Trump Just Declared DACA ‘Dead.’ To The Rest of Washington, He Was Stating the Obvious.

A deal to protect undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children was dead well before President Trump tweeted as much Sunday and Monday.

A battle in federal courts continues over the legality of Trump’s decision to end the program in March. Any momentum in Congress to protect “dreamers” waned months ago, in part because Congress isn’t up against a deadline anymore and because lawmakers have already turned their attention to getting reelected this November.

Trump hasn’t proved to be a reliable negotiating partner on immigration, which advocates on both sides say has severely hampered any progress on a deal. In a recent budget battle, he would only offer a path to citizenship for hundreds of thousands of dreamers in exchange for something most in Congress have no intention of giving him: drastic changes to the legal immigration system. He and the dreamers ended up getting nothing.

So when Trump tweeted Sunday that “DACA is dead,” it didn’t come as much of a surprise to Washington. For lots of reasons, the program protecting dreamers from deportation was already, indeed, dead for the foreseeable future.

“It’s deader than dead,” said immigration expert Alex Nowrasteh with the libertarian Cato Institute. “This tweet is just an example of him saying the obvious in this situation.”

Trump uniquely has the ability to revive a deal. And we can’t rule out that he was just venting in Sunday’s tweet. He has changed his mind so many times on whether to protect dreamers that it’s almost impossible to take anything he says about the subject at face value. He could decide that dreamers need protections in time to avoid any political blowback for Republicans before the November election.

Polls do present evidence that Republicans could face political repercussions if dreamers get deported en masse. Keeping dreamers in the United States is extraordinarily popular among Americans. Brought to the country as children, fluent in English and arguably as American as someone with citizenship, dreamers are a group for which it is easy to have sympathy.

By Amber Philips for THE WASHINGTON POST
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