Several of the president’s key advisers want him to protect the “Dreamers” brought into the country by their parents, and use extending DACA as a bargaining chip to get a larger immigration deal that would provide funding for the border wall and other key immigration reforms.
Among those advocating keeping DACA in place are: former and current chiefs of staff Reince Priebus and John Kelly, daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner. Others believed on board with their position are Vice President Mike Pence, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster and Economic Adviser Gary Cohn.
The pro-DACA group believes keeping DACA could lead to a deal with Congress that would allow for the border wall, more detention facilities for illegal immigrants, tighter rules on legal immigration and implementation of the E-verify online system that allows businesses to check the immigration status of potential and existing employees.
Those opposing the retention of DACA include Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Senior Policy Adviser Stephen Miller and Deputy Chief of Staff Rick Dearborn. They oppose any policy change that becomes amnesty and provides a path to citizenship.
Sessions has already ramped up the Justice Department’s efforts to crack down on sanctuary cities and enforce more deportations.
Outside groups that supported President Trump’s more aggressive approach to illegal immigration are aware of the conflict within the administration.
He's getting conflicting advice inside, and that’s caused hesitation,” said Rosemary Jenks, director of government relations of Numbers USA, a group that opposes protecting Dreamers and is in talks with the administration. “Obviously the president doesn’t want to make a decision but he has to.”
Ten states, led by Texas, have threatened to sue the administration if the DACA program is not terminated by September 5. They’ve sent a letter signed by one Republican governor and nine Republican attorneys general. Another 20 states, led by California, have urged the president to refuse the request.
It’s believed that about 800,000 “Dreamers” are protected under the DACA program. While a decision is pending, young people still are applying for or renewing work permits that will allow them to stay for a while.
For President Trump, the issue has become more real since he took office.
DACA is a very, very difficult subject for me,” he said in February. “To me, it’s one of the most difficult subjects I have because you have these incredible kids, in many cases not in all cases. In some of the cases they’re having DACA and they’re gang members and they’re drug dealers too. But you have some absolutely incredible kids, I would say mostly.”
In June, the administration did rescind another Obama program, DAPA — Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents. That program allowed parents in the country illegally to apply for and receive work permits.
The DAPA program, which could have affected about 4 million people, never took effect because an appeals court halted its implementation. John Kelly, then Secretary of Homeland Security, ordered the program ended “because there is no credible path forward to litigate the currently enjoined policy.”
With Kelly now ensconced as chief of staff, he serves as gatekeeper in terms of who gets in to see the president in White House, which means the anti-DACA faction will have less opportunity to press its position.
While some political observers believe there may be a major immigration deal that can be done, it’s obvious the Republican leadership under Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan is not supportive of the overall Trump agenda.
The pro-DACA White House faction is laboring under the assumption that Congress will work with the president in “good faith.” But to date, Congress has shown it’s incapable of dealing in “good faith.” The Obamacare debacle is exhibit number one.
Both McConnell and Ryan seem determined to keep President Trump from succeeding in his presidency.
Source: McClatchy DC
Image: Michael Fleshman