Relying upon a technique rarely seen in political journalism these days, anonymous and nebulously described sources, BuzzFeed, hot off its tour de force in releasing the Trump “dossier” now has another scoop?
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA — which Trump said he would rescind on day one — is rough political terrain for the White House. Conservative media and elected officials see it as a rare hardline immigration promise the administration hasn’t kept, and the White House is kicking it down the road for as long as officials can.
But according to two sources who regularly speak with the Trump administration, DACA is a settled issue.
And in recent conversations, two administration sources pointed to chief strategist Steve Bannon as the man who preserved the current iteration of DACA, the victor of a debate with Attorney General Jeff Sessions and senior policy adviser Stephen Miller, who favored curtailing the program.
“Bannon usually wins most battles,” an administration insider said.
Previous reports have cast Bannon on one end of the spectrum on rescinding DACA and a more moderate group led by chief of staff Reince Priebus that wanted to keep it, but BuzzFeed News has learned that Bannon views DACA, which tends to be viewed more favorably than many immigration policies, as a strategic asset in the coming immigration policy battles, a source familiar with his thinking said.
“Trump was never in favor of repealing DACA,” said a source close to the president, who also said that keeping the program is in line with the immigration stance of Bannon, whose counsel Trump closely heeds. Bannon’s economic nationalist view is very much rooted in culture, and so eliminating DACA wouldn’t be a priority for him because “these kids have been here and they’re going to schools here,” the source said. “They’re Americans. They understand the culture.”
Last month at CPAC, for instance, Bannon said the “center core of what we believe” is that “we’re a nation with an economy — not an economy just in some global marketplace with open border — that we’re a nation with a culture and a reason for being, and I think that’s what unites us and I think that’s what’s going to unite this movement.”
I don’t know who’s behind the decision and I have my doubts that BuzzFeed does either, but not going after the DACA people is one of the few moves calculated not to be controversial that we’ve seen out of this administration. The DACA issue is touchy. Most people don’t want to deport someone who has spent most of their life in America back to a nation with which they have no connection. But the solution is for Congress to fix the problem and the best thing for the Trump administration to do is to ignore this hot button issue and concentrate on the low-hanging fruit of border security and energetically enforcing immigration laws against obvious illegals. If Bannon has been involved in that decision in a positive way, good for him.