In the Bonus Q&A of a recent Rhode Island Public Radio Political Roundtable, Democrat Congressman David Cicilline responded to a question by RIPR commentator Scott MacKay in a way that affirms the suspicions that many of us have had about the thinking of federal politicians, especially on immigration and especially among Democrats. MacKay asked, “Would you be willing to appropriate federal money to build Trump’s wall in exchange for taking care of the Dreamers?” Cicilline responded as follows (emphasis added):
You know, the proposal that Senator Schumer put before the president, that he has now withdrawn is something that I think it would be challenging for most Democrats to support. I support border security. I think that will obviously mean repairing some of the existing wall, maybe building some fences. It ought to be done in a smart, efficient, effective way. The president’s own chief of staff said a wall is not the way to secure our border. So, it’s probably not the best way to go forward.
Although, Louis Gutierrez said the other day: We ought to vote for the wall, take care of the Dreamers and then when we get back into the majority, in November, we can repeal the wall. That’s not a bad strategy.
As the recent cliché goes, this is why we got Trump. Part of the reason that immigration has become such a challenging issue is that the political Right has known for decades, now, that any deal must implement the stronger security that they seek before any of the laxity that the political Left wants can be done. That’s because we know that any sort of amnesty or relief will be done immediately, and then the federal government will never get around to implementing greater security. All that sequence does is send the message worldwide that the U.S. will ultimately bend its rules for people who can get here while leaving open the gaps to enter the country.
The lesson applies more broadly, too. We know from experience, and now from Cicilline’s own words, that his party nationally is not interested in fair negotiation and good faith negotiations. They have political objectives, and any promises, rules, and a sense of shared nationality are nothing in the face of those goals.