It was clear from the start that the policy was cruel, heartless, and unnecessary. Although there has been a spike in the number of asylum seekers in recent months, the over-all number of undocumented immigrants coming into the United States from Mexico and other Latin American countries is significantly lower than it was a decade ago. There is no “crisis” at the southern border, except the humanitarian one of Trump’s own making. Trump’s picture of the United States being swamped—or, in his words, “infested”—by Latino migrants is a fantasy that he concocted to whip up the racial fears and antipathies of his core supporters.
.. Clearly, Trump didn’t make this U-turn because he had grown tired of fear-mongering and racial incitement, or because he had experienced a crisis of conscience.
.. He reversed course because he had no choice politically. Although he often adopts the rhetoric and body language of an authoritarian strongman, he’s an elected politician. And in the face of mass outrage, bipartisan opposition, and condemnation from church groups and other civil-society institutions, the child-separation policy was no longer sustainable.
.. If Trump gets his way, families stopped at the border will now be detained indefinitely under the custody of ice.
.. the Department of Health & Human Services .. won’t make any special efforts to reunite the families that have already been split up, and that the separated children will be dealt with under the same processes that have been in effect since May.
.. At most, this was a very partial U-turn.
.. Trump only went this far because he was facing a public-relations disaster and a rebellion from Republicans fearful of losing control of Congress in the midterms.
.. Mitch McConnell, until now Trump’s faithful enabler on Capitol Hill, stated publicly that he and his fellow Republican Senators were in agreement that the child-separation policy “needs to be fixed.” On Wednesday morning, Paul Ryan, the Speaker of the House, said that on Thursday the lower chamber would “vote on legislation to keep families together.”
.. In the past year and a half, congressional Republicans have demonstrated that there is little they won’t do to abase themselves before Trump, if it means getting the policy results they desire. But even usually gutless pro-Trump Republicans weren’t willing to enter a campaign season defending a policy of tearing infants from their parents and keeping them detained in tents and metal cages.
.. white, non-college-educated white women, a key voting group for the G.O.P., were opposed to the policy by the whopping margin of fifty-six per cent to thirty per cent.
.. we still have to maintain toughness, or our country will be overrun by people, by crime, by all of the things that we don’t stand for, that we don’t want.”.. indicated that he intends to stick with his campaign theme of targeting undocumented immigrants, and depicting them as base creatures who could “infest” the United States.
Progressives have already homed in on Republican efforts to privatize Medicare as one of the major domestic political battles of 2017.
.. Of the two battles, the Republican effort to dismantle Medicaid is more certain.
.. If Mr. Trump chooses to oppose his party’s Medicare proposals while pushing unprecedented cuts to older people and working families in other vital safety-net programs, it would play into what seems to be an emerging strategy of his: to publicly fight a few select or symbolic populist battles in order to mask an overall economic and fiscal strategy that showers benefits on the most well-off at the expense of tens of millions of Americans.
.. it will be too easy for Mr. Trump to market the false notion that Medicaid is a bloated, wasteful program and that such financing caps are means simply to give states more flexibility while “slowing growth.” Medicaid’s actual spending per beneficiary has, on average, grown about 3 percentage points less each year than it has for those with private health insurance
..Together, full repeal and block granting would cut Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program funding by about $2.1 trillion over the next 10 years — a 40 percent cut.
.. a similar Medicaid block grant proposed by Mr. Ryan in 2012 would lead to 14 million to 21 million Americans’ losing their Medicaid coverage by the 10th year, and that is on top of the 13 million who would lose Medicaid or children’s insurance program
.. Current Republican plans to eliminate the marketplace subsidies and A.C.A. Medicaid expansion in 2019 would create a health care cliff where all of the Medicaid funds and subsidies for the A.C.A. expansion would simply disappear and 30 million people would lose their health care.
.. In the face of such a manufactured crisis
.. About 60 percent of the costs of traditional Medicaid come from providing nursing home care and other types of care for the elderly and those with disabilities.
.. It would take only three Republican senators thinking twice about the wisdom of block grants and per capita caps to put a halt to the coming war on Medicaid.