The White House doubled down on its assault on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival program on Monday, claiming the protections for illegal immigrant youth who came to the United States after a certain date are a ‘magnet’ for unaccompanied children flooding the southern border.
Newly arriving illegal immigrant children are not eligible for DACA protections as the program is currently exists. Senior administration officials say that smugglers are using the program as a way to rope in new travelers, anyway.
They also cautioned that children coming across the border now are likely to request amnesty in a decade the same the way that DACA recipients are now, creating an endless cycle of illegal immigration.
‘What’s irresponsible, and what’s creating these pull factors, is the belief that there’s going to be never ending leniency from now until the end of time, and the president by contrast has taken a very firm stance,’ an official said.
President Trump jumpstarted the conversation about DACA on Monday when he said that the Obama-era program shielding nearly 800,000 so-called ‘Dreamers’ from deportation is no longer on the table in a tweet that blamed congressional Democrats for standing on the sidelines when he was willing to negotiate.
His administration backed him up in a call later with reporters during which a senior official claimed that there has been a ‘dramatic rise’ in the number of unaccompanied alien children, or UACs as they are known within the government, illegally crossing the border.
The officials demanded an end to the government’s ‘catch-and-release’ program that places illegal children from Central America into the temporary custody of relatives until their day in court arrives, which often takes years, and many do not appear.
Trump’s administration says it wants to close the ‘loopholes’ that allow the unaccompanied minors to stay indefinitely in the United States and seal-up the border with a wall stretches across the country where there’s not naturally existing barriers.
Previously, Trump had taken a sympathetic approach to the illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children, opting to give them six months of leniency before he brought a formal end to their program.
After a bitter fight with Congress, and a weekend spent in Florida with the most hardline immigration reform advocate in his senior staff, Trump came out swinging against DACA, indicating in tweets that he was no longer willing to include it in an immigration bargain.
‘DACA is dead because the Democrats didn’t care or act, and now everyone wants to get onto the DACA bandwagon,’ the president tweeted. ‘No longer works. Must build Wall and secure our borders with proper Border legislation. Democrats want No Borders, hence drugs and crime!’
The notion that a new wave of illegal immigrants could balloon the DACA-eligible population is unfounded, at least as President Barack Obama defined it: The program offers deportation protection to those who were brought to the U.S. as children, but only if they were already in the U.S. on June 15, 2012.
Still, the White House is signaling that somehow a future horde of new border-jumpers could swell DACA’s ranks.
‘This happened back in the ’80s. They gave people amnesty, and there was a flood of people into this country because they wanted the freebies,’ Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley said Monday morning on ‘Fox & Friends,’ referring to border permissiveness under former President Ronald Reagan. ‘The same thing occurs today.’
President Donald Trump declared Monday that he’s no longer willing to negotiate to revive the Obama-era DACA program
Trump claims ‘everyone wants to get onto the DACA bandwagon,’ suggesting a new wave of illegal immigrants will put pressure on the U.S. to expand the program
Trump’s worry: An army of 1,200 Central Americans fleeing violence and unrest are marching unchallenged through Mexico towards the U.S. border
Gidley claimed negotiations over the program have grown ‘out of hand, and that’s one of the reasons the president wanted a lasting, long-term solution on DACA when he so graciously offered 1.8 million people a potential pathway to citizenship – three times that of Barack Obama.’
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals gives a deportation loophole to illegal immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children.
Trump declared in September 2017 that he would end the program on March 5, giving Congress six months to codify it into law and essentially invalidating the limitations on who might qualify for a future version of it.
But his gambit – dangling DACA as leverage to move Democrats toward his position on border security – backfired when federal courts intervened and stopped his administration from turning away applications for status renewal.
And when Congress inked a spending deal two weeks ago that included scant support for his long-promised border wall, the president was forced by circumstance to sign it.
Activists and DACA recipients marched up Broadway during the start of their ‘Walk to Stay Home’ in February – a five-day, 250-mile walk from New York to Washington D.C., to demand that Congress pass a standalone bill giving ‘Dreamers’ permanent legal status in the U.S.
DACA recipients and their supporters turned their backs on Trump (on screen) as he talked about unity during his State of the Union address on January 30
A senior official described the legislation as ‘disappointing’ on Monday as the administration railed against the immigration policies that put the U.S. in this position in the first place.
The Department of Homeland Security was said to be working on a new legislative package that would address the president’s concerns with the border, including the unaccompanied children.
On the call with reporters on Monday afternoon, a senior Trump official claimed the number was rising, although U.S. Customs and Border Protect data from the current fiscal year shows a jump in November and December followed by a decline in the cruel winter months of January and February.
A total of 136,201 individuals have been apprehended since the Oct. 1 start of the fiscal year, CBP data shows, and 17,575 of them were children.
Without a strong deterrent, the White House argued Monday, the children and families will keep coming to the U.S.
‘We don’t want to create a humanitarian crisis, and create endless waves of new illegal immigration,’ the official said. ‘If you’re gonna do it, it should be the last time you’re ever gonna have to do it.’
