A federal judge’s decision to block Trump administration plans to phase out protections for so-called undocumented “dreamers” brought sharp backlash Wednesday from the White House, calling the injunction “outrageous.”
The order by U.S. District Judge William Alsup issued Tuesday says safeguards against deportation must remain in place for the nearly 690,000 immigrants in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program while a legal challenge to ending the Obama-era program proceeds.
It remained unclear Wednesday when the DACA recipients, who were brought to this country illegally as children and are known as “dreamers,” could resume applying for renewals of their work permits as a result of the California ruling, which Alsup said should apply nationwide. Advocates said it would depend on the Department of Homeland Security, which runs the program.
Immigration activists were pleased with the court decision but far from elated. They understand that the decision is already being appealed and may well not hold up after a higher court reviews the case. This is the rare case when Sarah Huckabee Sanders is correct: “An issue of this magnitude must go through the normal legislative process.” In less-restrained terms, Trump was back publicly denigrating the courts. (“It just shows everyone how broken and unfair our Court System is when the opposing side in a case (such as DACA) always runs to the 9th Circuit and almost always wins before being reversed by higher court.”)
Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) told colleagues not to let the sense of urgency wane. He argued that “the ruling last night in no way diminishes the urgency of solving the DACA issue. On this, we agree with the White House, [which] says the ruling doesn’t do anything to reduce Congress’ obligation to address this problem now.”
Meanwhile, after the sit-down session with the president, Democrats and Republicans alike may be understandably confused — Trump sure is! — about where the president stands. Schumer tried to stress the positive. “First, practically everyone at the table, including some of the most conservative voices on immigration like the senator from Iowa, agreed that we must resolve the future of the dreamers by passing DACA protections into law,” he said. “That was a very positive development.” He selected out the part of Trump’s remarks Democrats liked. “President Trump appeared to endorse a narrow deal to protect the dreamers, leaving thornier issues for a later debate on comprehensive immigration reform, and a debate personally that I would welcome, the sooner the better.” But, of course, Republicans immediately jumped in at the meeting to say that wasn’t their position at all.
If Stephen Miller has his way, there’ll be no deal. “Many people involved in the immigration debate — Republicans and Democrats, Capitol Hill staffers and activists — complain that Miller is making already tough negotiations more difficult, according to 14 people familiar with the situation, half involved in negotiations,” McClatchy reports. “Most spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the president’s aide. … A political operative who works closely with congressional Republicans said Trump can either listen to Miller or he can decide he wants to work with both parties on a deal that will protect Dreamers and increase security, satisfying most Americans.” When a president is a blank slate, a clever aide can easily manipulate him and create chaos.
Here is where the president’s failure to understand basic issues impedes his ability to “make deals.” He has never understood that deals in government require the president to do more than cheerlead with platitudes. Maybe at some level he knows that, but he lacks the attention span and intellectual capacity to comprehend substance. In any event, if a DACA deal is done, it will be because Miller is not the last one to whisper in Trump’s ear.