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On DACA, Trump Doesn’t Want a Deal, He Wants to Shift Blame

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“They know how popular and successful the program is and that the country—and many of Trump’s own Republican voters—have turned against Trump on DACA…”

On Friday, President Trump delivered a confusing and contradictory set of remarks to Telemundo about his administration’s coming plans for Dreamers and DACA. Subsequent White House walk-backs and leaks to reporters only compounded the confusion. 

But the reality is the same as it ever was when it comes to this administration and Dreamers: they ended the popular and successful DACA program and want to hold Dreamers’ futures hostage, while shifting blame and responsibility. As they again engage in their usual spin and lies about their role in imperiling Dreamers’ futures, the Trump administration is now in “open defiance of the law” and the Supreme Court’s recent ruling on DACA by not re-opening the popular and successful program to new applicants, now that the Supreme Court decision has reached the deadline for implementation. 

According to Douglas Rivlin, Director of Communication for America’s Voice: “The Trump administration doesn’t want a solution on DACA nor for Dreamers. They know how popular and successful the program is and that the country—and many of Trump’s own Republican voters—have turned against Trump on DACA, so the President does not want to accept the responsibility for ending it, which, by the way, he did and will try to do again. The idea that the same administration that has threatened Dreamers’ futures could try to portray themselves as Dreamers’ saviors doesn’t even pass the laugh test.”

Here’s a brief reminder of the Trump administration’s ugly timeline regarding DACA and Dreamers: 

  • In 2017, the Trump administration announced the end of DACA, including closing the program to new applicants. 
  • In 2018, Trump, with the complicity of Republican senators, torpedoed every bipartisan proposal to resolve DACA (see here for a good recap from then-CNN reporter Tal Kopan from March 2018 detailing a timeline of Trump administration efforts to scuttle a bipartisan fix for Dreamers). 
  • Instead of a bipartisan fix, Trump and Stephen Miller wanted to hold Dreamers’ futures in this country hostage in exchange for codifying a host of radical immigration policy changes that could never pass as standalone measures (some of which they are already advancing via administrative fiat).

  • In 2019, the Trump administration moved for expedited consideration by the Supreme Court in their effort to end DACA and started to admit that Dreamers would be deported in a post-DACA world. 
  • In 2020, after losing at the Supreme Court, the Trump administration has been teasing plans to again attempt to end DACA, and is now in violation of the law and the Supreme Court’s DACA ruling by not reopening DACA to new applicants. 

As a new memo from the Center for American Progress details, the Trump administration is now in violation of the law regarding DACA:

“Today, 25 days after the decision, the Supreme Court will certify its judgement in the case, and—under the law—the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will have an unambiguous obligation to fully reinstate DACA. As a result, not only must the agency continue processing renewal applications by those who currently hold DACA, but it must also reopen the application process to more than 300,000 new applicants who are eligible under the terms of the program, including 55,500 of the youngest DACA-eligible individuals who have aged into eligibility over the past three years and will now be able to apply for the first time.

“Notwithstanding the Supreme Court’s decision to vacate the administration’s 2017 DACA rescission memorandum, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has taken no public steps to restore DACA to the way it operated pre-rescission. Rather, the agency has been silent—with exception of a post-decision statement that opened by questioning the legitimacy of the Supreme Court itself. As of the date of publication, the Trump administration is in open defiance of the law.”