Yesterday, the Very Stable Genius-in-Chief held a meeting with congressional leaders, with press invited, to discuss negotiations to reinstate protections for illegal immigrants who were brought over the border as children, and have otherwise committed no crimes. What happens now? I'm not certain, but best guess: nothing.
First, Trump. For the most part, Trump doesn't matter. He's a useless idiot, and most people on both sides of the aisle in Congress know it. He vacillates between two types of behavior: mindless partisan attacks, and mindless fetishization of "the deal." Yesterday, he went for the latter, leaving everyone, including Republicans, confused about what he wanted. He seemed to indicate, at some points, that he would sign any bill that crossed his desk. And... he might! Part of his obsession with the abstract concept of "the deal" is that he doesn't actually know anything about politics or policy. Talking about the concept of "the deal" in the abstract is a way for him to cover for that. Then again, maybe he digs in on that idiotic wall... You know, the one that Mexico is funding? Oh, wait...
Basically, then, ignore Trump.
Instead, let's go through some history on why nothing is likely to happen. In 2005, shortly after the 2004 election, George W. Bush decided that part of his second term agenda would be immigration reform. His proposal was attacked from within his own party as "amnesty," and the GOP-controlled Congress never took up any action on his immigration agenda. Even going back to 2005, one of the worst slurs you could use within the Republican Party was to accuse someone of supporting "amnesty" for illegal immigrants. This is an interesting thing. We all commit crimes. What, you've never broken the speed limit and gotten away with it? You've never j-walked and gotten away with it? Amnesty happens. The question is which crimes are so horrendous that they can never, under any circumstances, be forgiven? Within the GOP, crossing the border illegally, even if you were simply brought over as a child, is such a crime, and the word, "amnesty," is equivalent to a declaration of war. As soon as that word entered the immigration debate after the 2005 election, the policy debate was over, and nothing happened.
Remember Marco Rubio? During the 2016 presidential election, he was an establishment guy. It... wasn't always so. When he first ran for the Senate in 2010... he was a tea party hero. Here's what Jim DeMint said about him at CPAC when Rubio was a tea party darling-- "Let me make myself even clearer: I'd rather have 30 Marco Rubios in the Senate than 60 Arlen Specters." What happened to turn Rubio from the apple in DeMint's eye to establishment whore? He started talking immigration reform.
And then there's Eric Cantor. In 2014, former-Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) was the House Majority Leader. In that position, he tried really hard to cozy up to the hardliners, but he lost a primary in a shocking upset to David Brat. Brat was a nobody. He was less than a nobody. He was a... college... professor. Pathetic! (Actually, he was an economics professor, so really, fuck him!) What happened? It is kind of hard to say, but Brat was a one-issue guy. That issue? Immigration. Cantor had at least expressed a tiny bit of openness to some kinds of immigration reform proposals. Brat? Nope. He's a teabaggin' immigration hardliner.
So let's talk about Paul Ryan. Paul Ryan is a spineless little coward. He's a Chamber of Commerce guy, in his heart, not a teabagger. The Chamber of Commerce faction of the GOP wants more open immigration policies. Why? More and cheaper labor! More consumers! Business! Take away any constraints and Paul Ryan would go along with them. But, he doesn't act without constraints. He has the House Freedom Caucus breathing down his neck. Mostly out of jealousy, since they don't have necks, themselves. If he lets any bill get to the floor of the House that they deem to be "amnesty," they'll Boehner him. He knows that. So, he'll exercise "negative agenda control." That's our term in political science for preventing an item from getting a vote when you know it will pass if it gets a vote. Why? To prevent a anti-Boehner-style revolt.
The Senate? The Senate doesn't do jack shit anyway. The Senate is where legislation goes to die. Frankly, though, opponents of DACA won't need the Senate's magical, legislation-killing powers to do their work for them. The House Freedom Caucus is all they need.
Immigration reform has been stalled for over a decade, and in that time, the GOP has gotten more and more hardline on the issue. Pressure on them has gotten more, not less intense. Donald Trump, Stable Genius, is as irrelevant to this legislative negotiation as he has ever been, and everybody left that room laughing at him.
And I haven't even bothered talking about that stupid, fucking wall. The Democrats' best response if he really keeps trying to push them on it? Tell Trump: "We'll authorize you to spend whatever money you get from Mexico on the construction of the wall, but we won't appropriate any US taxpayer funds. Go get the money from Mexico, like you promised. Put up or shut up."
Will it come to that? Probably not. The negotiations will likely fall apart long before that as soon as Republicans start accusing each other of supporting "amnesty," at which point they start drawing their guns on each other. In GOP circles, that's like the n-word, because they have no sense of history, proportion, or true injustice.
Maybe they should start putting scarlet A's on each other's suits.