A few more thoughts on the controversy:
‐ One benefit of a merit-based system is that it would move us away from special ethnic pleading in immigration policy. The visa lottery began as affirmative action for Irish immigrants. My understanding is that Dick Durbin said in the meeting that he wanted to preserve the visa lottery in a slightly changed form because the Congressional Black Caucus wanted it. This is not how we should be making decisions about who comes here and who doesn’t.
‐ I have generally supported Lindsey Graham’s approach to Trump. He’s concluded, rightly, that Trump isn’t going anywhere and that it’s better to try to influence him rather than pointlessly wail and gnash his teeth. But this episode is a real setback. Graham brought Trump a deal with Durbin that basically had nothing in it for immigration restrictionists, and then the meeting about it blew up in a very awkward way for Graham (he can take Durbin’s side only by ruining his relationship with Trump but he opposes Trump on the policy and the premises — so he’s been quiet).
‐ Everyone seems to think that Durbin really wants a deal, which makes it weird that he has gone out of his way to blow up the s***hole meeting. Maybe he was so genuinely appalled he couldn’t help himself, but the last couple of days have made a deal less likely. He could think that a clean DACA deal is much more of a possibility now since Republicans might abandon Trump. It sounds to me, though, like top congressional Republicans such as Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy believe that such a surrender would be a disaster, so it’s unlikely to happen.
‐ There is brave talk about Democrats forcing a shutdown over the issue, but it’s going to be hard to get enough Senate Democrats on board that strategy (especially red-state Democrats). Here is Michael Bennet (D., Colo.) on Meet the Press this morning:
Chuck Todd: All right, before I let you go, is it worth shutting down the government if DACA, if a DACA compromise doesn’t happen?
Senator Michael Bennet: I – I – I, Chuck, I hope it doesn’t come to that. I think that politicians –
Todd: But it is worth it?
Bennet: in Washington –
Todd: But it is worth it? It is potentially worth it?
Bennet: It should not come to that. We should stop shutting this government down.
Bennet: And we should start doing the work the American people sent us to Washington to do. Chuck, we have not passed a real budget for the ten years that I’ve been in the Senate.