America Dreams deferred, yet again.

The Senate voted on four immigration bills yesterday, none of which received the 60 votes needed to pass. The bill that initially seemed most likely to get enough votes, a bipartisan measure similar to the one Trump rejected last month with that infamous "shithole countries" comment, did manage to get 54 votes, with almost all Democrats voting for it, but faced a veto threat from Donald Trump. The hardline measure Trump supported, on the other hand, was rejected by the biggest margin of the four, failing on a 39 to 60 vote. That may be of some comfort to the 700,000 DACA recipients who may face deportation if no deal can be reached to allow them to stay in the only country they've ever known.

Leering old reptile Mitch McConnell could barely contain his glee at how well Republicans had yet again exercised raw power to thwart action that large majorities of Americans want. He explained it was all Democrats' fault, of course. As the debate -- such as it was -- got underway, McConnell reminded Republicans why they must not cooperate to protect Dreamers:

“Remember: Democrats wanted this debate," McConnell said on the Senate floor. "They shut down the federal government for 300 million Americans — unnecessarily — to guarantee we could have this debate at this time."

While some Senators had foolishly anticipated a good old open debate on the Senate floor, with a bipartisan compromise being hammered out through vigorous argument and amendments, in reality, the four proposals that got voted on were prepared behind closed doors, with only a total 90 minutes of floor debate Thursday. Here, in order, are the four measures the Senate couldn't quite pass:

Coons-McCain Who?

Delaware Democrat Chris Coons and Arizona Republican John McCain cosponsored a stripped bill that would have given 1.8 million immigrants brought to the US as children a path to citizenship, and would have funded some border security, but included nothing for the Idiot Wall. Coons-McCain also didn't address Trump's demand to slash legal immigration. Almost all Democrats voted for it, and most Republicans opposed it; it failed 52 to 47.

Toomey's Folly

Pennsylvania Republican Pat Toomey didn't actually have a DACA plan, but he wanted to be able to say he'd pushed an amendment that would have withheld federal aid from "sanctuary cities" if they wouldn't straighten up and help ICE deport people. The measure failed 54 to 45, and now Pat Toomey has a "Tuff On Immigration" sticker to deploy against any teabaggers calling him a RINO.

The 'Common Sense' Caucus Death To Whitey Bill

Probably the most promising, actually bipartisan proposal of the four, put forward by the "Common Sense Coalition," probably had a pretty good shot at passing with 60 votes, at least until the Trump administration started lobbying heavily against it as the worst threat to America since MS-13 (which is really unfair, since MS-13's political action committee hadn't even taken a position on the bill). The bill was actually fairly moderate, which was apparently what Trumplings like Stephen Miller hated it (we'll assume he and John Kelly led the campaign against it, since it was very similar to the proposal they deep-sixed in early January before that meeting where Trump popped off about immigrants from "shithole countries."

The "Common Sense" plan would have provided a pathway to citizenship for about 1.8 million Dreamers, and in a nod to Trump's demands, would have included $25 billion for border security, including the Idiot Wall. It also would have prevented DACA kids from sponsoring their parents for green cards, which was the only limit on legal migration the bill included. That was too much for the people who tell Trump what he thinks, so the White House launched a Bullshit Barrage against the bipartisan compromise. (Ha-ha, remember when Trump said he wanted a bipartisan bill and would sign anything Congress brought him, but then Ann Coulter fell out of love with him?)

Copy-pasting talking points that we'd bet a nickel originated with Miller and Kelly, the "president" Tweetered against the bill:

Trump felt compelled to attach the names of Chuck Schumer and Susan Collins to the bill, those awful Democrats (before you complain, that is a joke about Trump's view of Collins, COMPLAINERS). In mere reality it was introduced by South Dakota Republican Mike Rounds and Maine Independent Angus King. The Department of Homeland Security press release referenced in the tweet is a doozy, typical of government documents in the Age of Trump. Here's just the first paragraph:

The Schumer-Rounds-Collins proposal destroys the ability of the men and women from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to remove millions of illegal aliens. It would be the end of immigration enforcement in America and only serve to draw millions more illegal aliens with no way to remove them. By halting immigration enforcement for all aliens who will arrive before June 2018, it ignores the lessons of 9/11 and significantly increases the risk of crime and terrorism.

Hyperbole much, DHS? If we allow 1.8 million people -- 800,000 of whom already passed the rigorous requirements to qualify for DACA -- to have a pathway to citizenship, that guarantees another 9/11? That strikes us as improbable. The bill increased funding for border security, including the Idiot Wall, so if "millions more" illegal border crossers appear, that would probably be a problem with the Border Patrol, we think.

The DHS document makes other claims that appear to be completely pulled out of someone's ass, like the estimate that passage of Rounds-King would create a "Safe Enforcement-Free Haven for Over 10 Million Illegal Aliens" because it would restrict DHS to deporting only aliens with criminal convictions until June 30 of this year. That's like, FOREVER. Isn't that cute? They're talking about people who are already here, but making it sound like TEN MILLION ALIENS will suddenly surge across the border. It also stretches the number of those possibly eligible for a pathway to citizenship to three million, many of them criminals, because if you're going to lie a little, why not lie a lot? The whole evil load of shit is worth a read, if only for college rhetoric teachers looking for an example of thoroughly dishonest argument.

On NPR this morning, Chris Coons, who voted not only for his own bill but also for the "Common Sense" one, said the latter bill would have easily passed were it not for the administration's sabotage campaign:

Had the president remained silent, I'm confident we would have gotten 60 votes. In the end, what it shows is that if the president insists on his extreme agenda, it will not ever pass the Senate.

Not all Democrats were big fans of the measure because of its big handouts for even more border enforcement and its restrictions on parents of Dreamers; three voted against it (New Mexico's Martin Heinrich and Tom Udall, and Kamala Harris of California). Because Republicans had been instructed to oppose it, the bill failed 54 to 45.

Donald Trump's Smelly Old Shithole Socks

This was the "Grassley bill" Trump's tweet mentioned, and it contained the full White House wish list: Yes, it would offer a path to citizenship for 1.8 million Dreamers, and it would have $25 billion for the Idiot Wall and border security. Even though those numbers are the same as the "Common Sense" bill, this one was apparently written to make it just peachy with DHS. Beyond those provisions, it would have slashed legal immigration by eliminating the "diversity visa lottery" and sharply restricting family-reunion visas.

EVERYBODY hated that one. All but three Democrats opposed it, and since it still provided help for Dreamers, a lot of Republicans opposed it too. It was notable for being the only measure yesterday to get 60 votes -- they were "no" votes, and the Trump-Grassley bill lost, 39-60.

Following the Republicans' successful destruction of a truly bipartisan bill, McConnell and Trump blamed Democrats, of course. Said evil old Yertle,

Democrats failed to produce a solution... I thought we may be able to resolve this. Our friends across the aisle were unable to get something done. They turned away from a golden opportunity to resolve the issue

For his part, Trump was very very sad about the minority party not pushing through the bill he sabotaged or the one he couldn't even get Republicans to vote for:

Yep, the guy who ended DACA with an executive order and who insists on draconian cuts in legal immigration going forward as the price for helping those kids he has so much care for, and who, not incidentally, used his Taint of the Union speech to redefine "Dreamers" as white people who voted for him, sure is upset at how the Democrats have abandoned DACA recipients.

Bet Rod Serling could come up with an appropriate nightmare scenario for that man.

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[Vox / WaPo / Politico / NPR]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.


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