Democrats and the media rejoiced over Donald Trump’s new executive order ending family separation for illegal aliens caught crossing the border.
But Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi’s glee was short lived.
That’s because the party sealed their own doom with this fatal mistake.
Trump’s new executive order demands that families remain together in detention facilities while they await their criminal proceedings to play out.
This new order will run up against the 1997 Flores decree which mandates that illegal alien children can only be held for 20 days.
A 2015 U.S. District Judge Dolly M. Gee – who was appointed by Obama – extended that protection to illegal alien children who tried to enter the country illegally with their parents.
Trump’s executive order instructs the Justice Department to argue before Gee that she should lift her order, but few experts believe that will be successful.
But Democrats overplayed their hand.
After Trump signed his executive order, prominent Democrats blasted out statements making it clear that what they really objected to was immigration enforcement of any kind.
California Democrat Kamala Harris – a top-tier contender for the 2020 nomination – ripped Trump’s decision and made it clear she is staking her ground on complete open borders and amnesty for any illegal alien who can successfully sneak into America.
“Trump’s executive order does not fix this crisis. It gives no solution for the thousands of children who have been torn away from their families and remain separated.”
Journalists also whined.
MSNBC’s Kasie Hunt complained that illegal immigrants would still be prosecuted for a crime:
“This executive order does not end the zero tolerance policy — everyone will continue to be prosecuted which puts a serious strain on resources.”
Republicans took note that Democrats don’t really care about family separation or treating children humanely.
What they want is open borders—an issue to club Republicans with in the November election.
Florida Senator Marco Rubio tweeted:
“The ink isn’t even dry on the new executive order ending separation policy & some Democrats already arguing that keeping families together isn’t enough. Now they want them & their parents released after unlawful entry knowing full well that high % will never appear for hearing.”
But Democrats are walking into a trap.
If Judge Gee strikes down Trump’s executive order, then the terrain shifts to much more favorable ground for the President and the Republican Party.
In a recent Economist/YouGov poll, Trump’s zero tolerance policy had a 46 percent approval rating, with just 37 percent of Americans disapproving.
And when Americans were presented with four options – not enforcing immigration law by releasing the families, detaining the families together until their deportation hearing, separating children from their parents, or sending the adults to jail and the children to juvenile detentions centers – Trump’s new plan of detaining families until their deportation hearing received the most support at 44 percent.
The Democrats plan of open borders and “catch and release” won the backing of just 19 percent of Americans.
The Democrats position is a fringe position, and Trump’s position is the one supported by a plurality of Americans.
Once the fight shifts to enforcing the law – and keeping families together – or effectively dissolving America’s borders, it will be the Democrats who are on the run.
That’s why red state Democrats – ten of whom are running for re-election this year – sounded notes of caution when asked if the Democrats unified opposition to Trump’s plan was sustainable.
Maryland Senator Chris Van Hollen told Politico he was not certain the Democrats could remain united once Trump’s more popular proposals took center stage:
“But asked whether Democrats would remain united against the administration’s latest move, Van Hollen said that “where that conversation will go, I just can’t speculate until I see the details.”
Democrats may have celebrated too soon.
Trump may have ceded one inch of territory to gain a mile of favorable ground.
If the 2018 midterms are contested over the clash between open borders or enforcing the rule of law, Trump and the GOP could blunt the expected blue wave.