Why Trump Will Lose the White House Because of Immigration

June 19, 2018 11:46 am
by David Jakeman

Immigration policy has provided Democrats with a common cause to unite a divided party, and it might just be enough to take Trump down. Immigration policy observers and immigration attorneys have not seen this much attention paid to immigration policies in a long time.

The election of Donald Trump to the U.S. presidency was shocking. Some still wake up every day wondering if it’s all just some alternate reality. In this post-election haze, if we can call it that one year later, the Democrats have struggled to find their footing in how best to combat a slippery president whose party controls both houses of Congress. But Trump’s immigration policies, especially his infamous one of separating children from their parents, may have finally provided Democrats with something they have lacked post-Trump: a unifying rallying cry.

Democratic Woes

While there has definitely been a lot of frustration with Trump, the Democratic Party has struggled to know how best to tackle the Teflon President. Those on the party’s left-ward fringe have seen the 2016 Clinton campaign as a sign of failure, indicating the need for more radical change within the party. Other Democrats say that a push too far to the left would further alienate potential voters in the Rust Belt who switched allegiance this past election, especially working-class whites.

The Clintons, both Hillary and Bill, have also not helped the party move on from the election by maintaining a place in the spotlight, distracting from the Trump administration’s incompetence and deceitfulness. So much so that many high profile Democrats wish that the two would just lie low for the next four years so that the Democratic party has a chance to unseat the president. While there have been many high profile attempts to create a movement of resistance to Trump, many efforts seem to have lost some steam. This is why the Trump administration’s separation of immigrant children from their parents may provide the fuel necessary to sustain a true resistance to Trump, not just in the immigration arena, but in wider political elections as well.

Immigration Enforcement Criticism

The Trump administration’s separation of families has drawn criticism across a broad spectrum, and it’s not just Seattle and Portland immigration attorney activists. Even many conservatives have found it to be deplorable. Former first lady, and Republican, Laura Bush recently penned an op-ed calling the Trump administration policy immoral, saying that separating families coming over the border broke her heart. Conservative columnist for the New York Times Ross Douthat called the Trump administration’s actions the “wickedest thing the Trump administration has done so far.” He then went on to say that you can tell how bad it is because the Trump administration has not been willing to directly defend their actions on their merits.

Even Republican members of Congress seeking reelection have the jitters about Trump administration actions. The fact that there has been some traction on an immigration bill that would provide some relief for detained families as well as DACA candidates in the country shows that Republicans know the optics of current policies are going to make reelection difficult in swing districts. The passage of a bill is unlikely to be signed by Trump, since it would alienate his core base, which is already calling the potential bill amnesty for undocumented immigrants. (In true Trump fashion, he first said he would certainly not sign it, and then later said he would, so where he stands on the issue is impossible to tell. Yet another example of why it has been so difficult for Democrats to mount a defense against a president whose positions appear to change by the hour.)

Unifying Opposition to Immigration Policies

The Democratic Party for once has a rallying cry that can unify most moderate to liberal members of their constituency. The horrific imagery of children being taken from their parents is something only the most heartless voter could overlook, and the terrible situation has also come home to areas not normally associated with immigration detention. As immigration detention centers have filled up in some areas of the country, other federal prisons have become the holding centers for separated children and parents, including federal prisons near Portland and Seattle. Immigration attorneys and activists have seen a much greater awareness of how immigration detention policies are being carried out.

With mid-term elections looming, Republicans are starting to worry that they are not going to be able to move far enough away from Trump on the issue of family separations. As it stands right now, top Trump officials have doubled-down on their current policies. Even if Trump and the Republicans are able to reach some type of agreement on how to solve the separations, each day that goes by makes it more likely that there might be a carryover effect into the next election.

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