As part of his being extolled as TIME’s “Person of the Year,” Donald Trump gave TIME a quote about the great deal he is going to make with the DREAMers he told everyone would be subject to deportation:
In an interview with Time magazine announcing him as “Person of the Year,” Trump didn’t go into specifics but signaled that he could find a way to accommodate the Dreamers.
“We’re going to work something out that’s going to make people happy and proud,” Trump told the magazine. “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.”
The interview notes that the president-elect did not back off his promise from the campaign trail to rescind Obama’s executive actions. And without details, it’s difficult to divine exactly what policy Trump would support once he is sworn in and has to face this issue.
Trump pledged to rescind Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA (along with Obama’s other, much broader executive amnesty, DAPA) on his first day in office. Here is a quote from the immigration plan on his site:
Donald J. Trump’s 10 Point Plan to Put America First
. . . .
5. Immediately terminate President Obama’s two illegal executive amnesties. All immigration laws will be enforced – we will triple the number of ICE agents. Anyone who enters the U.S. illegally is subject to deportation. That is what it means to have laws and to have a country.
There it is in black and white — until they whisk it away, that is.
It’s worth noting that the quote given to TIME 1) does not say he will break his pledge, and 2) is a quote Trump gave the media at a time he was being lionized. It reminds me when he told David Letterman that he was “100 percent right” after Letterman said “go ahead and burn the flag” if you want to, because it’s free speech. Trump did the thing where he jutted out his chin like a child’s attempt to appear thoughtful, and dutifully nodded along and agreed with the liberal sentiment . . . because he was in New York, and that’s what you say there.
So the fact that he says something to an audience that wants to hear it doesn’t necessarily mean anything.
In this, of course, Trump is like any politician who seeks to please his audience. Of course, more than most politicians, he is accustomed to saying blatantly contradictory things and BS’ing his way out of it.
Here’s the thing. Trump can say one thing in front of his anti-immigration fans and another to the media, but on his first day in office he will have to choose. Much as he’d like to, there is no way of issuing a tough executive order and not having the media find out, or failing to do so and not having his fans find out.
My guess is he fails to, breaks his pledge, and counts on his fans to back him up. He’ll say he’s getting rid of the criminal DREAMers and leaving the rest here. And his fans will eat it up.
Or maybe he’ll repeal DACA on day one. In which case, the stuff he just told TIME Magazine was a giant mound of happy horse droppings. Unless ripping away the safe harbor for “good students” with “wonderful jobs” is what he means when he says he will “work something out that’s going to make people happy and proud.”
I don’t really have a dog in this fight. I have always found DREAMers sympathetic, since it’s not their fault they are here illegally. My concern has always been about unintended consequences. I have not forgotten that swarm of children coming from Central America in the summer of 2014, many dying along the way, in large part because Central American television was telling people: “Go to America with your child, you won’t be turned away.”
Like every seemingly kind thing government does, DACA has unintended consequences, and it has doubtless killed a lot of children. You’ll probably never know their names or know their stories, though, so we can safely ignore it while discussing what to do.
But I do feel sympathy for the kids that are here through no fault of their own. So as far as this policy goes, I’m just a bystander with no strong opinion.
I’m just in it to watch the cognitive dissonance from people who applauded his pledge to repeal DACA. It will be interesting to watch those same people who cheered one Trump policy . . . spin on a dime and applaud the complete opposite.
But then, it always is.
[Cross-posted at RedState.]