President Donald Trump just blinked on the government shutdown. But his standoff with congressional Democrats doesn’t appear to be headed to a resolution anytime soon.
On Saturday, in remarks billed as a “major announcement” on the border and the shutdown, Trump proposed a deal to Democrats. He continues to insist that any bill to reopen the government include billions of dollars for a physical barrier on the US-Mexico border — a “wall” — but is now open to such a bill including other immigration provisions as well.
Most notably, he’s open to extending existing protections for the 700,000 or so immigrants currently protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and the hundreds of thousands of immigrants who currently have legal status under Temporary Protected Status. The Trump administration has moved to sunset DACA, and to end protections for most of the immigrants covered under TPS. Both of those plans are currently held up in litigation.
Democrats aren’t particularly interested in what Trump’s proposing. “Democrats were not consulted on this and have rejected similar overtures previously,” a Democratic aide told Vox. “It’s clearly a non-serious product of negotiations amongst White House staff to try to clean up messes the president created in the first place. POTUS is holding more people hostage for his wall.”
After weeks of all-or-nothing intransigence, Trump’s announcement Saturday indicates that the White House realizes they’re losing the shutdown in the eyes of most Americans, and are willing to compromise to reopen the government. But Democrats also know the White House is losing the shutdown, and the compromise now on offer is something they are unlikely to take.
What Trump’s offering: $5.7 billion for the wall in exchange for extensions of existing protections for some immigrants
Trump’s pitching this as a compromise: He wants the wall, Democrats want to help DACA and TPS recipients. But the deal isn’t the result of conversations with Democrats. It’s reportedly the result of discussions that Vice President Mike Pence and presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner have had with congressional Republicans (most notably Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC)).
And it shows. What Trump’s offering — temporary extensions of existing protections for both groups of immigrants — isn’t something that Democrats have been wildly enthusiastic about in the past. Furthermore, with Trump’s efforts to strip existing protections held up in court, it’s essentially a short extension of the status quo.