So Trump is expected to announce an end to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program today – that would be with a six month delay in enforcement, in order to pass that hot potato over to Congress.
What does that mean?
It means he wants it to look like he’s ending it, in order to appease his base, but he’s hoping Congress can pull his butt out of this particular fire and come up with some reasonable compromise within six months.
To be sure, DACA was unconstitutional and never should have been implemented by former President Obama (who never met a Constitutional law he didn’t feel was subject to his particular whims).
That being said, Trump apparently has come to realize how explosive this issue is, and he wanted an out.
The New York Times reported on Monday:
Last week, with a key court deadline looming for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, Mr. Trump, exasperated, asked his aides for “a way out” of a dilemma he created by promising to roll back the program as a presidential candidate, according to two people familiar with the exchange.
Mr. Trump’s chief of staff, John F. Kelly, who had wrestled with crafting a compromise in his previous job as the president’s homeland security secretary, began consulting with Republican lawmakers and staff members for a quick fix, according to three officials familiar with the situation. He finally arrived at an inelegant solution to an intractable problem: Delaying a decision on the final fate of about 800,000 “Dreamers” covered by President Barack Obama’s executive action for six months, and putting it on Congress to come up with a legislative solution to the problem.
In fact, Trump, who loves having the cameras on him, especially when he’s playing to his base, won’t be making the announcement today. Instead, he’s trotting out Attorney General Jeff Sessions to deliver the official announcement.
Trump obviously sees this as the best possible way to handle this going forward. His base will hear, “…ending DACA…” and that’s it. He’s a hero.
For those who might actually hear the part about the six month delay, in order to find a compromise, it won’t be Trump’s decision. It will fall on Sessions or Congress. Trump is still the hero who tried.
“It’s not clear what delaying this for six months means,” said Mark Krikorian, an immigration hard-liner who runs the Center for Immigration Studies who has supported the president’s actions to curtail immigration.
“He’s being pulled in a bunch of different directions, and because he doesn’t have any strong ideological anchor, or deep knowledge of the issue, he ends up sort of not knowing what to do,” Mr. Krikorian said. “I think the fact that they did nothing to it suggests that they had no idea what to do,” he added.
Pay special attention to that part about Trump having no strong ideological anchor. That will come up again and again, in some way over the next couple of years.
The main pressure to end the program is coming from Mr. Trump’s hard-line policy adviser, Stephen Miller; Mr. Sessions; and his still-influential former chief strategist, Stephen K. Bannon, who believe that nothing short of a complete and immediate shutdown of the program will fulfill the president’s campaign pledges.
They have warned the president that immediate action is required to head off the lawsuits against the program brought by a group of red state attorneys general.
Texas, Alabama, Arkansas, South Carolina, West Virginia, and Louisiana are among a group of about 10 states that are threatening to join in a suit against the DACA program.
Whatever happens over the next six months will affect around 800,000 people here now under the program, as well as the businesses where many are employed.
“The federal government has the cellphone and home address of every DACA recipient,” said Todd Schulte, president of FWD.us, a progressive immigration reform group that has urged the president to retain the program.
“They grew up here, they work at nearly every major company in America, serve in the military and many are working on recovery efforts in Texas,” he added. “If DACA is repealed and no permanent legislation passed, they will all be fired and our government will begin the large-scale deportation of people raised in the United States, using information they volunteered to the government with the promise it would never be used against them or their families.”
Not an easy issue to tackle. Obama knew that when he blithely passed an executive order to appeal to his base.