Column: ‘Dealmaker’ Trump Flip-Flops on Dreamers
On his way to the White House, President Donald Trump forgot all he knows about negotiating. Author of best-selling “The Art of the Deal,” President Trump reneged on his important campaign promise to end the deferred action for childhood arrivals amnesty without getting a whit in return.
Back in 2011, then-citizen Trump bemoaned that Washington is full of politicians, but not a single negotiator could be found among them. After telling the Associated Press that DREAMers can “relax” and that they’re not a target for deportation, but without leaning on Congress for something in exchange, President Trump can include himself among the missing dealmakers. President Trump gave Democrats a gift-wrapped prize they coveted, a continuation of new work permits and renewals for illegal immigrants, without asking for anything – American job saving E-Verify, for example – in return.
At various times since his inauguration, President Trump has referred to DACAs as exceptional kids that, because he loves children, he’ll treat with great heart and compassion. Apparently, President Trump not only doesn’t know how to cobble together a deal, he doesn’t know much about DACA either.
First, DACA permits were granted based solely on the applicants’ claims. U.S. Citizenship Immigration Services never conducted face-to-face interviews, so no one really knows whether the minor aliens’ claims were fact or fiction. DACAs had no burden of proof; USCIS accepted any and all claims. Came as a young child, went to high school in the U.S., have a GED, lived in the U.S. for two years or more? All sounded good to USCIS.
Second, if the illegal immigrants were employed pre-DACA, they’re identity thieves. Identity theft is a felony punishable by a jail sentence and/or fines. In the millions of words written since President Obama’s 2012 executive action that created DACA, little has been said about identity theft. In fact, the USCIS DACA application specifically instructed candidates not to list fraudulent Social Security numbers they may have been used on employment forms.
Third, speaking of crimes, DACA permits were granted to candidates that may have had three misdemeanors. To unplug the huge court backlog, many misdemeanors were pled down from felonies. Most people don’t include multiple misdemeanors and felonies in their definition of exceptional kids.
Fourth, President Obama’s DACA wasn’t approved by Congress, the only branch of the government that can write and pass immigration legislation. President Trump surely knows this, just as he knows that with a simple one-paragraph memo to USCIS that would take 60 seconds to draft, he could end DACA.
Standards for DACA eligibility are so lax that, according to Chris Crane, head of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement union, having any criterion at all is pointless. Crane said that the Department of Homeland Security ordered his agents to release anyone who said they qualified for President Obama’s DACA.
Nearly 800,000 DACAs have been issued. Those that are truly exceptional could be handled on a case-by-case basis, instead of granting a blanket amnesty that includes work permits and other affirmative benefits. President Trump’s flip-flop on ending DACA, a cornerstone of his campaign promises to make immigration policies work for Americans, bodes poorly for other more restrictive reforms his base hoped for when they voted for him.
As of today, President Trump owns DACA, and may have to suffer the consequences in 2020.