Yet again, after President Donald Trump has already weighed in and endorsed a deeply unpopular policy position, the president is asking Congress to fix his mess.
Trump has reportedly been searching for “a way out” of his current legislative dilemma involving the Obama-era DACA law, which protects the children of illegal immigrants and allows them to obtain work and study permits. Instead of fulfilling his campaign promise of rolling back the legislation, he announced Tuesday that Congress would have the responsibility of doing something.
Congress, get ready to do your job – DACA!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 5, 2017
Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who has urged the president to end the program, is expected to make the formal announcement later on Tuesday, according to the New York Times. Some Congressional Republicans have already spoken out and requested that the president not end the program, but there are others who remain staunchly opposed to the measure.
Trump’s new chief of staff John Kelly came up with the solution to kick the issue to Congress after consulting with Republican lawmakers and staff members, and after Trump expressed that he wanted “a way out,” the Times reported. But the delay puts the decision in limbo and can lead to further problems for a Republican party that has struggled to stay united.
“He’s being pulled in a bunch of different directions, and because he doesn’t have any strong ideological anchor, or deep knowledge of the issue, he ends up sort of not knowing what to do,” Mark Krikorian told the Times. “I think the fact that they did nothing to it suggests that they had no idea what to do.”
Those urging Trump to end DACA consist of his senior policy adviser Stephen Miller as well as Sessions. Former chief strategist Steve Bannon, who is still rumored to have some influence, wants Trump to end the program because he has pressured Trump to fulfill all of his campaign promises.
If Congress ended the program, they would be subjecting nearly 800,000 people to deportation.
“The federal government has the cellphone and home address of every DACA recipient,” Todd Schulte, president of FWD.us, a progressive immigration reform group, told the Times.
“They grew up here, they work at nearly every major company in America, serve in the military and many are working on recovery efforts in Texas,” he explained. “If DACA is repealed and no permanent legislation passed, they will all be fired and our government will begin the large-scale deportation of people raised in the United States, using information they volunteered to the government with the promise it would never be used against them or their families.”
Congress has had a rough and largely ineffective eight months in office since coming on in January, and it’s currently unclear if they could muster enough support to save DACA.
As Trump turned up the heat to pass health care legislation, Congress ultimately failed to garner enough votes that would have repealed and replaced Obamacare — a key Trump campaign promise — and had been hailed as a success that was seven years in the making. Though some Republicans have said they plan to support legislation that protects Dreamers, they face opposition from ultra-conservatives and risk a further fracturing of the party.