Tuesday, September 05, 2017


DACA is officially terminated, with a brief reprieve:
President Trump on Tuesday ordered an end to the Obama-era executive action that shields young undocumented immigrants from deportation, calling the program an “amnesty-first approach” and urging Congress to replace it with legislation before it begins phasing out on March 5, 2018.
We're hearing a lot about how fond Trump is of the Dreamers. We're being told that it pains him to do this to them. It's almost believable. But Jonathan Chait looks at some Trump quotes on DACA and finds the right analogy:
“We’re going to work something out that’s going to make people happy and proud ... They got brought here at a very young age, they’ve worked here, they’ve gone to school here. Some were good students. Some have wonderful jobs. And they’re in never-never land because they don’t know what’s going to happen,” Trump told Time magazine in December. The Dreamers “shouldn’t be very worried,” because Trump was “going to take care of everybody ... I do have a big heart,” he insisted in January....

Trump was reprising his method on health care, right down to the terms themselves (“heart”; “take care of everybody.”) Of course, this presumed there was a way to take care of everybody while still satisfying the bloodlust of the conservative base.
Or Trump's own anti-Obama bloodlust, for that matter. He has a burning need to undo everything Obama did. Moreover, he wants to be a guy Sean Hannity and Steve Doocy can point to with pride and admiration.

As in the case of health care, Trump enjoys promising to be Santa Claus. But when he finds out that it's impossible to be a true-blue Fox News Republican and also do a decent, humane thing, decency is what gets jettisoned.

So it's hard to imagine that if we reach March 5, 2018 -- the six-month deadline -- without a legislative solution, Trump will just say, "Let 'em stay." And yet we're being told by Politico to expect just that:
... a senior White House aide said that if Republican lawmakers fail to agree on a plan, he doesn’t expect Trump to follow through on terminating DACA....
Won't happen.

A deal in Congress is conceivable, I guess, but unlikely. Chait writes:
Some Republicans have floated the possibility of trading a solution for the Dreamers for a down payment on construction of Trump’s cherished border wall. Democrats and arch restrictionists alike oppose that deal.
Joy Reid imagines the likely roadblocks:

If the deadline is March 5, 2018, then nothing is likely to happen in earnest until the early part of next year -- just when possible primary challengers to incumbent Republicans are going to start getting serious. That's why Jeff Flake and Dean Heller probably can't vote for a bill that saves the Dreamers -- and there are many more Republicans in the same position.

It would be brand-destroying for Republicans to pass a bill saving the Dreamers, and it would be brand-destroying for Trump to sign such a bill -- even in exchange for a wall or other draconian anti-immigrant measures. It's unimaginable that it could happen in an election year.

And if he were to let the Dreamers stay in March, wouldn't the same folks who've been threatening to sue him renew their determination to sue?
The Tuesday announcement was forced by the legal threat dangled by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and nine of his AG colleagues who vowed to challenge DACA’s constitutionality in court if the federal government does not halt the issuance of work permits. Tennessee’s attorney general, however, has since announced that he won’t challenge the program in court.
I'm sure they'll be back in court if Trump doesn't start deporting Dreamers in March. Why would he defy them then if he's afraid to defy them now?

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