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Is Pence Quietly ​Working to Undermine Trump on Immigration?

Vice President Mike Pence is a stalwart conservative. But he is also a bona fide member of the Washington establishment, and in that, his devotion to combating illegal immigration is suspect.

Politico, which for sure thinks this is a good thing, nevertheless has a good piece on Pence and immigration. From the article:

As a member of Congress more than a decade ago, Mike Pence unveiled an immigration proposal offering a chance for legal status to people who had come to the country illegally. Hardline conservative activists were furious.

Tom Tancredo, then a firebrand Republican congressman from Colorado, called the vice president’s proposal both “amnesty” and “an atrocity”: A political action committee he co-founded set up a running “Pence Watch” online. The populist pundit Pat Buchanan likened Pence’s call for “a principled consensus on immigration reform” to a betrayal from “The Godfather” and said it could mean “the end of Mike Pence as a rising star of the GOP.”

Pence’s 2006 plan, which he insisted did not amount to amnesty for immigrants in the country illegally, died quietly and has been mostly forgotten in Washington. But not by those hawkish advocates, who suspect that Pence is quietly seeking to have a moderating influence over President Donald Trump’s immigration policies, including what the president introduced as his new “pro-immigrant” plan on Thursday.

Although Pence largely echoes Trump’s talking points and has given few public hints that he sees things any differently, his critics have noticed with growing alarm that he is playing a greater behind-the-scenes role in Trump’s immigration policy than has been previously understood, a fact confirmed by people close to Pence.

Immigration hawks say Pence’s involvement is a warning sign that “establishment Republicans who are interested in more workers — and not more relief for American workers” — are making inroads into Trump’s policymaking, said Jessica Vaughan of the Center for Immigration Studies, who attended a meeting with Jared Kushner, the president’s senior adviser and son-in-law.

Vaughan and her influential allies are in constant battle with what they see as Chamber of Commerce-style establishment Republicans, who are far more interested in ensuring an ample labor supply than in Trump’s themes of secure borders and national identity. That approach is at odds with the plan Trump released Thursday, which does not aim to reduce the overall number of immigrants allowed in the U.S. legally or address the illegal immigration population — issues he had rallied against for years.

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