Donald J. Trump is likely to demonstrate yet again that his presidency is the product of a diehard Republican “base” and that he owes the base every favor he can bestow.
He has decided, according to Politico, to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. But, get this: He’s going to wait six months before he pulls the plug. The president’s announcement is set for Tuesday.
What does this do? It allows the president to say he’s kept this campaign promise that the base loves; it also gives Congress a window to legislate a solution to allowing U.S. residents who as children were brought here illegally by their parents.
I had maintained a sliver of hope that Trump would agree to let Barack Obama’s executive order stand. DACA residents comprise those individuals who came here as children — some of whom were infants and/or toddlers. Their parents entered the country illegally, but those children have grown up living as Americans.
The United States is the only country they know. Yet they remain “criminals” in the minds of those who want ’em all tossed out.
Many of Trump’s Republican Party “allies” in Congress have broken ranks with the president on this issue. House Speaker Paul Ryan didn’t want to rescind DACA; neither does U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch, the Senate’s senior Republican; other key Republicans across the country have weighed in against efforts to repeal DACA. Florida Gov. Rick Scott, a leading conservative GOP executive, wants DACA to remain.
Not the president. At least not six months from now.
As Politico reports: Some Republican lawmakers, including Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, have said that Congress needs to pass a law to protect the so-called Dreamers.
“My hope is that as part of this process we can work on a way to deal with this issue and solve it through legislation, which is the right way to do it and the constitutional way to do it,” Rubio told CNN in June.
How would that legislation work? What would it look like? Would the president sign it or veto it? I guess the answer to the last question would be whether Congress could approve a DACA law with a veto-proof majority.
Given the tensions that have roiled the nation in recent weeks and the growing belief that the Trump administration cares damn little about sticky issues such as comprehensive immigration reform, such a majority might be in the cards.
This decision isn’t as stark as it could have been. It’s still pretty damn heartless of the president to toss aside millions of residents who have known no other life than what they’ve established in the United States of America.
My advice to Congress? Get busy. Right now.