Immigration: Senate fails to pass anything

The “compromise” in the Senate between Democrats and Republicans on immigration has failed miserably. The bill, which would continue the DACA program, went down by a vote of 54-45, presumably because of Trump’s vehement opposition. (For chrissake, can’t we give those people a future in the US?). But then Trump’s alternative bill, which “would have also substantially increased federal deportation powers, heavily cut family-based legal migration and ended the diversity visa,” also went down by a vote of 60-39.

What this proves is that Trump can scare Republicans into voting down DACA, but can’t make them sign on to his odious views about The Wall and “chain immigration”.

This logjam mirrors the sentiments of many Americans, who want the Dreamers to remain, but also want some action on immigration—just not the draconian one Trump likes. And so the future of those young people (and some not so young now) remains in limbo.


  1. Posted February 15, 2018 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

    Please Mr. President, build that Wall right away. We need to stop those crazy Mexicans from crossing the border and slaughtering our high school children with AR-15s. Oh wait, never mind.

  2. yazikus
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

    Alas. We need sensible, pragmatic progress. We need movement, action & cooperation. Sadly, I don’t see when we might see that happen.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted February 15, 2018 at 6:27 pm | Permalink


      • yazikus
        Posted February 15, 2018 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

        We can only hope vote.

  3. Mark R.
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

    All we can do is vote out the Republicans…a few here, a few there, and hopefully soon we’ll have a party in power that isn’t beholden to the NRA, the fundamentalists, and the billionaires’ unhinged greed.

    I do get mild satisfaction from the fact that Trump’s bill did the worst out of the 4 proposed. His legislation is toxic even to a lot of the lemming R’s.

    I’ve read and heard many stories from Dreamers; it’s unconscionable that the US would deport these people who consider themselves Americans. They just don’t have that piece of paper.

    And it all started when Trump capriciously ended DACA; I think the main reason is that his black predecessor started it. And, of course, he’s a bigot who surrounds himself with bigots.

    • Historian
      Posted February 15, 2018 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

      I agree with everything you said. The first step is for the Democrats to take over Congress in 2018 and then get rid of Trump in 2020. Even if these things happen (there is no guarantee), I fear that the damage Trump will have done to so many aspects of American life may be irreparable.

      • Posted February 15, 2018 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

        Our government, like our society as a whole, is irretrievably broken.

        • Craw
          Posted February 15, 2018 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

          I haven’t given up on the society yet. Politics though are worse than ever in my lifetime, and I suspect worse than longer than that. The political class, the parties, those are broken. Trump didn’t break them, he’s a symptom.

  4. mordacious1
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

    Odious views on chain migration? (Looks like commenters here will be calling me a Republican again) As I understand it, Trump wanted to limit chain migration to close relatives (siblings, parents, spouses). Uncles, aunts, cousins would have to apply through normal channels and wouldn’t be allowed to cut the line. From what I’ve seen from polling, this matches what a large majority of Americans would prefer. Are the majority of Americans “odious” too?

    These people came here illegally. We are offering them citizenship along with their close relatives. This is a good deal. Not good enough obviously. What other countries would do this? Not many I think.

    • yazikus
      Posted February 15, 2018 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

      I was under the impression that most Americans were in favor of family reunification immigration policies. Many family units are not made up of just a mother/father and kids. What about grandparents, nieces or nephews? Why wouldn’t we prioritize immigrants with a safety net already in the country and a community to ensure they get on their feet?

      • Max Blancke
        Posted February 15, 2018 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

        There have been very high rates of fraud in the family reunification program, when relationship claims have been checked through medical testing. More than 80%, according to the State Dept. They stopped the program from 2008 to 2012 for that reason.
        And there is no need for a refugee to be established and self sufficient to petition the program to permit entry of relatives. As soon as they are accepted as a refugee or granted asylum, they can start making those petitions. As far as I know, there is no numerical limit on the number one can make. And all those people can do the same.
        Logic dictates that there should be some limits on such programs. in 2016, the average number of people brought in under the program by each immigrant was 3.45. I had a State Dept link for that data, but I can’t get the link to work now. If someone has conflicting data, or my memory is faulty, please let me know.
        If I was not so tired, I would do the math to estimate how long, (at the rate of 3.45 per refugee, given whatever time frame is realistic) it would take for all 14 million Somalis to immigrate to the US.

        • Andy
          Posted February 16, 2018 at 6:01 am | Permalink

          That number seemed unbelievable to me, so I looked it up and here’s what I found: I think it refers to 3.46 from Carr & Tienda (sometimes typo-ed as 3.45 I suspect), which seems correct, but with some caveats.
          The media seems to call this a “multiplier”, which is misleading, as indicated by the math in your question. – Because that suggests that 1 refugee brings 3.46 people who each bring in 3.46 who each bring … Which gets to millions very quickly.
          The value is a total per “initiating immigrant”. So, if you bring in 3.46 people who each bring in 3.46 more, then that would give a value about 12, or about 40 in another iteration. But note that the value here shows a total of 3.46, not these higher numbers.
          Also, this value seems to be a cherry-picked peak, and so is higher than the average over time.
          Possibly a fairer way of saying it is that over his/her lifetime, a single refugee might bring in a family with a TOTAL corresponding to a spouse and about 2 kids… But not that we are starting an infinite chain!

