President Donald Trump will have an announcement in the coming days on the Obama-era program shielding illegal immigrants from deportation if they entered the country as children.
“We love the dreamers. We love everybody,” @POTUS says.
If Trump ends the program, as he reportedly plans to, the question could be how it will unravel.
“We’ll issue it sometime over the weekend. Sometime today or over the weekend, we’ll have a decision. We’ll issue it sometime over the weekend, maybe this afternoon,” Trump told reporters on Friday.
“We love the dreamers. We love everybody … We think the dreamers are terrific,” Trump said. The term “dreamers” is commonly used to describe illegal immigrants brought into the country by their parents as children.
However, after that, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said at the daily press briefing, “We’re actually going to make that announcement on Tuesday of next week.”
The president’s decision will come ahead of a Sept. 5 deadline given by 10 Republican state attorneys general and one governor in a letter.
The states sued but vowed to terminate the suit if the Trump administration ends a program called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. President Barack Obama, while facing re-election in 2012, rolled out DACA to protect “dreamers” from deportation.
But later Friday, Trump said the White House “will be releasing on DACA sometime over the weekend, probably Sunday, Saturday; latest will be Monday.”
Tennessee Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery, who previously joined the other AGs, announced he reversed his decision and would not challenge DACA.
In 2014, Obama expanded protection from deportation to the parents of illegal immigrants with Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, or DAPA, a policy that died after a 4-4 tie on the Supreme Court in 2016. That meant the lower court decisions finding the action unconstitutional were upheld. If the state attorneys general went forward with their lawsuit against DACA, they would be suing in the same court and making largely the same case against executive overreach by the last administration on both policies.
The Federation for American Immigration Reform favors Trump ending the policy, but FAIR spokesman Ira Mehlman says there is something to be said for getting the Supreme Court precedent.
“The administration could allow the lawsuit to move forward and I presume the 4-4 decision would turn into a 5-4 decision with Justice [Neil] Gorsuch,” Mehlman told The Daily Signal. “It would extend DACA for now, but the trade-off would be that you would have a precedent-setting Supreme Court decision.”
The most likely option, Mehlman said, is that Trump will simply stop granting new DACA requests and renewals, which expire after two years. That would be a more practical solution than canceling all existing DACA benefits, Mehlman said.
“There are 800,000 [recipients of DACA] out there, so to repeal DACA outright would be an enormous expense of money and manpower,” Mehlman said. “Letting it expire is the only practical way to go.”
Though not a DACA supporter in the beginning, Republican strategist Liz Mair argues that doing away with the program this far in would harm the country and the economy because they have become taxpayers and consumers.
“By being part of the U.S. economy they do their part not only to pay into entitlement programs that seniors, who skew conservative, rely on but also support obvious national priorities like national defense,” Mair told The Daily Signal. “They also keep Americans in jobs by creating consumer demand alongside the rest of us who were born or naturalized here—1,400 jobs per day being lost is going to suck a lot of cash out of local grocery stores, gas stations, car dealerships, restaurants, to say nothing of things like the housing sector.”
The threat of legal action from states has had an impact on the decision, White House homeland security adviser Tom Bossert said.
“It won’t affect the policy decision, but it will affect the timing of it,” Bossert told The Daily Signal during the Thursday press briefing. “We certainly have to watch the lawsuits and how they matriculate through the courts and when the deadlines would be imposed. That will inform our decision-making process, but it won’t affect the policy decision.”
It seems likely the states’ lawsuit played a big role in what was a difficult decision for Trump, said David Inserra, a homeland security policy analyst with The Heritage Foundation.
“The attorneys general were rightly saying we have a strong legal hand, we won DAPA and we’ll use the same argument,” Inserra told The Daily Signal. “The president does not want to be seen as fighting for this in court. That has been a source of pressure.”
More importantly, DACA was a bad policy imposed in an unconstitutional way, Inserra said.
“Ultimately DACA is a bad policy,” Inserra said. “It’s bad for immigration enforcement. It encourages more illegal immigration, and keeping it … [in] place [is] a bad precedent that a future president can [effectively] create a new law without Congress.”