Trump could do something about immigration, other than blaming Democrats. He won't

The president is going to meet with the GOP — that would be a good place to talk about an issue he's tweeting about

By Matthew Rozsa

Published February 1, 2018 11:26AM (EST)

 (Getty/Win McNamee)
(Getty/Win McNamee)

President Donald Trump is blaming Democrats for the lack of progress on immigration reform and for protecting Dreamers — even though the bottlenecking has occurred within his own Republican Party.

One source of division within the GOP is Trump's proposal to significantly curtail legal immigration to the United States by no longer permitting citizens to obtain green cards for parents, adult children and siblings, according to Politico.

"The idea of cutting legal immigration in half and skewing the green cards to one area of the economy, I think, is bad for the economy. Not a whole lot of support for that. I want more legal immigration, not less," Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., told Politico. Graham has emerged as a comparative moderate on immigration reform, even reportedly telling Trump that "America is an idea," after the president said he didn't want immigrants from — as he put it — "s**thole countries."

Graham's views are shared by many of his Republican colleagues.

"Honestly, I think we need legal immigration. In the United States today, our population would not be stable if it was not for legal immigration. I’m in favor of having legal immigration. I want to eliminate the illegal immigration," Sen. Mike Rounds, R-S.D., told Politico. By contrast, Republican senators like Tom Cotton of Arkansas and David Perdue of Georgia have supported Trump's hardline stance on family-based immigration.

But this week, when the Republican Party embarks on its three-day annual retreat, immigration won't be a topic that's discussed. Instead, they'll talk about tax reform and infrastructure.

Trump has a history of blaming Democrats for problems caused by his own party. He repeatedly claimed that Democrats were at fault for the government shutdown in January, even though Republican divisions between moderates and extreme conservatives were again at the heart of the problem.

"The government shutdown is a sign of just how broken the Republican Party is. Why are we on the verge of a government shutdown? Well because there's certain, everyone just understands that there's a certain percentage of the Republican Party that will never vote for the financing to raise the debt ceiling to allow the government to continue to operate," David Frum of The Atlantic told Salon last month, as shown in the video below.

Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

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Donald Trump Immigration Reform Lindsey Graham