Make no mistake about this: President Trump is establishing the parameters for a DACA deal. In fact, he’s drawing a bright line in the sand on this, saying “Cryin’ Chuck Schumer fully understands, especially after his humiliating defeat, that if there is no Wall, there is no DACA. We must have safety and security, together with a strong Military, for our great people!”

This is also a sharp rebuke to Jeff Flake and Lindsey Graham. They’ve both advocated for a clean DACA bill for all intents and purposes. Technically, their bill isn’t clean but it’s a far cry from ending chain migration or building the wall.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders also rebuked Flake and Graham, saying “In a bipartisan meeting here at the White House two weeks ago we outlined a path forward on four issues: serious border security, an end to chain migration, the cancellation of the outdated and unsafe visa lottery and a permanent solution to DACA. Unfortunately, the Flake-Graham-Durbin agreement does not meet these bench marks.”

By saying this, Sanders has essentially told Democrats that they won’t take legislation negotiated by Flake and Graham seriously so they shouldn’t waste time with that legislation. That isn’t to say Republicans would be totally opposed to Graham-negotiated immigration reform. There are other squishes in the Senate. What I’m saying is that President Trump has made it perfectly clear that he won’t accept anything that Bob Goodlatte, Tom Cotton and Martha McSally haven’t approved.

Sen. Schumer has opened with a hardball position:

“There is no deal that Sen. Cotton or Rep. [Bob] Goodlatte could forge that could earn the majority of either the House or the Senate,” Schumer said, adding, “If Sen. Cotton and Rep. Goodlatte have veto power over an agreement, everyone knows there won’t be an agreement.” He said the same thing directly to the president, Politico reported.

The Goodlatte bill would pass the House because President Trump has endorsed it and because it’s what the American people want. These negotiations aren’t dividing Republicans. They’re uniting them:

So far the attacks appear to be stiffening the White House’s resolve. Sanders defended Miller from what she characterized as a “sad and desperate attempt by a few people trying to tarnish a staffer.” One of her deputies, Hogan Gidley, shot back that Graham was the outlier on immigration, not Miller, and said the South Carolina Republican had been in “lockstep” with Democrats for “decades” on “amnesty” and “open borders.”

Democrats argue that this kind of GOP infighting demonstrates precisely why immigration hawks are disruptive of any attempt to arrive at a deal. If one is not reached by Feb. 8, they believe they are owed a vote on a clean DACA bill as a condition of ending the first shutdown fight, a strategic decision that did not wow liberal activists but may have been necessitated by the position of the ten Democratic senators up for re-election this year in states that Trump won as well as polling unfavorable to an immigration-driven shutdown.

If this reporting is accurate, then Democrats have an uphill fight on DACA. It isn’t that DACA isn’t popular. It’s that large majorities of people also want family-based, aka chain, migration and the diversity visa lottery ended and the wall built. If Democrats dig in their heels on that, they’ll lose this fight.

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