Even as President Donald Trump noted today that he is close to a decision on what he would like to do about Obama’s “DREAMer” program, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce admitted that it stands against the president’s immigration policies.
President Trump announced on Friday that he soon might have a decision on what he wants to do about President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that gave legal status to millions of young people who were brought into the country illegally when they were children.
Many have expected the president to announce the end of Obama’s policy. But perhaps sending mixed messages, during a Friday presser, Trump insisted, “We love Dreamers.”
Whatever the president decides to do, the Chamber of Commerce is admittedly struggling to figure out where it fits in with the administration’s goals. And in a recent interview, the Chamber seemed to prove that it is at odds with Trump’s immigration agenda.
Speaking to the Washington Examiner, the Chamber’s senior vice president for labor and immigration policy, Randy Johnson, pointed out that the business organization has no specific written policy paper on immigration. But, he also noted that the Chamber is more or less an open borders advocate.
“Immigration across the board, with some limitations, is a benefit to this country and that is the position of the Chamber,” Johnson said.
The Chamber spokesman also said that the group would debut a full policy position on immigration sometime this month.
Still, in contrast to what analysts imagine Trump will do, Johnson went on to say that the Chamber does not want to see DACA ended. Johnson said:
Let me just say on this point that if immigration wasn’t a benefit to this country, you wouldn’t have cities across this country such as St. Louis, Philadelphia, Detroit, and others actively reaching out to immigrants. The reason they are doing that is that these individuals, in the view of the people who run those cities, re-activate the economies in those cities. They are not seen as a burden on social welfare services.
Johnson added that the Chamber is committed to engaging with the Trump administration on merit-based immigration plans. However, he also said the Chamber would not back off its support for family-based immigration policies.
This is far from the only time Johnson has spoken out in opposition to Trump’s stated stance on limiting immigration. Last month, for instance, Johnson said the Chamber opposes reductions in immigration.
“Dramatically reducing overall immigration levels won’t raise the standard of living for Americans,” he exclaimed
“In fact, it will likely accomplish the opposite, making it harder for businesses, communities and our overall economy to grow, prosper and create jobs for American workers,” Johnson said.
In 2016, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce also released a booklet purporting to bust the “myths” about illegal immigrants. It was released under Johnson’s name and decried the “indiscriminate targeting” of unauthorized immigrants. The booklet ended asserting that illegal immigrants “do not pose a danger to American citizens.”
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.