In yet another surprising Friday evening bombshell. President Trump has said that he will sign an an immigration bill that includes a pathway to citizenship for participants in Barack Obama’s DACA program. Mr. Trump had previously tried to end the DACA program but was stymied by the Supreme Court.
In an interview with Telemundo Friday evening, Trump claimed that a deal had already been reached.
“The deal was done,” Trump said. “DACA is going to be just fine. We’re putting it in. It’s going to be just fine. And I am going to be, over the next few weeks, signing an immigration bill that a lot of people don’t know about. You have breaking news, but I’m signing a big immigration bill.”
Trump also said that he planned to sign an Executive Order, saying, “I’m going to do a big executive order. I have the power to do it as president and I’m going to make DACA a part of it. But, we put it in, and we’ll probably going to then be taking it out. We’re working out the legal complexities right now, but I’m going to be signing a very major immigration bill as an executive order, which Supreme Court now, because of the DACA decision, has given me the power to do that.”
The Supreme Court ruled last month that Trump could not end DACA because the Administration’s rationale for doing so violated the Administrative Procedures Act.
When asked if he would provide temporary relief through an Executive Order, Trump answered, “No, what I’m going to do is that they’re going to part of a much bigger bill on immigration. It’s going to be a very big bill, a very good bill, and merit-based bill and it will include DACA, and I think people are going to be very happy.”
“But one of the aspects of the bill is going to be DACA. We’re going to have a road to citizenship,” he added.
There have been no recent indications of negotiations on an immigration bill, but Donald Trump, the immigration hawk, might be one of the few people able to swing enough Republican votes to pass a pathway to citizenship.
The opposite might also be true. Immigration reform is popular with voters but not within the Republican Party. Moving to the center might fracture Mr. Trump’s shrinking base.
Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has already voiced opposition to the plan on Twitter, calling the plan “amnesty” and saying that there “is zero constitutional authority for the president to create a ‘road to citizenship’ by executive fiat.”
My personal guess is that President Trump’s change of heart on DACA is a temporary one. The president has waffled on immigration in the past but has always retreated to the right to avoid alienating his base. This time will probably be no different but might represent a small window of opportunity to pass much-needed immigration reform.
If you would like to continue the discussion on social media, you can visit David Thornton’s Facebook page or follow him on Twitter.