Mitch McConnell's empty promises to protect immigrant children mean nothing — and everyone knows it.

Senate Republicans seem acutely aware that despite their best messaging efforts, voters understand their party is to blame for the government shutdown.

So Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is trying to create the appearance he is working to protect immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, who are in limbo after Donald Trump terminated the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

But as former Florida GOP Rep. David Jolly pointed out, McConnell’s latest promises mean nothing.

“So you’ll agree to keep the govt open until Feb 8, I promise to try and fail to negotiate an immigration deal,” tweeted Jolly. “When we fail, I promise to bring up a bill that can’t pass the House and the President won’t sign.”

“Somewhere a carnival is missing its barker,” Jolly wrote.

Jolly was referring to a purported deal Senate Republican holdouts had cut with McConnell that was announced on Sunday, which promised a vote on a bill to protect DREAMers in February in return for their vote to reopen the government.

McConnell later took to the floor, clarifying that what he is promising is actually less than that.

“[S]hould these issues not be resolved by the time the funding bill before us expires on Feb. 8, 2018, assuming that the government remains open, it would be my intention to proceed to legislation that would address DACA, border security, and related issues,” said McConnell in a speech on the Senate floor.

So to sum up, McConnell is not promising that Trump will sign the bill, that it will pass the House, that it will pass the Senate, that it will actually advance to a floor vote by next month, or even that it will include real protections or a path to citizenship. All he is promising is that he “intends” to “proceed to” a bill that would “address DACA” in February.

As a reminder, in December, McConnell promised this would all get done in January if there was a bipartisan compromise, which there was. So his word is essentially worthless.

It is also worth noting that if it were not for McConnell’s obstruction, Congress would have passed the DREAM Act in 2010, and Trump could not have have suspended DREAMers’ legal status by executive order in the first place.

Jolly’s characterization of McConnell as a “carnival barker” is, if anything, too charitable. He is holding the entire government hostage because he could not keep his promise to 800,000 young immigrants, and his only response is … more promises. It is time for him to back his words with deeds.