescinding DACA.

Trump tweeted Thursday morning that no deal had been reached on DACA. Later, he tweeted that no one really wants to deport these kids — a tweet that could have been sent by President Obama. Trump’s spokesperson said that there would be no amnesty, only a long and complicated path toward legal citizenship.

In short, the Democrats were able to cut a deal with a president who is hungry for a win, no matter how he gets it. This is also a president who is clearly looking elsewhere other than his own Republicans on the Hill for a legislative victory.

It seems even the Republican president has realized that the Republican-led House and Senate have no idea how to govern and get things done.

Democrats welcome the opportunity to get this done for the Dreamers and for America. We are willing to put irony aside and even look the other way on the hypocrisy this president has demonstrated time and again on the issue of immigration and DACA.

In short, Trump’s history on this issue has led his most ardent anti-immigrant supporters to believe he would be with them every step of the way. They did not calculate that he is interested in his own wins and his own positive press coverage.

The slams in the media Trump received after rescinding DACA informed him that he needed to make this deal. Moreover, politically, the majority of Republicans on the Hill, many of whom will be up for reelection in 2018, understand that the Dreamer issue is one that could be political kryptonite for them if they do not vote to do the right thing for these young Americans.

Three-quarters of Trump’s own voters believe that the Dreamers should be allowed to stay in this country — the only one that they know — and continue to contribute to our great nation.

Additionally, the deal includes robust investments in border security, which, contrary to Republican belief, Democrats have always supported, including in the Comprehensive Immigration Reform bill of 2013 that included up to $40 billion in smart border security investments. Democrats just don't support a physical wall, which was never viable anyway.

So the focus should stay on the Dreamers. These kids are the epitome of the American dream. They embody the greatness of this country, which was founded and built by immigrants. It's a place where anyone, no matter their background, economic status, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation or ethnicity can achieve their goals if they're willing to work hard. 

There is a student at UC Merced — the university with the most Dreamers enrolled — that is working on cutting-edge technology for water drones that will help farmers and agricultural companies more efficiently grow their crops. His parents pick vegetables in the fields to help make ends meet and to give him the supplies he needs for college.

These are the kids who are at risk. This is why most Americans agree that we should let them stay. This is why Trump cut the deal, and this is why Republicans understand that they need to do something legislatively on this and support the deal the president cut with the Democrats.

So, as confounding as this may be for most Americans, we should celebrate that the Democrats have found a way to actually help govern in a situation where they do not control the White House, the House or the Senate. They do have the interests of the majority of Americans in mind, however, and they do understand that most Americans support what they are trying to do.  

As much as it pains me to say, I am glad that Trump is bucking his party to do the right thing, even if he is doing so selfishly with his own interests and headlines in mind. If that means the Dreamers get to stay here and live out their fruitful lives, then we should all celebrate this agreement.

But it is only the beginning, and we know this president loves to change his mind. Let’s hope his love of winning, his priority for good press and the fact that he knows many in his base are still with him will be enough to see this deal through — finally.

Maria Cardona is a principal at the Dewey Square Group, a Democratic strategist and a CNN/CNN Español political commentator. Follow her on Twitter @MariaTCardona.