Comment: The Wall Opportunity
The American people have spoken, and Mr. Trump is now President-Elect. We examine below the effects on immigration policy of his historic upset victory.
At the outset, Mr. Trump has only a limited mandate, since he has apparently lost the two-party popular vote. Further, Republicans in Congress, who will be Mr. Trump's foot soldiers in implementing the Trump policy agenda, will likely face a seriously hobbled leadership, as the Freedom Caucus, emboldened by Mr. Trump's victory, will continue to stymie the Speaker du jour (currently, the unfortunate Mr. Ryan).
Some of Mr. Trump's announced priorities (such as can be discerned) will be amenable to unilateral Executive action, such as those on Foreign Policy. Many, however, will require Congressional action, and here Mr. Trump faces the reality of the Filibuster in the Senate. With 48 Democrats, Mr. Schumer will be able to completely throttle critical legislation, despite the forbidding 2018 Senate landscape (which heavily favors Republicans), and will likely find the necessary 40 votes to stop Mr. Trump's agenda at almost every turn. It follows therefore, that Mr. Trump and his Congressional allies will turn to Reconciliation for the core pieces of Mr. Trump's agenda, including immigration and The Wall (since Reconciliation requires only 50 votes in the Senate, i.e. cannot be filibustered under Senate rules).
The fate of immigration policy under a Trump presidency therefore, at least for the first year or two, will rest largely on one Reconciliation bill - which will necessarily be massive - perhaps over 3,000 pages in length. The Reconciliation measure will likely include, at a minimum, The Wall, Obamacare repeal and Infrastructure, and will likely be introduced in the House by February 2017. Under Senate rules (and House rules) immigration amendments will be germane to such a Reconciliation measure, and we can count on such amendments being offered both on the House floor and the Senate floor. Pretty much the entire CIR package, minus legalization and possibly mandatory E-Verify, is likely to carry majority support on the floors of both Chambers as an amendment to the Reconciliation bill. In other words, by early 2017, Congress is quite likely to vote on massive changes to the current immigration system. We encourage all immigration advocates to get to work polishing up immigration language for consideration by Congress. It is of course ironic that Mr. Trump's supporters should have paved the way for almost the entire CIR package, but political history has witnessed many such ironies.
The Wall may or may not happen, but significant changes to the INA appear to be on the cards.
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