In typical Washington fashion, not everything is as easy as it seems. Campaign promises of Presidential candidates are only as palatable as the current or incoming congress allows them to be. In the case of Donald Trump’s promised border wall with Mexico, this is precisely the case.
Today House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy suggested that Congress may not sign off on President-elect Donald Trump’s wall with Mexico.
The California Republican told reporters that the House will get to work right away on border security legislation. But McCarthy says there may be other ways to achieve border security than a wall — such as drone technology.
“No. 1 is it has to have a secure border. That may be a wall all the way through, or there may be other ways,” McCarthy said.
Trump campaigned on the promise to build a solid wall on the U.S. southern border and to make Mexico pay for it. In a CBS’ “60 Minutes” interview aired Sunday, Trump said that he’d accept fencing in place of a wall in some places.
This was a very strict promise from candidate Trump that was a focal point for many of his supporters as well as those who voted for Hillary Clinton due to fear of mass deportations if Trump were elected.
Now President-Elect Trump is having to deal with the realities of leading the nation by facing his own wall, congress. This is the same wall that President Obama has been facing since the Republicans took over in 2011. Many have scorned the Republican led congress for their obstruction of Obama’s policies or ideas; including the blocking of Supreme Court appointees after the death of Antonin Scalia.
Nothing in Washington is ever black and white when it comes to immigration reform. While Republicans often campaign against illegal immigration and undocumented workers, they also run the risk of upsetting a large portion of a growing Hispanic electorate. Riling up the base during a campaign is a lot different in the way that many will actually govern. The border wall or fence has been a constant area of contention for the past several election cycles. Many concluded that under President Obama illegal immigration would rise, but President Obama has proven to be a force against illegal immigrants by deporting 2.5 million between 2009 and 2015.The figures haven’t stopped critics of President Obama from pointing out that he could have been tougher or that many undocumented people wander the streets freely.
With the President-Elect under protest from many the past several days; including those holding up Mexican flags, pro-immigration signs, and chanting that they are here to stay, it will be interesting to see if Trump continues to tone down the language that helped to get him elected.
With congress already showing their hand on this ordeal, the incoming President will have his work cut out for him. Though even Trump has toned back his language during the “60 Minutes” interview saying, “gang members, drug dealers … probably two million, it could even be three million” would be the focus on deportations.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell also refused last week to endorse a full-on wall as the solution to border security, which means that the house and senate are both in agreement at this point.
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan even chimed in our the issue of deportations and said, “We are not planning on erecting a deportation force. Donald Trump’s not planning on that. I think we should put people’s minds at ease: That is not what our focus is. That is not what we’re focused on. We’re focused on securing the border. We think that’s first and foremost, before we get into any other immigration issue, we’ve got to know who’s coming and going into the country — we’ve got to secure the border,” Ryan told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union.”
One thing is for certain is that immigration will be a hotbed issue in the coming months once the new President takes office in January. Many eyes will be watching Washington and many lawyers will be ready to challenge any legislation that oversteps. It appears that campaign promises though might be just that, promises. Washington doesn’t work based off of promises. Washington works off its own ideas and pace that often times is more in tune with small appeasements to different groups rather than completely alienating too many people.