Following a request from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), President Trump tweeted Thursday morning that young, undocumented immigrants who received temporary work visas during the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program do not need to worry about his administration taking action against them for the next six months.
“For all of those (DACA) that are concerned about your status during the 6 month period, you have nothing to worry about — No action!” the president tweeted from his personal account.
Pelosi said she spoke with Trump on the phone Thursday morning and asked him to send a tweet making clear that DACA recipients won't be subject to deportation over the next six months. A Democratic aide said that Trump called Pelosi.
“This is what I asked the president to do and, boom boom boom, the tweet appeared,” Pelosi said at a news conference Thursday morning.
Pelosi said that she is hoping and praying “that the president really cares about the dreamers or knows that he should care about the dreamers,” adding that public opinion is currently “so much in favor” of legislation that would provide conditional or permanent residency to young, undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as young children.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed that Trump called Pelosi on Thursday, adding that he also called Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.). Sanders would not confirm Pelosi's account of the conversation or whether Trump acted at the minority leader's request.
“The president is committed to working across the aisle and doing what is needed to best serve the American people,” Sanders told reporters.
Trump has made a show of being especially chummy with Pelosi, Schumer and other Democrats this week, alarming some members of his own party. On Wednesday, Trump confounded Republican leaders when he cut a deal with Democratic congressional leaders — “Chuck and Nancy,” as the president informally referred to them — on a short-term plan to fund the government and raise its borrowing limit this month. He also invited North Dakota’s embattled Democratic U.S. senator, Heidi Heitkamp, to travel with him on Air Force One and called her a “good woman” during a speech near Bismarck.
Tweeting at Pelosi's request is not likely to help Trump's already tenuous relationships with McConnell and Ryan.
Ever since Trump's DACA decision was announced Tuesday, he and his administration have been trying to assure the undocumented immigrants that they do not need to worry about being deported. Sanders said Tuesday that “DACA recipients, whose average age is in their 20s, were not an enforcement priority before and they certainly won't become a priority now.”
Trump privately wrestled with the decision, Sanders said. He also did so publicly in comments and tweets this week, making it up clear where the president stands. On Wednesday, Trump said that he has “no second thoughts” about his DACA decision and that he hopes Congress can come up with “a permanent deal” for young undocumented immigrants.
“I really believe Congress wants to take care of it,” Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One on Wednesday. “We discussed that also today, and Chuck and Nancy would like to see something happen, and so do I. And I said if we can get something to happen, we're going to sign it and we're going to make a lot of happy people.”
The Department of Homeland Security announced Tuesday that it would no longer accept or review new DACA applications other than those it has already received. Those enrolled in the program will be allowed to continue until their two-year work permits expire, and those whose DACA status is set to expire through March 5, 2018, are permitted to seek renewals provided they do so by Oct. 5.
However, if a DACA recipient fails to apply for a renewal by that deadline, they could potentially put themselves at risk of deportation, DHS spokesman David Lapan said. He emphasized that those whose permits expire will not be high priorities for removal, but federal immigration agents would have no choice but to issue them a notice to appear in immigration court if they did not have DACA status — even before March 5.
“If you're a DACA recipient and your status is set to expire in December and you don’t take advantage of the renewal window, there’s nothing we can do about that,” Lapan said.
If everyone does apply for renewals, he said, the earliest any DACA recipient would have to worry about potential immigration enforcement action would be March 6.