Looking Ahead

By Dan Cadman, November 9, 2016

Wow. So Donald Trump performed the hat trick successfully despite prognostications from the punditry and sundry dirty tricks from the media, much of which so helpfully aided Clinton toward her ultimate defeat.

But enough of that. Time to look ahead. I'm sure folks everywhere will have advice for the incoming president and his team on all fronts, so I'm going to limit my few remarks to those central to the Center's raison d'etre: American immigration policy and operations.

Mr. Trump campaigned vigorously on a platform of reinstituting respect for the nation's sovereignty, which means above all things that the immigration laws of the United States must be uniformly and routinely enforced. Time to make good on that promise, because it isn't one readily to be forgotten.

First and foremost, that means rolling back the multiple and egregious extra-constitutional and outside-the-statute programs of the Obama administration. Some of these have been overt; many are a bit more stealthy and consist of regulatory "reinterpretations" of the language of the law. They all need to be dumped, and I have no doubt we will see a number of others added during these last couple of months of the term by the open-borders advocates within Obama's White House.

Last April, we at the Center compiled a list of the things we believe the new president's administration should look to correct or amend. (See "A Pen and a Phone: 79 immigration actions the next president can take".) At the risk of appearing audacious, I commend it to the transition team's attention.

To achieve his immigration agenda, President-Elect Trump will have the benefit of a Republican majority in both chambers of Congress. That would appear to make it a slam-dunk to push through a number of excellent and significant pieces of legislation that have been bottled up for years, such as both the Senate and House versions of the Davis-Oliver Act, right? Wrong.

That's because through thick and thin, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has insisted on maintaining the filibuster rule in the Senate, which functionally means that for any legislation to really pass the Senate, it must be by a super-majority vote of 60 or better. But the Republicans don't have a majority of 60, and you can bet the Democrats will lurch toward that rule like drunks to the Thunderbird or the Wild Irish Rose. The curious thing is that McConnell has kept the rule even after Minority Leader Harry Reid signaled that Democrats would ditch the procedural rule first thing if they regained majority status in the Senate.

Well, all eyes are going to be on the new administration, and on the Congress: No more whining about gridlock when there is a Republican trifecta at work. And that means if Mr. McConnell can't bring himself to dump the rule and honor the mandate of the American people in order to get legislation onto the president's desk, then the Senate Republican conference should take a hint from its more populist-minded House colleagues and replace him.