Home / World News / Trump turns again on immigration; allies bash “Amnesty Don” – The Denver Post

Trump turns again on immigration; allies bash “Amnesty Don” – The Denver Post

NEW YORK — Fearing betrayal on a signature campaign issue, President Donald Trump’s loyalists are lashing out against his proposal to create a path to citizenship for nearly 2 million “Dreamer” immigrants.

Trump-aligned candidates from Nevada and Virginia rejected the notion outright. A loyal media ally, Breitbart News, attacked him as “Amnesty Don.” And outside groups that cheered the hardline rhetoric that dominated Trump’s campaign warned of fierce backlash against the president’s party in November’s midterm elections.

“There’s a real potential for disaster,” said Mark Krikorian, executive director of the far-right Center for Immigration Studies. “The president hasn’t sold out his voters yet. But I think it’s important that his supporters are making clear to him that they’re keeping an eye on him.”

The public scolding is aimed at a president who has changed course under pressure before. It presents Trump with a significant test on an issue that dominated his outsider candidacy and inspired working-class voters who propelled his rise. Now, barely a year into his presidency, Trump can bend either to the will of his fiery base or to the pressure to govern and compromise.

His leadership may determine the fate of hundreds of thousands of young immigrants and whether his party can improve its standing among surging numbers of Hispanic voters.

“There’s a Trump movement. And It’s not necessarily about Donald Trump,” said Corey Stewart, a Republican Senate candidate in Virginia and a vocal Trump ally. “It’s about the things that Donald Trump campaigned and stood for during his campaign. Ultimately, every elected leader needs to stay true to the message that they ran on, otherwise people will leave them.”

The passionate response underscores the Republican Party’s dilemma on immigration under Trump.

Much of the country, including independents and moderate Republicans, favor protections for thousands of young people brought to the country as children illegally and raised here through no fault of their own. But a vocal conservative faction emboldened by Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric will never accept anything viewed as “amnesty.” And many view legal protection for these young immigrants as just that.

Trump’s proposal includes billions for border security and significant changes to legal immigration long sought by hard-liners. Several Democrats and immigration activists rejected it outright. But his supporters’ focus on “amnesty” for Dreamers highlights how dug in the base is and how little room Trump has to maneuver.

The president told journalists this week he favors a pathway to citizenship for those immigrants, embracing a notion he once specifically rejected. Legal protection for roughly 700,000 immigrants enrolled in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, has emerged as a driving priority for Democrats, who forced a government shutdown over this issue last week. The businessman president appears to have set out to cut a deal.

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