On July 13, 2015, long before it was clear or even likely that Trump would be the Republican nominee, much less president, I wrote at National Review how central the issue of illegal immigration was to Trump’s rise.

My post was Trump’s Lesson: Voters Are Furious about Illegal Immigration:

Donald Trump has rocketed to the top, or near the top, of the Republican-primary field by focusing on illegal immigration and border security….

The media fell all over itself to denounce Trump, as did many Republican candidates and pundits. Trump was called incendiary, insensitive, a clown, not serious, damaging to the Republican “brand,” not what “we” are about, and so on.

But something happened on the way to the denunciations and purges. Kate Steinle was murdered in San Francisco, a sanctuary city….

Illegal immigration and open borders have made voters increasingly angry because they reflect the growing lawlessness of society and the willingness of Republicans to capitulate to leftist identity politics. The sense that we are losing control of our own country, by the design of politicians, is creating a fury — and an opening for a politician willing to recognize that the problem poses an existential threat to our own freedoms.

I focused on a sentence in Trump’s Phoenix speech which correctly identified the problem as being whether we have a country or not:

When I started . . . I didn’t think the immigration thing would take on a life like it has. I made some very tough statements about people flowing through, because that’s one of the things, to make our country great again, we have to create borders, otherwise we don’t have a country.

Do we have borders and a country?

I never had any illusions that Trump was a conservative, and strenuously argued during the primaries that he not only was not conservative, but was a bigger government type. But once he was the nominee, and Hillary was the only other choice, whatever weaknesses Trump had paled in comparison to Hillary.

There is nothing Trump has done since taking office that has disappointed conservatives that Hillary wouldn’t have done 10x over. So whatever disappointments have taken place need to be kept in that perspective.

Trump was unprepared for the political culture that would surround his taking office. He’s like someone surrounded by a swarm of mosquitoes, without netting.

We have watched the Trump administration being picked apart person by person, issue by issue. Sometimes by the media, sometimes by Democrats, sometimes by establishment Republicans. Sometimes Trump’s own mercurial personality was to blame.

The team that got him there mostly now is gone, replaced by Generals and others acceptable to D.C. but hostile to the people who elected Trump.

The risks of a failed Trump presidency are as great as the risks of a failed general election campaign, something I wrote about in Being anti-anti-Trump is no vice, at least not now:

The choice now is between Trump and the conspiracy theorists, Antifa street thugs, campus anti-free speech police, Soros-funded front groups, deceptive anti-Trump media, Democrat obstructionists, and illegal leakers in the permanent bureaucracy who consider themselves above the electoral process.

You don’t need to be pro-Trump to be against those who collectively are a greater threat to our liberty than Trump.

I’ve been willing to give Trump the benefit of the doubt, but that comes to an end if Trump signs onto an amnesty deal. It’s not that we didn’t see that as a possibility; to the contrary, a sell out always was a concern.

But now it’s here.

Trump is on the verge of turning a temporary Obama policy deferring enforcement against people here illegally into a full-blown amnesty, which may even go beyond people brought here as children.

Amnesty is the issue on which to oppose Trump, particularly if you support Trump generally. It will kill his presidency, something Schumer and Pelosi correctly diagnosed. Democrats want amnesty for all illegal immigrants and open borders, they’ll take 800,000 as the way to open the door. And they’ll use even the slightest sellout to seek to separate Trump from the people who elected him so as to defeat him on other issues.

Amnesty is the gateway drug to a failed Trump presidency.

NeverTrump Republican are particularly ecstatic on social media today. They want nothing more than for Trump to fail so they can proclaim “I told you so.” They thrive on being out of power. Schumer and Pelosi are NeverTrump Republicans’ best friends right now.

When Trump was elected, my reaction was that there was great opportunity, and I’d support him when his policies were good, and oppose bad policies. Amnesty is a bad policy. It goes to something more than the rule of law, it goes to whether we have a country.

Particularly if you support Trump and want his positive policies to succeed, you need to oppose an amnesty sellout.