What’s Trump up to with Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program? He rescinded Obama’s unconstitutional executive order while delaying action on it for six months. Some pundits see this as delivering on his campaign promise to rescind DACA. Most of those are Democrats, and they don’t like it.
Republicans don’t see it that way. Some of them accuse Trump of breaking his promise to immediately rescind DACA. In contrast, a few Republicans see it pretty much the way I do. Trump made conflicting statements to the press as he thought out loud (a bad habit) about this decision. When he said he was ready to act, I personally hoped he would take the route he apparently has chosen.
In retrospect, recall how Obama warned us. He once said he didn’t have the authority to “wave a wand” to take care of illegal immigrants brought here as children through no choice of their own. And when he finally issued the executive order, he said it wasn’t a solution, just a “stop-gap” measure. He acknowledged only congressional legislation would create a permanent solution.
Trump has now stepped in where Obama left off. He wants Congress to act, and encourages a compassionate solution for the “dreamers.” It seems to me he saved a lot of time, effort and money by avoiding the inevitable constitutional challenge of Obama’s DACA order.
If it’s true Americans and our legislators want a compassionate resolution of the DACA dilemma, Trump has come to their rescue. He has provided the smoothest, quickest way forward. Obama said Congress must act. Trump echoed that and created a pathway to do so. Strange bedfellows indeed! I wonder if Trump and Obama planned it. If so, that would mean Obama’s recent “cruelty” comments are just cover for future covert collaboration. (Just kidding on that one.)
Seriously though, what we see in these developments is that no one controls the president. He’s a pragmatist who sees a way to advance the ball by giving up something and does it. He’s unpredictable. He’s not “absolute” in anything. In other words, he’s not an ideologue. And that, on balance, I hope will serve the country well. Has he passed the buck to Congress to deal with this matter? Not at all. In fact, there is no solution here except congressional action. And Trump’s going to make sure Congress acts.
What, ultimately, is “dealmaker” Trump’s goal? I think he sees this action as potentially creating “wiggle room” out of which might come bipartisan collaboration on broader immigration reform. And perhaps more bipartisanship will grow from that. As we watch this develop, it’s not going to be obvious what’s going on. Fingers will be pointing, and some of those fingers will be bitten off, so to speak. It will be messy.
But one conservative Trump critic (me) sees a semblance of order and progress in all this madness. I’m happy with the route he took. I hope it works.