If the president is still looking for a deal on DACA — the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which has protected hundreds of thousands of young adult unauthorized immigrants from deportation and allowed them to work legally in America since 2012 — his Twitter feed isn’t showing it.
“DACA is probably dead because the Democrats don’t really want it,” President Donald Trump tweeted on Sunday morning. Trump ended the program in September, giving Congress until March to strike a deal, which it hasn’t.
DACA is probably dead because the Democrats don’t really want it, they just want to talk and take desperately needed money away from our Military.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 14, 2018
On Monday, the president laid the blame at the feet of Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), giving him the nickname “Dicky” and saying he “blew” negotiations on the program. Durbin has publicly confirmed Trump’s now-infamous reported “shithole” remarks about immigrants from countries such as Haiti, El Salvador, and countries in Africa, which could at least partly explain the president’s decision to target him.
Senator Dicky Durbin totally misrepresented what was said at the DACA meeting. Deals can’t get made when there is no trust! Durbin blew DACA and is hurting our Military.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 15, 2018
While early last week it seemed like a DACA deal might happen, Trump has been signaling in recent days that legislative efforts are dead in the water. On Saturday, he tweeted that Democrats “are doing nothing to fix DACA” and lamented, “Great opportunity missed. Too bad!”
The Democrats are all talk and no action. They are doing nothing to fix DACA. Great opportunity missed. Too bad!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 13, 2018
In a separate tweet, Trump said he believes that Democrats are “blowing the one great opportunity they have” on the program.
I don’t believe the Democrats really want to see a deal on DACA. They are all talk and no action. This is the time but, day by day, they are blowing the one great opportunity they have. Too bad!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 13, 2018
Before a dinner with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) in Palm Beach, Florida, on Sunday evening, the president said it’s Democrats who have “sticking points” on reaching an agreement on DACA, not him. “Well, we’re ready, willing, and able to make a deal on DACA, but I don’t think the Democrats want to make a deal. And the folks from DACA should know the Democrats are the ones that aren’t going to make a deal,” he said.
Trump’s tweets and comments are only the latest in what’s been a head-spinning week for the president’s evolving views on immigration. On Tuesday, in a televised meeting with legislators, Trump seemed to dance between opposed positions on immigration: At one point, he said he would “like” to pass a “clean” DACA bill — meaning a bill with no other measures attached — only to be reminded by Republicans in the room that a clean bill was the opposite of his actual position.
On Thursday, the president met with legislators to hammer out a bipartisan immigration deal that would include DACA measures as well as money for border security and reforms to some immigration programs. But that’s not what happened — instead, Trump reportedly grew agitated and complained about taking people from “shithole countries” such as Haiti, El Salvador, and Africa. The remarks have sparked fierce backlash and questions about their racist undertones.
The president rejected the bipartisan proposal that would have given DREAMers (those covered by DACA) a chance at legal status and a path to citizenship; the measure would have also eliminated the diversity visa lottery, prevented DREAMers from sponsoring their parents, and funded some other border projects. On Twitter, Trump fired off some untruthful tweets about the proposal and, specifically, what Democrats are seeking.
The Democrats seem intent on having people and drugs pour into our country from the Southern Border, risking thousands of lives in the process. It is my duty to protect the lives and safety of all Americans. We must build a Great Wall, think Merit and end Lottery & Chain. USA!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 12, 2018
Republican Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) hit back on Twitter, pointing out the obvious: That’s not what Democrats are doing. They’re trying to strike a deal to protect the DREAMers while at the same time trying to find common ground with Republicans.
I’ve served with “The Democrats” for 17 years, and not one has ever been intent on “having people and drugs pour into our country”. https://t.co/8yyRogju3Y— Jeff Flake (@JeffFlake) January 12, 2018
In an appearance on ABC’s This Week on Sunday, Flake again defended Democrats in negotiations on DACA. “One thing I do take big issue with the president on is he is saying that Democrats aren’t moving forward in good faith,” he said. “I can tell you I’ve been negotiating and working with Democrats on immigration for 17 years and on this issue, on DACA or on the DREAM Act for a number of years, and the Democrats are negotiating in good faith.”
Flake also expressed hope that an agreement might be reached. “I think that when we get back into town, people will realize there’s only one deal in town, there’s only one bipartisan bill, and we need 60 votes. And that bill will be presented with even more Republicans and Democrats than we have right now,” the senator said. Trump, however, doesn’t seem to be interested.
Update: Story has been updated with President Trump’s Monday tweet about Sen. Durbin and his remarks on Sunday evening in Florida.