On the campaign trail, Donald Trump promised his supporters he would crack down on illegal immigration if elected, calling for a wall to be built along the border with Mexico. But in a meeting with members of Congress on January 9th, Trump appeared to soften his stance, calling for a bipartisan “bill of love” to allow undocumented immigrants brought into the United States as children — Dreamers — to stay in the country.
In the meeting, which was attended by a group of reporters, Trump not only said he wanted to provide protection for Dreamers but also indicated he would support a more comprehensive immigration reform bill, even if he didn’t love it.
Senator Dianne Feinstein called for a “clean” bill to replace the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program followed by larger immigration reform, and Trump agreed immediately. The Trump administration had ended the DACA program, which protects Dreamers, in September.
The president later stated that he felt any immigration bill should be a bipartisan effort.
But when House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy pressed Trump about increasing border security, Trump agreed with that proposition, too. He once again brought up the border wall and illegal immigration. In the end, Trump seemed to embrace protection for Dreamers on the condition of heightened border security.
Trump said that a bill would be reviewed in “the next two to three days.”
Trump later doubled down on his position in a tweet, writing that increased border security should accompany a DACA replacement.
Congress has until March 5th to enact a new bill to succeed DACA. But by the end of 2017, Congress had not passed a DACA replacement, leading many of the program’s advocates to worry it would never be replaced. In light of this, Trump’s new promise to pass a substitute for DACA is good news for the bill’s supporters.
It’s not entirely clear what Trump’s “bill of love” would entail. But we’re relieved to see the president committed to replacing DACA, and we hope that bipartisan immigration reform is not far away.