Trump says he cares about DREAMers, but that comes at a very steep price.
The Trump administration has made it abundantly clear that the uncertain future of 800,000 young immigrant facing deportation is a "fun" game, and whether the White House will do anything to protect them "depends on what we get in exchange."
Now the White House has put a price tag on those lives: $30 billion.
That's the very specific amount of money Trump is demanding in exchange for a deal to protect and eventually offer the chance for citizenship to DREAMers those young, undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children and were permitted to remain here under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that Trump rescinded last year.
"Were going to morph into it," Trump told reporters Wednesday. "Its going to happen, at some point in the future, over a period of 10 to 12 years."
And all he wants in exchange is $25 billion to build his ridiculous wall on the southern border the wall he insisted countless times Mexico would pay for and another $5 billion for additional, undefined border security spending.
Trump has already blown up one bipartisan deal, a deal that actually did include funding for his wall, to prevent the deportations that will begin en masse March 5, when DACA protections end. That deal was apparently too generous, according to the most virulently racist advisers on Trump's team who pushed him to kill the deal, a move that led to a brief government shutdown.
The only reason the government reopened was because Democrats extracted a promise from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell that a vote to protect DREAMers would be held within the next two weeks.
There was no mention of a multi-billion ransom to satisfy Trump's border wall fantasy. Yet that's apparently what Trump is now demanding.
"Tell them they have nothing to worry about," Trump had the audacity to say Wednesday. But now that he has openly stated the price of protection for nearly a million immigrants and their families, his assurance is unlikely to stem the growing panic about what will happen and what is already happening for those families.
Sadly, the support from Trump's congressional enablers isn't likely to reassure them either. Sen. Lindsey Graham actually praised Trump's "leadership" on the issue.
"I have never felt better about our chances of finding a solution on immigration," he said. While Graham might feel better, knowing that they have been taken hostage to the tune of $30 billion is certain to make the people whose fates is actually on the line feel worse.