Schumer's $25 Billion Offer Was Never in Earnest

Schumer's $25 Billion Offer Was Never in Earnest
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite
Schumer's $25 Billion Offer Was Never in Earnest
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite
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Most everyone’s heard of the oath given at trials that compels a witness to “tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.”  It should be noted that the oath purposely distinguishes the gulf between “the truth” and the “whole truth.”  That’s because, in many cases, a partial truth is also a partial lie. 

This is exactly the case with the all-too-common assertion that Sen. Chuck Schumer once offered President Trump $25 billion in border wall funds in exchange for legalizing the nation’s roughly 1.8 million DACA recipients and 3.5 million Dreamers, but the White House opposed it.  Well, that’s the truth, but it is certainly far from the whole truth. And as the Yiddish proverb says, “A half-truth is a whole lie.”

The actual measure put forth by Schumer’s office in February 2018 offered the wall money in exchange for the aforementioned amnesty, but then the senator’s staff inserted a hand-written provision that would have restricted immigration enforcement. This exclusively protected violent criminals and terrorists while also – and this is an enormous “also” – instituted an official enforcement holiday – amnesty – at the border and in the interior of the nation for any and everyone who would arrive in the U.S. in the following five months, through June 2018.   

Had the president agreed to this, it would have created an amnesty loophole large enough to drive a bus through and would have triggered a caravan from Central America that would have dwarfed anything we can imagine. Of course the president, or anyone who cares about immigration enforcement or public safety in this country, rejected the sneaky offer. And Schumer’s staff knew they would. 

So why would the Senate minority leader torpedo a DACA/Dreamer amnesty – something the Democratic Party has publicly sought for more than a decade?  The answer is that Democratic leadership recognizes that the nation’s DACA class is of more use to them as a political pawn against Republicans and a way to motivate their base.   

Because of this motive, Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have now created a stalemate with border wall funding in Congress. Even with Trump’s new proposal of a border wall for three-year amnesty and an administration compromise of a mere $5.7 billion down payment for wall construction (with a price tag for total construction needing to be at least $15 billion), Democratic leadership still hasn’t budged.

And the hypocrisy stinks to high heaven.  Pelosi’s Napa Valley mansion is surrounded by a wall – the very thing that she says is “immoral” -- and Schumer supported building 700 miles of border fencing, meant to deter illegal immigration, in 2006.  Yet he remains opposed to a border wall that is meant to accomplish the same goal. It is apparent that political pettiness is at hand. 

Regardless of your position on illegal immigration, there is an unquestionable humanitarian and public safety crisis going on right now along the Southern border.  Thirty-one percent of women and 17 percent of men who have been incentivized to illegally enter the U.S. because of our lax asylum laws have been sexually abused. Two young Central American children have perished in the last few months while making the dangerous journey to this country and  90 percent of heroin coming into the U.S. enters over the Southwest border.

If Pelosi and Schumer continue to stonewall any attempts to negotiate a path forward, then they’re turning their backs on 800,000 furloughed federal workers and forcing the president to consider a declaration of a national emergency. That’s something I think most people would rather avoid.

Dave Ray is director of communications at the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR).

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