Once again, the White House has farmed out to the Congress the details of top-priority legislation, as it did with taxes and health care.
President Donald Trump sent out his attorney general, Jeff Sessions, to deliver word Tuesday that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program should be rescinded in six months.
“Congress, get ready to do your job — DACA!” came Trump’s explanation-free tweet.
Trump’s reliance on Congress to craft a DACA bill makes more institutional sense this time.
After all, President Barack Obama made DACA into an executive order, which Republicans strongly argued he did not have the power to do. Which is not to say that the Senate and House were about to approve it themselves.
Now that there’s a Republican president — one driven to crack Obama’s legacy — the Congress show a better chance of acting as Trump urges.
Still, there is a perception game going on.
Trump alternates between playing good guy and bad guy to the 800,000-plus immigrants without documents who were brought to the U.S. in their youth and could now face deportation.
A quote from Trump in 2011 drew attention in the run-up to Tuesday’s announcement. He then told “Fox & Friends”:
“You have people in this country for 20 years, they’ve done a great job, they’ve done wonderfully, they’ve gone to school, they’ve gotten good marks, they’re productive — now we’re supposed to send them out of the country?
“I don’t believe in that.”
Whatever he may have believed in, the real-estate heir's stance shifted as he championed sealed borders and deportations.
The House and Senate and all their internal factions have failed for decades to reach consensus on how to address the millions of immigrants now in the U.S. illegally -- 30 years after President Ronald Reagan enacted an amnesty program.
Remember not so long ago when immigrant advocates complained that Obama, whose administration carried out regular raids at workplaces, had made himself the “deporter-in-chief?”
Names can be deceiving. It has been 16 years since the so-called DREAM (Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors) act was introduced.
Those affected are still nicknamed “dreamers.”
But these "dreamers" might be better described as realists in the current scenario. They’re young people, mostly in their 20s, mostly employed, with no criminal records, who sensibly enough expect to stay put, since they’ve lived their lives in the U.S.
On the other side, you have elected officials who believe that after decades of deadlock, Congress will suddenly reach a comprehensive immigration deal.
Maybe they’re the ones who better fit the term “dreamers.”
Or maybe Tuesday’s action will somehow force a resolution on the issue. Trump and Sessions have given everyone yet another six months to find out.