          • Max Blancke
            Posted February 16, 2018 at 7:59 am | Permalink

            Thanks for the clarification. I know that much of the issue comes from the Somali community, where family identification does not necessarily conform to our usual expectations.

    • Neurostudent
      Posted February 15, 2018 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

      While I am not a fan of Trump in any sense, not everything he says is vile. Our country has limited resources, and though I’m sympathetic to immigrants, it just isn’t sustainable to let in large family units. This hasn’t anything to do with racism or xenophobia, it has to do with adequate contributions made to the economy and a regulated pace of migration.

      Trump has plenty of odious ideas, but I think it’s dishonest to conclude that immigration policies shouldn’t consider skill selection or examine eligibility based on asylum, region, or legal family members. Leniency is one of the reasons many Americans became angry, began demanding tradition, and found Trump alluring.

      • Martin X
        Posted February 15, 2018 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

        “Leniency is one of the reasons”

        No, it really isn’t. Most of the people who are upset about immigrants don’t really know any. It’s an imaginary problem.

        And our immigration policies already consider the things you mention.

        Immigrants comprise only about 1% of the US population, so absorption isn’t a problem, as it might arguably be in parts of Europe.

        • mordacious1
          Posted February 15, 2018 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

          I’ve read estimates of up to 20%. This article states it’s closer to 14% and going up:

        • Vixzer
          Posted February 16, 2018 at 5:40 am | Permalink

          “No, it really isn’t. Most of the people who are upset about immigrants don’t really know any. It’s an imaginary problem.”


          I am an immigrant myself, came 2 years ago, legally, from a country called Brazil, run by Drug Cartels and organized crime syndicates transvestites as politicians (no we do not have left and right wing political parties, we only have thugs) that swing the vote accordingly to what money they are stealing or want to steal.

          1- I come from a poor family.

          2- I had to work and study like crazy just to finish college and pay for it while still helping my family, that is my pride.

          3- In Brazil you work from 8am to 5pm then go to college at night from 7pm to 11pm (more or less) every day. Some people go to college in the morning and work the rest of the day/part of the night too. Some people get out from College at night and go to work for the remainder of the night/part of the morning.

          That is perfectly normal in Brazil and it is a matter of pride to family when your kids do that and succeed.

          Fun fact about our so called “public universities”, we pay a lot of taxes for it but most of the citizens cannot use them.

          Only the rich or the high end of middle class go to a full time college or to a public college/university because their parents could pay for a good PRIVATE education system since 1st grade until the end of High School and not go to the trash we have as public schools.

          So no, there is a lot of legal immigrants that do not agree with the illegal ones, we agree even less with their stay in the US.

          • Posted February 16, 2018 at 6:05 am | Permalink

            I’m sorry, but you come off as someone saying, “I worked hard and came here legally; therefore everybody should.” That shows a lack of empathy for those kids who were brought here when they were very young and didn’t even have the chance you had to work their way into legal immigration. Few people think that all illegal immigrants should be granted amnesty, but I think the DREAMers should.

            And you give no argument why at least those young people brought up here should be booted out (which is presumably what you want); all you say is ‘I came here legally and worked hard, therefore everybody who came illegally should be sent back pronto.’

            As I said, lack of empathy.

            • Ken Kukec
              Posted February 16, 2018 at 7:03 am | Permalink

              Pull the ladder up behind you as soon as you’ve finished climbing it yourself, is some people’s approach.

          • rickflick
            Posted February 16, 2018 at 8:30 am | Permalink

            Let me just add in support of immigrants who do attend college and those who don’t. One of my best friends in college was an immigrant from Mexico. His whole family of 8 children did exceptionally well here. All are professionals or hold important jobs in their work area. Also, the guy who did my roof recently was from El Salvador where his mother still lives in a house on the boarder between to armies fighting. He did a terrific job on the roof, by the way. The fellow who’s going to do my kitchen over is from Ecuador and comes strongly recommended by a close friend who employed him. All the immigrants I know are hard working, skilled or educated contributors to American society. Yet, for some it’s hard to imagine that all the immigrants from the south are not drug dealing criminals as Fox News and Trump would have you think.

          • Posted February 27, 2018 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

            I understand and sympathize with your opinion. I personally know other legal immigrants for whom the preferential treatment of illegals is a slap in the face.

  5. Ken Kukec
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

    I dunno, I’m old enough to remember when Trump had a meeting in the cabinet room last month with a bipartisan delegation from congress on the topic of immigration. The meeting was televised, mainly because there were rumors swirling that Trump had senile dementia, and the Sanhedrin in the White House wanted to show that Trump could engage for a full hour without wondering off to the window or dissolving in a pool of drool.

    At the meeting, Trump (who clearly did not know what “a clean bill” meant) told senators Durbin and Graham and everyone listening-in that he would sign any deal on DACA they could agree on — that he would stand up and take the heat if others found it unpalatable. Then, Trump got push-back from the immigration hardliners, and two days later, when Durbin and Graham came back to present the deal they had reached, everything went down the “shithole.”

