At the State of the Union address on Tuesday, Donald Trump ramped up the pressure on Democrats to fund his version of border security, which includes a border wall. After the mainstream media declared Nancy Pelosi the winner of the previous stand-off which caused a government shutdown, Trump seems to be signaling a readiness for a rematch. Here is what he needs to to.
This is the moment, while the Democrats control the House, to bring the full legalization of DACA recipients back into the picture. Obama's DACA program was nothing new in terms of executive policy. It merely codified, probably unConstitutionally, a bipartisan unwillingness to punish those who were illegally brought to the United States as children. Last year, Donald Trump offered to legalize 1.8 million of these "dreamers" (nearly three times as many as DACA covered) in exchange for funding for a border wall—his pet project which symbolizes his commitment to border security.
Unfortunately, with Republicans in control of both the House and Senate, Senate Democrats understood that they could filibuster Trump's "new deal" on immigration without facing the political consequences. Now that the Democrats control the House of Representatives, it will be much more difficult for Democrats to oppose DACA, because they will be held directly responsible for missing the opportunity to legalize "dreamers."
This is the moment to force House Democrats to go on record opposing the legalization of millions of undocumented immigrants. Let the government shut down again. Explain to the nation that the reason Democrats won't re-open the government is because they refuse to let Donald Trump pass a bipartisan deal—one that gives Democrats what they want and Republicans what they want.
If Democrats don't agree to the deal, keep the pressure on. After hearing the State of the Union speech, most Americans will likely blame the prickly and posturing Democrats for the shutdown. Pelosi's popularity could plummet even further than before. All the while, Democrats will be wasting their entire two years on obstructionism. If Democrats agree to the deal, then Trump gets his win. He accomplishes the very thing Ronald Reagan accomplished, except with an added symbolic victory for border security.
If a DACA/Wall bill passes, Trump should immediately follow the victory up by covering the entire Statue of Liberty with a tarp. Let the mainstream media crow about how this covering symbolizes Trump's America—our light under a bushel, etc. Then, after however many weeks it takes, reveal the copper Statute of Liberty in its freshly polished glory—as shiny as a new penny. The symbolism will not be lost on Americans.