President Makes Enormous Wrongheaded Miscalculation By Announcing He’ll Kick Out Hundreds Of Thousands Of Undocumented Immigrants, Many Of Whom Have Been Here Since Childhood
As day turned to night, even the President seemed to get a whiff of the mess he’d made, Tweeting:
Wait…what?! That just makes everything worse: not only does it send a message to Congress that they don’t actually have to do anything, it again hints at help for the exact same people you just screwed over a few hours earlier, after promising them nothing but “love” and support for months. (Not to mention that you somehow attempt to shift responsibility for your misdeed onto Obama.) Why would they trust you now? Why would anyone trust you now? Especially when the White House issued a memo (that we have courtesy of CNN) advising “DACA recipients to use the time remaining on their work authorizations to prepare for and arrange their departure from the United States“. And just a couple of hours before, you’d delivered this ugly, many-headed monster of a Retweet:
Trump’s brutal move to expel hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants, many of whom came here as children, doesn’t fall neatly into the political divide the President’s been able to create on so many other issues. Many of the 800,000 people covered under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, have lived in the U.S. virtually their entire lives. They are often referred to as “Dreamers”. According to the New York Times, the “typical” Dreamer came to the U.S. at the age of six.
Trump’s feeble attempt to soften the blow by punting to Congress, giving 6 months to write a new law, deservedly went unheralded. Perhaps he’s wondering why. Because that’s not leadership.
While The White House insisted there was a legal necessity for the move, there really wasn’t, unless you consider the threat of a lawsuit led by Texas’ Attorney General to be really, really scary. More likely Trump, Sessions, et. al. figured it wouldn’t look great to their base if they ended up defending illegal immigrants in a major lawsuit.
Trump could have led. There are other things he could’ve done: like presented Congress way ahead of time with a proposal of what he’d like to see made into law to preserve or improve the program. Maybe back in April when he told the Dreamers they could “rest easy.” Maybe every single time since when he’s told them how much he “loves” them, and how difficult this is for him. He echoed that in brief comments late in the day.
Trump himself didn’t make the initial announcement, sending Attorney General Sessions to do it. We feel Sessions comes across as inappropriately giddy in the following clip. But then we started thinking: maybe it’s embarrassment at going on and on about the importance of the “rule of law” and “separation of powers” when Trump has been ignoring and/or tearing all of that down. Or maybe we’re overthinking it, and he’s just giddy.
This is the second time Trump has viciously attacked a program Obama initiated, only to discover it’s actually immensely popular. Republican pollster Frank Luntz pointing us to a couple of interesting things:
President Obama who’s been mostly quiet as Trump maneuvers to disassemble his legacy, spoke up (he used Facebook; more words), saying it’s “about basic decency”, calling Trump’s move “contrary to our spirit, and to common sense.” You can read his entire statement here.
One final thing that’s unusual in this case, (and worrisome) is that unlike with most undocumented immigrants, the government’s got a ton of data on all the people currently covered under DACA. They filled out an extensive application detailing where they live, where they work, etc. So they should be very at risk of getting tracked down and deported, right? Depends. That data, held by Citizenship and Immigration Services is supposed to be walled-off from other agencies, including ICE. The White House also says DACA cases “will not be proactively referred to ICE.” However, when Wired asked ICE about it, instead of replying, they just pointed to a disclaimer stating “This policy…may be modified, superseded, or rescinded at any time without notice.”
So, What’s Congress Going To Do About It?
What Congress should do:
Continue working on Debt Ceiling and Hurricane Relief, which need to pass really, really soon. But then work on DACA before tax cuts, if for no other reason than to send a message to Trump that he can’t just leave them out to dry like that. And even more importantly, draft a law that provides a path to citizenship. DACA right now does not. It merely allows people covered by the program to stay in the country indefinitely by offering work visas that are renewable every two years.
What Congress is going to do:
Wait until the last minute. Trump gave them 6 months, so now they’ve got 5 months, 30 days, and 23 hours before they have to do anything. We wish we were kidding about this, but Freedom Caucus chief Mark Meadows, fresh off supping with Steve Bannon, tells The Hill that’s pretty much how he sees it playing out. Forget about all those hundreds of thousands of people grappling with all that uncertainty for all that time…
What a bill should look like:
It should be a stand-alone bill, covering DACA alone, codifying what more people than not at this point think is a pretty good idea. This could be drawn up and passed pretty quickly: although many hard-line Republicans would be against, enough would vote in favor, along with many Democrats who’d also support.
What a bill will look like (if there indeed ever is one):
Congress likes to add things to things. That’s just what it does. One congressperson in favor of something automatically is seen as a point of leverage by another congressperson to get something else in that he or she wants. So there’s almost no chance of a bill just covering DACA getting to the floor. More likely DACA will end up being lumped in with lots of other stuff. In fact, several weeks ago we reported that the White House had floated an unsavory “trial balloon” that proposed keeping DACA in exchange for funding “the wall” and supporting legislation to curb legal immigration. That went nowhere fast. But don’t be surprised if a DACA measure that looks eerily similar rears its ugly head again in the future. Also remember, part of the reason Obama introduced DACA in the first place was out of frustration Congress, in 16 years of trying, could not pass a bill protecting Dreamers, going all the way back to President George W. Bush (who supported it.) Can they seize new momentum this time to finally get it through?
One example of how congress operates happening now: Politico reports Republicans will mash-up Hurricane Relief that’ll be hard to vote against, with a Debt Ceiling bill that’s unpopular among Tea Partiers, in order to try to get both passed this week.
Another Record-Shattering Hurricane Sweeps Towards The Caribbean
We’re all keeping an eye on Hurricane Irma as it makes landfall in the Caribbean and nears Puerto Rico. It potentially threatens South Florida going into the weekend, although it still could veer off. The Category 5 storm already packs 185 mph winds, the heaviest on record for a storm in the Atlantic.
Guess Who Turned Up At An Economic Summit In China The U.S. Wasn’t Invited To?
Mexico’s President, of course! A couple of weeks ago we said if Trump goes ahead and kills NAFTA, Canada accelerates unilateral deals with the EU, and “China becomes Mexico’s biggest trading partner.”
While Mexico is not part of the trade group called “BRICS” (which stands for Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa,) meeting this week in China, there’s talk at the current summit of expanding now that the group’s got momentum, in part due to Trump’s efforts to pluck the U.S. out of similar partnerships.
It’s no coincidence that the surprise cameo by Mexico’s President happened at the same time as the next round of NAFTA re-negotiations between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. Trump’s repeatedly stated (and Tweeted) he expects the NAFTA discussions to fail, forcing him to put an end to the Clinton-era trade pact (that was actually President Reagan’s idea.)
Shall We Play A Game? (No, Not Global Thermonuclear War!), “Who Said It?”:
“The American nation, America is truly a great country and a great people if they can tolerate such a big number of people with such a low level of political culture.”
We won’t keep you guessing: it’s Putin! During the BRICS meeting in China we refer to above, Putin pulled a move straight out of Trump’s book (or is it something Trump borrows from him?), saying he’s not going to talk about U.S. domestic politics, then talking freely and candidly about U.S. domestic politics.
When asked if he is disappointed with Trump, Putin replied: “Trump is not my bride, and I’m not his groom.” Here’s the clip from Russian network RT.
Putin’s next headed to Vladivostok, in the Russian Far East, where he’ll huddle with South Korea’s President Moon, and Japan’s Prime Minister Abe. Russia and China share North Korea’s Northern border.