We break down what DACA is and what it could mean for thousands of immigrants.
WASHINGTON — Banning refugees. Building the border wall. Ending sanctuary cities. There may be no single issue that more clearly divides President Trump’s supporters and his opponents than immigration.
And yet, across the political spectrum, there’s widespread support for the idea of providing some form legal status for so called “DREAMers” — undocumented immigrants who arrived in the United States as children and may have no memory of or allegiance to any other country.
In a poll taken after Trump’s election last year, 72% of respondents said they thought it was “important” or “very important” that immigration reform make some accommodation for those childhood arrivals. That includes 60% of those who usually identify themselves as Republicans, according to the Pew Research Center poll.
So the decision about what to do with the Obama-era policy that spared DREAMers from deportation presented Trump with another stark choice: Seek consensus and move to the middle, or maintain true to the principles that got him elected and side with his economic nationalist base.
And as he has done so many times during his presidency, Trump drew out the decision like it was a reality show cliffhanger — and then, in the end, sided with his base.
“Congress now has 6 months to legalize DACA (something the Obama Administration was unable to do),” Trump said on Twitter. “If they can’t, I will revisit this issue!”
Breitbart News, home of Trump’s most unabashed supporters, called the Obama policy a “bureaucratic backdoor” to legal status. The web site, once again run by Trump chief strategist Steve Bannon, cast the decision as a victory by Attorney General Jeff Sessions and other immigration hard-liners over members of Trump’s own family — daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner — who wanted to keep DACA.
In the end, administration officials said, Trump was persuaded that only Congress — and not the president — can grant legal status to undocumented immigrants.
“He wants to be able to make a decision with compassion, but at the…