President Trump declared on Monday that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program — an Obama-era immigration policy that protected nearly 800,000 undocumented young immigrants who were brought to the United States as children from deportation — is “dead.” And the president blamed Democrats for its demise, even though he himself effectively ended the program eight months ago.
“DACA is dead because the Democrats didn’t care or act, and now everyone wants to get onto the DACA bandwagon,” Trump tweeted. “No longer works. Must build Wall and secure our borders with proper Border legislation. Democrats want No Borders, hence drugs and crime!”
Last September, the Trump administration formally announced the rescinding of the DACA program. Trump urged Congress to come up with an alternative to protect the so-called Dreamers.
Trump appeared to reference a report first aired on “Fox & Friends” over the weekend that a “caravan of illegal immigrants” is headed to the United States.
— FOX & friends (@foxandfriends) April 1, 2018
“Mexico has the absolute power not to let these large ‘Caravans’ of people enter their country,” the president tweeted. “They must stop them at their Northern Border, which they can do because their border laws work, not allow them to pass through into our country, which has no effective border laws.”
The president continued: “Congress must immediately pass Border Legislation, use Nuclear Option if necessary, to stop the massive inflow of Drugs and People. Border Patrol Agents (and ICE) are GREAT, but the weak Dem laws don’t allow them to do their job. Act now Congress, our country is being stolen!”
He added: “Mexico is making a fortune on NAFTA…They have very strong border laws — ours are pathetic. With all of the money they make from the U.S., hopefully they will stop people from coming through their country and into ours, at least until Congress changes our immigration laws!”
Speaking to reporters on Easter Sunday after a series of similar tweets, Trump said that “a lot of people are coming in because they want to take advantage of DACA.”
It’s unclear what Trump meant, or if he forgot how the program works. To qualify for DACA protection, beneficiaries must have resided in the United States since 2007 — so anyone crossing the border now would not be eligible.
Meanwhile, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders appeared on “Fox & Friends” Monday, claiming that Trump “made multiple offers on DACA.”
“He wanted to see something get done,” Sanders said. “And Democrats refused to actually put something on the table or work with the president to get anything done. They wanted to use DACA recipients as political pawns.”
She added: “I think it’s because we’re getting close to an election. They don’t want to see the president continue to win like he has for the last year and a half. And they’re going to do everything they can even if it means hurting people across this country if they think it takes a hit at the president.”
Trump did not make multiple offers on DACA. Democrats refused to support a bill that included funding for Trump’s promised border wall along with protection for DACA recipients.
As I made very clear today, our country needs the security of the Wall on the Southern Border, which must be part of any DACA approval.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 10, 2018
The president’s tone on immigration can shift wildly but usually ends up aligning with those supporting hard-line policies.
In January, Trump invited a bipartisan group of lawmakers to the White House to discuss a deal on DACA, saying that any proposed bill to protect Dreamers should be a “bill of love.”
But two days later, he reportedly grew “frustrated” with lawmakers while discussing a possible bipartisan deal protecting immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador and African countries.
“Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” Trump said during an Oval Office meeting, according to the Washington Post.
At the White House Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn Monday morning, Trump was asked by CNN’s Jim Acosta whether DACA recipients should worry about their protection status.
“The Democrats have really let them down,” Trump said. “They really let them down. They had this great opportunity. The Democrats have really let them down. It’s a shame. And now people are taking advantage of DACA, and that’s a shame.”
“Didn’t you kill DACA?” Acosta asked.
The president did not answer.
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(Cover photo credit: AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)