- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 30, 2018

President Trump’s call Tuesday for Congress to reach a bipartisan deal on immigration failed to entice Democrats, who called him everything from divisive to “explicitly racist.”

Mr. Trump spent an extraordinary amount of time in his State of the Union Address on the issue — more than any other president in modern history, breaking his own record from last year’s speech to a joint session — and capped it with a plea for both sides to work together.

He said a 30-year stalemate can end, as long as Republicans are willing to accept citizenship rights for some illegal immigrants and Democrats are willing to accept significant changes to immigration policy.

But Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez, an Illinois Democrat and one of his party’s leaders on the issue, said the speech did not bridge the gap.

“I am still hopeful, but I don’t see this Congress and this President coming to an agreement that prevents the deportation of the Dreamers,” he said. “The White House agenda is to gut legal immigration in exchange for allowing some of the Dreamers to live here.”

He said illegal immigrant “Dreamers” themselves have said they would reject a deal if it meant the other 10 million illegal immigrants might face a tougher time.

Mr. Gutierrez also took a shot at the president’s speech-making.

“Even though I disagreed with almost everything he said, for Trump, the speech was clear and well-delivered. Whoever translated it for him from Russian did a good job,” he said.

Immigrant-rights groups also dismissed the president’s outreach.

Frank Sharry, executive director of America’s Voice, called the immigration section of the speech “especially ugly,” saying it was unseemly for the president to highlight black families whose daughters were slain by MS-13 gang members in New York, or a Latino special agent in the Homeland Security Department whose job is to pursue the heavily immigrant MS-13.

“This is not a president for all Americans,” Mr. Sharry said. “He is a president who divides, denigrates and dehumanizes based on a worldview that some are worthy and most are not. This couldn’t be more un-American.”

Sen. John Cornyn, Texas Republican, said Democrats’ resistance to compromise will be the stumbling block on immigration.

“That means the DACA program is going to fail. I don’t think anybody wants that to happen, so people need to quit taking hard and fast positions and realize that everybody is going to have to compromise to get to a solution,” Mr. Cornyn said. “What he [Mr. Trump] said, it’s a compromise — I don’t think he should back off. He’s the president; you’re not going to pass a bill or get it passed into law without his signature, so you can’t ignore him. It’s going to have to be dealt with.”

- Alex Swoyer contributed to this article.

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