Monday’s DACA death-knell followed Trump tweet on Easter Sunday that there would be no new effort to push a deal with Democrats forward. He also threatened to pull out of a free trade agreement with Mexico unless it does more to stop people from crossing into the U.S.
‘NO MORE DACA DEAL!’ Trump tweeted, one hour after he began the day by wishing his followers a ‘HAPPY EASTER!’
He said Mexico must ‘stop the big drug and people flows, or I will stop their cash cow, NAFTA. NEED WALL!’ The U.S., Canada and Mexico are participating in tense negotiations over the North American Free Trade Agreement at Trump’s insistence. Trump says NAFTA is bad for the U.S.
White House spokesman Hogan Gidley (right) claimed Monday that today’s situation is a mirror of the Reagan era where ‘they gave people amnesty, and there was a flood of people into this country because they wanted the freebies’
Trump, shown with first lady Melania arriving for Easter services in Palm Beach, Florida on Sunday, is ignoring the fact that only people who were physically inside the U.S. by mid-2012 qualified for DACA protections
‘Mexico has got to help us at the border,’ Trump, holding his wife’s hand, told reporters before the couple attended Easter services at an Episcopal church near his Palm Beach home. ‘If they’re not going to help us at the border, it’s a very sad thing between our two countries.’
‘A lot of people are coming in because they want to take advantage of DACA,’ he added.
Former President Barack Obama created the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program to provide temporary protection and work permits to hundreds of thousands of immigrants who are living in the U.S. illegally after being brought here as children.
But the Department of Homeland Security is not issuing new permits. Proposed DACA deals crafted by lawmakers and rejected by Trump also were not open to new participants.
Trump did not explain what he meant when questioned by reporters as he entered the Church of Bethesda-by-the-Sea with the first lady and his daughter Tiffany. The White House did not immediately respond to a request for clarification.
Trump, when addressing reporters briefly before entering the church, again blamed Democrats for failing to protect the ‘Dreamers.’
‘They had a great chance. The Democrats blew it. They had a great, great chance, but we’ll have to take a look because Mexico has got to help us at the border. They flow right through Mexico. They send them into the United States. It can’t happen that way anymore.’
President Donald Trump stops to talk to members of the media as he arrives for Easter services with his daughter Tiffany Trump, left, and first lady Melania Trump at Episcopal Church of Bethesda-by-the-Sea on Easter Sunday
Trump promised during the 2016 presidential campaign to build a Southern border wall to stop illegal immigration and drugs from Mexico, but Congress has frustrated him by not moving as quickly as he wants to provide money for construction.
The president also complained on Twitter that border patrol agents can’t do their jobs properly because of ‘ridiculous liberal (Democrat) laws’ that allow people caught for being in the country illegally to be released while they await a hearing before a federal immigration judge.
Trump tweeted that the situation is ‘Getting more dangerous’ and ‘Caravans’ are coming. He did not offer details to back his comment.
The president’s tweets came after Fox News’ ‘Fox & Friends’ reported early Sunday on what it said is a group of 1,200 immigrants, mostly from Honduras, headed to the U.S. The segment was a follow-up to a report by Buzzfeed News on hundreds of Central Americans making their way through Mexico in hopes that American authorities will grant them asylum or be absent when they attempt to cross the border.
The Fox headline was ‘Caravan of illegal immigrants headed to U.S.’ The president is known to watch the cable TV program in the morning.
Brandon Judd, leader of the union representing border patrol agents, predicted on ‘Fox & Friends’ that those in the caravan would create havoc and chaos in the U.S. as they wait for what he described as immigration reform. Judd also said Congress needs to pass tougher laws, an idea Trump appeared to echo, and create more bed space for immigration authorities to house people.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a Republican, chided Trump over the tone of the tweets.
President Donald Trump, center, first lady Melania Trump, right, and Tiffany Trump, left, arrive for Easter services at Episcopal Church of Bethesda-by-the-Sea in Palm Beach, Fla., Sunday, April 1, 2018. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrive for Easter services at Episcopal Church of Bethesda-by-the-Sea, in Palm Beach, Fla., Sunday, April 1, 2018. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
‘A true leader preserves & offers hope, doesn’t take hope from innocent children who call America home. Remember, today is Easter Sunday,’ tweeted Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a Trump critic who challenged him for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination.
Arizona Republican Sen. Jeff Flake, another Trump foe, urged Congress to take up the fight for Dreamers.
‘There are plenty of lawmakers on both sides of the aisle who stand ready to work with the administration on legislation to protect DACA kids who call America home,’ he tweeted. ‘Let’s do it.’
Sunday’s church visit was Trump’s first public appearance with his wife since CBS’ ’60 Minutes’ aired an interview the previous Sunday with Stormy Daniels, the adult-film star who says she had sex with Trump in 2006, early in his marriage and a few months after Mrs. Trump gave birth to their son. The White House says Trump denies the affair. Mrs. Trump spent most of the past week in Palm Beach with her son.
The Trumps returned to Washington later Sunday.