We have been clear at NR that we think a codification of DACA should come in exchange for some meaningful enforcement measures or changes in the legal immigration system, as we argued again in this editorial yesterday. But, as we noted in the editorial, this isn’t going to be easy. First, Republicans who favor Gang of 8-style immigration reform will be perfectly happy to to pass a “clean” DACA. Second, Democrats might well calculate that they have lots of leverage, so there’s no need to bend on anything, even some minimal, one-time funding of the border wall, because lots of Republicans, and even President Trump, don’t really want to end DACA. Chuck Schumer et al., got all the confirmation they needed for this belief when Trump tweeted this last night:
Congress now has 6 months to legalize DACA (something the Obama Administration was unable to do). If they can't, I will revisit this issue!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 6, 2017
There have been many bad Trump tweets, and this ranks right up there. It gives away any leverage for the reason noted above. It floats the idea of a unilateral fix of the sort that his attorney general had just explained earlier in the day is illegal. It treats the codification of DACA as an accomplishment to boast about, without mentioning any conditions or trade-offs. Why would Trump tweet this? Well, he was obviously conflicted about DACA to begin with, but it seems likely he wanted to slap at Obama who criticized his decision in a Facebook post (Trump will pass DACA where Obama failed!) and he was upset by the excoriating coverage on cable TV.
Needless to say, these aren’t good reasons to undermine your own position and that of your allies. When I tweeted last night that it would be awkward for Trump to re-instate DACA after Sessions made the legal case against it, Andy McCarthy pointed out that the administration hasn’t actually withdrawn the opinion from Obama’s DOJ that the program is legal.
So, in sum, DACA is an unconstitutional outrage — but let’s hedge our bets about DACA.