Border Patrol Agents are not allowed to properly do their job at the Border because of ridiculous liberal (Democrat) laws like Catch & Release. Getting more dangerous. “Caravans” coming. Republicans must go to Nuclear Option to pass tough laws NOW. NO MORE DACA DEAL!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 1, 2018
The president has taken to Twitter this Easter Sunday to announce what appears to be his newfound opposition to continued congressional negotiations over DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that shields certain young undocumented immigrants from detention and deportation. He also threatened to “stop NAFTA” if Mexico fails to “stop the big drug and people flows” across the U.S.-Mexico border.
Last fall, Trump insisted he wants a bill to protect DACA recipients, or Dreamers — immigrants who were originally brought to the U.S. as children within a certain time frame. That was right after his administration terminated the program (DACA’s current status is in limbo due to an ongoing legal challenge to the Trump administration’s order). Since then, he’s said he only wants to protect DACA recipients if the move is accompanied by major new spending on border security and enforcement, plus huge cuts to legal immigration.
One day, Trump says ending DACA would “throw out good, educated and accomplished young people who have jobs”; the next, he sees the program as nothing more than means of extracting nativist immigration policies.
Is it worth trying to figure out what Trump actually wants on immigration? Not really, because we’ve learned no statement Trump makes actually matters in and of itself. Obviously, what Trump does as president matters a great deal, but what he says is virtually meaningless, because it changes so often and so capriciously. As Slate’s Jamelle Bouie wrote recently, that’s why conservatives weren’t unduly alarmed by Trump’s post-Parkland comments suggesting law enforcement should be allowed to suspend due process when seizing weapons from people suspected to be a threat:
[I]t remains striking that his pledges and promises as president are treated as essentially disposable—empty rhetoric, with no bearing on the policies and practices of the actual Trump administration or the broader Republican Party. When Trump speaks, he’s speaking only for himself. In a real sense, his words don’t actually mean anything. His public presence is defined by the text he posts on social media, which dominates the public conversation, even though those words are effectively detritus with little bearing on the course of his administration.
What Trump’s DACA tweet does accomplish is to inject more fear and uncertainty into the lives of the hundreds of thousands of young people anxiously waiting for some resolution to the issue.