No one should have been surprised when the Trump administration announced that it would require massive new immigration restrictions in exchange for agreeing to extend benefits for 800,000 Dreamers. Most expected that the price for the Dreamers would be paid for in a wall along the southern border, but many hoped the pay-off would stop there. It has not. Instead, the administration is pushing its entire anti-immigrant agenda, pitting the Dreamers against virtually every other immigrant group.
The Trump plan would reduce legal immigration by half within 10 years. It would build a wall along the southern border that virtually no one believes will halt illegal immigration, including ranchers who live along that border. It would impose new restrictions on children who enter the US to escape abuse and gang violence in their home countries by making it easier to deport them. It would limit family sponsorships to spouses and minor children, making it impossible for citizens to sponsor parents or siblings. It would also hire 370 new immigration judges, 1000 new ICE officers and 300 additional federal prosecutors. Where the money will come from for all these additional expenditures remains a mystery.
The tactic is both obvious and ineffective. Trying to divide the pro-immigration forces will not work and Congress will not pass such a bill. The entire Democratic collation and many Republic lawmakers in the Senate will most likely oppose it. This will all go nowhere. But it does appease the Republican base that supported Mr. Trump and that, apparently is all that matters anyway.