In an interview last week, top Trump aide Stephen Miller said that the administration was gearing up for a “big fight” this summer with congressional Democrats over immigration, proving that this issue remains at the forefront of the president’s mind. That’s a good thing, because a new poll from Harvard/Harris confirms that it is still the top issue for Republican voters.
41% of Republicans voters say that immigration is still the most important issue facing the nation, according to the poll. Among those who identify as conservatives, the number ticks up to 42%. And when you narrow it down to those who voters for Donald Trump, it ticks up yet again to 44%. Healthcare and terrorism round out the top three for all categories, but immigration is still king.
Immigration, of course, isn’t just “The Wall,” although that is a big component of what Republican voters want to see this administration accomplish. The wall was the triumphant symbol of the president’s 2016 campaign; if he doesn’t make significant progress on that wall by the time his re-election campaign begins, it’s going to be a tough sell to his base.
Still, there are other priorities nearly as important. The president is pushing Congress to end chain migration, do away with the Diversity Visa Lottery, cut rates of legal immigration considerably, improve border security in a host of ways, and crack down on those who are abusing their visitor visas. By taking this well-rounded approach, Trump’s hope is that he will be able to present to voters real, tangible results when he heads back out on the campaign trail for 2020.
In an interview with Fox News last week, President Trump said that he was not interested in signing an immigration bill that did not comprise the “full package.”
“Unless it includes a wall – and I mean a real wall – and unless it includes border security, there will be no approvals from me, because I have to either approve it or not,” Trump said. “Chain migration is terrible. Lottery is terrible. We certainly would like to have it in. We have to get rid of catch and release. You catch them — even if you know they’re a criminal, you catch them — you have to release them by law you have to release them and then they go into society and they don’t come back to the trial. It’s crazy.
“We have the worst immigration laws in the entire world by far,” he continued. “Other countries laugh at us, and it’s because of the Democrats. It’s because of Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi. It’s ridiculous. We’re going to change the system. We have no choice for the good of our country.”
Unfortunately, it will take Democrats to put legislation onto the president’s desk, which makes the prospect of a “dream bill” very difficult to believe in. Hopefully, the courts will decide that Trump does indeed have the authority to end DACA, which will once again put enormous pressure on the left to come up with a compromise. Otherwise, they’re going to stick to their guns all the way through the midterms, no matter how much it may cost the country.