President Trump called on Congress to “legalize” DACA late Tuesday, just hours after his administration announced the repeal of the amnesty for children brought to the country illegally — promising that he will “revisit this issue” if Congress does not turn DACA into legislation.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the repeal of the Obama era executive order — known as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program — both on constitutional grounds and also on principle.
“The effect of this unilateral executive amnesty, among other things, contributed to a surge of unaccompanied minors on the southern border that yielded terrible humanitarian consequences,” Sessions said. “It also denied jobs to hundreds of thousands of Americans by allowing those same jobs to go to illegal aliens.”
The move saw significant opposition from Democrats and voices in the media, while even some Republicans who formerly opposed DACA called for Congress to act to resolve the issue with legislation.
The rollback includes a six-month delay so as to allow Congress to act if it so chose. The White House had expressed hope that the issue could be included as part of a broader immigration legislation package, with Trump tweeting that he hoped to work with Democrats and Republicans for a reform “that puts hardworking citizens of our country 1st.”
But by late Tuesday, Trump appeared to have turned into a paper tiger on the key campaign promise to get rid of DACA, saying he would “revisit this issue” if Congress did not “legalize DACA.”
Congress now has 6 months to legalize DACA (something the Obama Administration was unable to do). If they can't, I will revisit this issue!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 6, 2017
The tweet appears to be adopting an argument used by many establishment Republicans that posits the problem with DACA was not its substance, but primarily that it was done unilaterally by President Obama, not through Congress.
It is unlikely that Trump’s “America First” base, which supported Trump in part because of his focus on illegal immigration, will be satisfied with anything approaching a repeat of DACA — either by Congress or presidential pen.
Perhaps sensing a possible cave, conservative commentator Ann Coulter tweeted before the announcement that millions of voters “not only won’t vote for [Trump] again, but will never vote Republican again if they pass this DACA amnesty.
— Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) September 5, 2017
Adam Shaw is a Breitbart News politics reporter based in New York. Follow Adam on Twitter: @AdamShawNY