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Democrats have a pattern of bungling immigration issues

Esther J. Cepeda on

"Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi ... [have] subtly shifted their rhetoric in recent days and aren't insisting that deportation relief be paired with a government funding bill this year ... [ensuring that Democrats] won't get blamed for a possible shutdown and won't upend Senate talks on a bipartisan deal combining relief for Dreamers with border security," Politico reported.

Even the editorial board of the left-leaning Sacramento Bee -- the capital paper of the state with the most Hispanics and immigrants -- said that threatening a shutdown in the name of winning relief for Dreamers was a losing strategy.

Even though agreeing that legislation to help Dreamers was a noble act, the board made a fair point: "There's also the question of whether such a tactic would play into Republicans' hands. Trump has made no secret of his disdain for government in general, relentlessly downsizing it and refusing to fill many open positions. Who is to say he will even care if government offices remain empty for days on end?"

It seems difficult to imagine Trump not using a massive and painful shutdown to rally his base, and why would the Democrats chance it when they know that Hispanics aren't going to vote Republican anytime in the near future and are, therefore, captive (if unenthusiastic, at this point) voters?

The bottom line is that immigrant advocacy groups have every reason to believe that suffering is on the way. After all, history has shown, time and again, that Democrats can bungle immigration issues without any real electoral consequences. Why should anyone expect this year to be different?

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Esther Cepeda's email address is estherjcepeda@washpost.com.

(c) 2017, Washington Post Writers Group

 

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