By William B. Turner
It never hurts to state the obvious. Republicans are in a full court press to try to pin the current shut down on the Democrats, but actually, they are entirely responsible for it.
Lots of people are now digging up various old, embarrassing tweets in which the so called president blames previous shut downs entirely on the president, back when he could ding President Obama, but of course, being Donald Trump and lacking any capacity for consistency or any sense of shame, he now has no trouble trying to escape his share of the blame for the current impasse.
The Hill has an article describing competing versions of negotiations between Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer and the so called president. Other reports indicate that the crazy “conservatives” in the House of Representatives wanted further increases in the already engorged defense budget as the price for their support, so the Republicans had their own problems getting their caucus on board.
But that is a ridiculous policy goal. The Democrats want Congress to provide some legislative certainty to the DACA policy that President Obama implemented via executive order, and which Trump has now threatened in his usual capricious and arbitrary manner. DACA, of course, stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. Law enforcement resources are always finite. It is literally impossible for the Department of Justice (DOJ) to investigate and prosecute every violation of federal law. It only makes sense, as much as possible, to make enforcement priorities explicit and rational. All Obama did was to decide that persons who entered the country unlawfully because their parents brought them here as children, but are no apparent threat to the Republic – have not committed any crimes and are otherwise trying to become productive citizens – should not take up DOJ resources in the form of attempts to deport them to their countries of origin, which they may well have essentially zero connection to anyway.
Republicans are pleased to reduce this to flippant claims about “illegal aliens” in their attempts to smear the Democrats. Such is “conservatism” U.S. style.
In order to participate in the DACA program, applicants had to give a lot of information about themselves to the DOJ. Attorneys call this “reliance to your detriment,” when you take action expecting to be able to rely on the good faith compliance with an agreement by another party, who then reneges or otherwise fails to follow through. Under Trump, the DOJ now threatens to use the information DACA applicants handed over voluntarily in order to try to deport them. This is perfidious in the extreme.
Congress could stop the DOJ from deporting any DACA participants by passing a statute making the program the official policy of the U.S. government. Doing so is a high priority for Democrats. Using the situation to score cheap political points is a high priority for Republicans.
What Schumer – not the pathological liar – is saying is that he agreed to give the so called president and his Party what they wanted – increased defense spending (stupid) and money for Trump’s wall (stupid) – in return for a statute making DACA official policy (smart). But Trump, as Schumer put it, couldn’t take yes for an answer. As Schumer put it, trying to negotiate with Trump is like negotiating with Jello. The art of the deal indeed.
So, if one ignores the political posturing on both sides – no reason for the Democrats to disarm unilaterally – it is abundantly clear that the Republicans are as exclusively responsible for the shut down as it is possible for any group of humans to be exclusively responsible for anything.
But they don’t like government, so it is foolish to expect them do to it well.