Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), appearing on CNN Sunday morning, slammed Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi for calling President Donald Trump’s new immigration proposal a plan to “make America white again” on Friday.
“You know what? We don’t need that type of rhetoric on either side,” Manchin told CNN’s Jake Tapper on State of the Union. Asked whether that meant he “condemned” Pelosi’s remark, Manchin replied that his criticism would apply to both sides: “I’m condemning all this crazy rhetoric that goes on. Just because someone’s a Republican – it’s not my enemy. And we have to work together.”
On Friday, Pelosi said:
Since I’m on the subject of Dreamers, since last night, the president put forth a plan. Let me just say what I said last night, that plan is a campaign to make America white again. It is a plan that says over 50 percent of the current legal immigration will be cut back. … They are changing the character of our country by what they are putting forth. They bring a tear to the eye of the Statue of Liberty.
Pelosi also defended “sanctuary cities” such as her home town of San Francisco.
Trump’s proposal, revealed on Thursday, would grant a “path to citizenship” to 1.8 million so-called “Dreamers” – illegal aliens brought to the country as minors – even if they were not among the roughly 800,000 who applied for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. In return, Trump is demanding $25 billion for border security (including a border wall along most of the U.S.-Mexico border), an end to chain migration, and the cancellation of the diversity visa lottery.
Each of these provisions enjoys wide support among Americans, according to opinion polls. As the Daily Caller noted last week, a new Harvard-Harris poll “found that 65% of voters overall agreed with Trump’s position that any bill codifying Obama-era protections for illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. as children should be accompanied by funding for a wall, ending chain migration, and ending the diversity visa lottery program.”
However, Democrats are furious because the plan would cut off their efforts to legalize potentially tens of millions of additional illegal aliens, and forces them to choose between helping the “Dreamers” – the poster children for immigration reform – and pursuing their broader immigration ambitions.
Republicans charge that Democrats are more interested in importing new voters than in helping the people they purport to represent. Advocates for “Dreamers” complain that Trump proposals would make them “second-class citizens” by preventing them from sponsoring family members who brought them to the country illegally.
Manchin was cautiously open to Trump’s plan, hinting that he wanted to see more illegal aliens eligible for a “path to citizenship.”
He cited the Gang of Eight bill in 2013, which passed the Senate but failed in the House, noting that it included funding for border security and legal status for 11 million illegal aliens. That, Manchin suggested, was an example of “going big” on both legalization and border security, whereas Trump’s proposal only went “big” on the latter and “small” on the former.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named to Forward’s 50 “most influential” Jews in 2017. He is the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.