Donald Trump proclaimed over the weekend that he’s “offered DACA a wonderful deal,” which is wrong both as a matter of policy and grammar. The president added that he’s made this magnanimous gesture because Republicans “want to fix a long time terrible problem” (which isn’t true, since there was no problem before Trump rescinded DACA) and to show “that Democrats do not want to solve DACA” (which doesn’t even make sense).
And while this was certainly odd, to fully appreciate the significance of the president’s confusion over immigration policy, consider his comments to CNBC the other day.
“Everybody wants to solve the DACA problem. They’ve been wanting to solve it for a long time. It should’ve been solved by President Obama…. [H]e didn’t solve things. And he did something that he didn’t have the right to do. You understand, he did an executive order and that was no good.
“And by the way, the court – it wasn’t me. The courts were not upholding that executive order.”
Wrong. Trump either has no idea what he’s saying or he’s brazenly lying. The total number of court rulings against the DACA program is zero.
The president may not want the blame for this mess – note the “it wasn’t me” denial – but reality is stubborn, and in this case, unambiguous. It was Trump who could’ve left the DACA protections for Dreamers in place – as he’d previously signaled he would do – but he moved sharply to the right and created a crisis for many families across the country. No one but him is responsible.
In the CNBC interview, the Republican added, in reference to the Dreamers, “These are good people, these are people that should be able to stay in this country.” This, of course, was coming from the president who stripped the Dreamers of their legal protections and is now threatening to deport them.
Trump went on to say, “We’re going to solve the DACA problem. But we also want to solve a tremendous problem on the southern border, which is crime. We need a wall, we need the drugs to stop flowing in. They are coming in like – well, they’re coming in less now than they were because we have a very strong – we have great Border Patrol agents, great ICE – we have great people and they are really doing a good job. And you see what’s happening at the border, it’s much better.”
Then why bother with a wall? What, exactly, does Trump think this debate is all about?
The president’s confusion and contradictions have been a persistent problem in the immigration debate, and by all appearances, Trump is starting to appear even more lost. When it comes to protecting Dreamers, the White House just can’t seem to make up its mind, which makes the odds of successfully resolving the problem considerably worse.