    The Republicans, and Trump in particular, to placate the hardliners, hung the Dreamers out to dry. And there they sit, cause nothing’s moving through congress except they go on a diet of green-corn.

    • rickflick
      Posted February 15, 2018 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

      Ken, that’s too much reality for one comment. But, let’s see what happens next. I’m pretty sure with a majority of the country in favor of extending DACA, something will be worked out.

  6. Michael Fisher
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 8:21 pm | Permalink


  7. Craw
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

    The DACA people were in limbo under Obama too. DACA was not law. As far as I can see we are moving towards some resolution on this, because neither party wants the blame for failing and each party wants to extract benefit and thwart the other. So the dance will take awhile. But the rejection of different alternatives is part of getting to an agreement.

  8. Martin X
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

    Gallup shows that over 60% of the population favors keeping immigration at current levels or higher, so there really is no compelling need to take action.

  9. Me
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

    Could we finally have returned to an era where the Feds recognize that the Constitution only grants Congress the power to oversee naturalization, NOT immigration!?! (Article I, Section 8). They seemed to have forgotten that in 1882. Maybe we’ll realize next that the President is mostly powerless compared to Congress.

  10. Vixzer
    Posted February 16, 2018 at 5:18 am | Permalink

    “For chrissake, can’t we give those people a future in the US?”

    If they are illegal, no we should not.

    • Posted February 16, 2018 at 5:25 am | Permalink

      These people have mostly grown up in the US, brought here by their parents or came on their own, and this is the country that they know. Finding a way for Dreamers to stay here is a no-brainer, and you simply lack empathy.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted February 16, 2018 at 7:13 am | Permalink

      Wow. Did you get time off from your usual gig drowning kittens to leave this comment?

    • nicky
      Posted February 16, 2018 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

      It is not so much whether they came illegally, as what they feel about their new country. Some vetting could be used. I think it was under Rooseveldt (Teddy that is) or Taft that there was a rule like: do you think your Qur’an, allowing polygyny, takes precedence over the US Constitution and laws? Oh, You are a proponent of polygyny? Next please.
      (For the ‘dreamers’ it is basically the only country they know, so the situation is quite different. I would like them to be accepted regardless of any vetting.)

  11. Bob
    Posted February 16, 2018 at 5:48 am | Permalink

    Perhaps we should look at it as a business deal. These Dreamers came here as children and we have invested a great deal in them. First, we educated them. They were permitted to enroll in elementary, middle, and high school. Some have even gone on to university. Although they, as illegal immigrants, were unable to receive any social safety net benefits, their siblings born here are US citizens and as such did. However, the Dreamers when they became ill went to hospitals and received medical care. They received immunizations to attend school free. Now by granting them a path to citizenship by giving them legal immigrant status and the five-year countdown to US citizenship, we can recoup the cost of that investment.

    • Andy
      Posted February 16, 2018 at 6:06 am | Permalink

      That’s a nice way to put it!
      I, for one, welcome several million new tax-paying citizens…

  12. ladyatheist
    Posted February 16, 2018 at 6:52 am | Permalink

    Perhaps the second bill went down because senators are fond of Melania’s parents.

  13. Randall Schenck
    Posted February 16, 2018 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    Trump and his ideas on immigration, along with most republicans are pathetic and wrong at the same time. Building idiotic walls, telling your sucker/followers that Mexico will pay for it. It sounds like ideas coming from a 4 year old. Why are they afraid of immigrants anyway. Afraid they are stealing your job, killing your people – that is what they want you to believe.

    Right now the Trump police are grabbing people everyday and deporting them. It is right out of the 1930s and it is something that dictators and criminals do all the time. Before long they will have no worries because no one will want to come here.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted February 16, 2018 at 8:32 am | Permalink

      There is no thought or policy whatever behind Trump’s Tortilla Wall proposal. “Build a wall” was just a line someone suggested Trump stick in a speech at one of his Nuremberg-style campaign rallies. It got a yooge reaction from the crowd, so Trump kept it as red-meat for the base — later with the added fillip “Who’s gonna pay for The Wall? Mexico!!!”

      Remember his phone call with Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto where Trump was like “please stop telling people you won’t pay for The Wall,” and Nieto was all like “Nah, mang, no can do”?

    • mordacious1
      Posted February 16, 2018 at 11:13 am | Permalink

      So, you are in favor of unlimited and unhampered immigration? No restrictions, open the flood gates. Or are you saying that once an immigrant crosses the border, they are free to stay?

      Should the US be allowed to enforce its borders? Yes or no?

      None of this sounds very sensible to me.

  14. Posted February 16, 2018 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    Any thoughts on what will happen next? Or is gridlock likely to continue?

    I saw a documentary once about a journalist who found out *as an adult* he was an illegal immigrant – his adult family had forged his papers.

    Admittedly this is one case, but IMO any just resolution has to account for it and ones like it.

  15. Hempenstein
    Posted February 16, 2018 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

    If Boss Tweet couldn’t get his bill thru, that sounds like some long-needed fracture in the ranks.

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