President Trump has repeatedly claimed that it is Democrats who are standing in the way of changing the law which separates families of people illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.
While several in the media have pushed back against the line and say the Trump administration is to blame, it appears there is at least one Democrat standing in the way of congressional efforts to change the law: Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.
As National Review reports, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has offered a proposal which would change the law to allow law enforcement to detain parents and children – who were arrested for illegally crossing the border – to be detained together while the legal system assesses their legal status.
“While the exact language is still in the works, the outline of the legislation is promising,” National Review reports. “It’s focused on the precise problem at hand and doesn’t tie the plight of separated families to larger immigration issues — an almost sure-fire way to torpedo the bill.”
“So that’s encouraging, right?” the report continued. “It’s evidence that Congress is moving to assert its constitutional authority to check the executive branch, right? Not so fast. Chuck Schumer has other ideas.”
Schumer instead said a congressional effort to change the law (literally the function and responsibility of the Legislative Branch of government) would be impossible.
“Anyone who believes this Republican Congress is capable of addressing this issue is kidding themselves,” Schumer tweeted. “[President Trump] can end this crisis with the flick of his pen, and he needs to do so now.”
Anyone who believes this Republican Congress is capable of addressing this issue is kidding themselves. @realDonaldTrump can end this crisis with the flick of his pen, and he needs to do so now.
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) June 19, 2018
“There are so many obstacles to legislation and when the president can do it with his own pen, it makes no sense,” Schumer said to reporters on Tuesday, as the Hill reports. “Legislation is not the way to go here when it’s so easy for the president to sign it.”
Schumer seems to be referencing the actions of former President Obama who unilaterally changed immigration law to no longer enforce federal arrests at the border. The Obama administration cited executive privilege in choosing not to enforce the law on the books. Trump previously commented that the president should not coordinate the law, but enforce the laws on the books. He has said it is the responsibility of Congress to change the law.
As National Review reports, the lines are drawn with President Trump wanting Congress to act and Schumer wanting the president to act; and, the tension will undoubtedly come to a halt. Meanwhile, the separations continue. Here’s more:
Let’s hope this is simply an ill-considered, snap judgment. Let’s hope Schumer revises his remarks after giving them additional thought. Because the reasoning here is amazing. Legislation is hard, so it “makes no sense” to check the president if he won’t check himself? Did the voters of New York elect a pundit or a legislator? His job isn’t just to condemn policies he dislikes. He also has the power to act.
For the last 24 hours, Twitter has been flooded with outrageous comparisons to Nazi Germany, and heaven help the person who dares dissent from the absurd hyperbole. If the Republicans demonstrate the minimal fortitude necessary to quickly draft and advance a bill to the Senate floor, it will be interesting to read the Twitter Nazi police respond to a potential Democratic filibuster. Is Trump’s family separation policy a true emergency requiring an immediate response? Or is it a wedge issue, worth leaving in the field for weeks, months, and perhaps years while the Democrats attempt to capitalize at the ballot box?
And, from the Hill:
Schumer’s opposition to a legislative fix means there likely won’t be a quick end to the emotional images of immigrant children being separated from their families unless Trump backs down and reverses his “zero tolerance” policy.
Democrats want to keep the pressure on Trump instead of having Congress assume responsibility for the growing crisis.
Schumer’s position immediately raised speculation over how long Democrats would stick to their position if Trump refuses to change his mind.
It is unclear how long Schumer is willing to wait on the president before committing to a legislative option. It is also unclear if Schumer plans to filibuster any Republican proposals. He instead said he hopes the president acts quickly on the issue so that the separations do not continue.
“Let’s hope we never get to that. Let’s hope the president does the right thing and solves the problem, which he can do. That’s the simple, easiest and the most likely way this will happen,” Schumer said.
Vice President Pence responded to Schumer’s comments and said, “This is sad.”
“Schumer would rather play politics than solve problems and secure our border,” Pence continued. “Chuck, THAT makes no sense. Let’s #CHANGETHELAWS and fix this now.”
— Vice President Mike Pence (@VP) June 19, 2018
Here are how some other people responded to Schumer:
Here’s a photo of an illegal immigrant child detention center taken in Nogales, Arizona in 2014. Look familiar? pic.twitter.com/9mAajwrG40
— Saagar Enjeti (@esaagar) June 18, 2018
As I’ve said, @SenSchumer & Dems don’t oppose family separation, they oppose border enforcement. Their radical bill would prohibit the arrest of ANYONE with a child within 100 miles of border. https://t.co/YBTjCUPIpC
— Tom Cotton (@TomCottonAR) June 19, 2018
The point isn’t that separating children from parents is good policy. It isn’t. The point is that the Obama administration used detainment of women and children as a deterrent, and held them in similar conditions – and we didn’t hear Nazi comparisons. https://t.co/D4o4SEWXzi
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) June 19, 2018
Top Senate Dem preemptively comes out against all GOP proposals on family separation issue. “Schumer said they want to keep the focus on Trump.”
Rejecting compromise solutions looks cynical amid humanitarian crisis. Is this about the kids, or Trump? https://t.co/y0oom8ayYH
— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) June 19, 2018
Where was the outrage when Obama had 90,000 kids in detention facilities much worse than the conditions they are in today?
— Charlie Kirk (@charliekirk11) June 19, 2018
Call Schumer’s bluff. Advance the bill. See if Democrats filibuster.
— David French (@DavidAFrench) June 19, 2018
Democrats are such phonies. Democrats would rather children bake in tents than join Republicans in sending Trump a bill ending this situation. https://t.co/JfV6YS8sS4
— Gabriel Malor (@gabrielmalor) June 20, 2018
— Gabriel Malor (@gabrielmalor) June 20, 2018
Schumer doesn’t want to help the kids he says are living in a concentration camp. https://t.co/Pp6qJ5rODg
— Dan (@danieltobin) June 19, 2018