President Donald Trump ended an amnesty program for illegal immigrants Tuesday and then threw Congress into a flux by demanding that they pass an amnesty bill of their own, which Republican Iowa Rep. Steve King called a “Solomon-esque” maneuver.
Trump rescinded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) with a slow wind down, designed for Congress to “fix” the predicament the roughly 800,000 illegal immigrants currently covered by the program will face.
“Congress now has 6 months to legalize DACA (something the Obama Administration was unable to do),” Trump tweeted. “If they can’t, I will revisit this issue!”
Congress already had its plate full with tax reform, health care reform, Hurricane Harvey relief, and the debt ceiling, and Trump’s action tossed a divisive political issue into the mix.
“I think [Trump’s action is] a little bit of a Solomon-esque maneuver. He cut the baby in half and threw it to Congress to fight over. I didn’t want to see our Congress divided,” King said on CNN Wednesday referencing the Old Testament story.
King, an immigration hawk, was speaking specifically about the Republican conference and the intra-party split over the issue. Republican South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham said Tuesday he will be re-introducing the Dream Act and give a clean amnesty to DACA recipients. This is a move supported by Democratic Party leadership, but Republicans — including House Speaker Paul Ryan — want a compromise.
“The larger problem is that we do not have control of our borders,” Ryan said at a Wednesday press conference. “And so it’s only reasonable and fitting that we also address the root cause of the problem, which is borders that are not sufficiently controlled, while we address this very real and very human problem that’s right in front of us.”
However, it’s unclear if Democrats would go along with more border security measures as Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called Wednesday for a “clean” legislative amnesty.
It is also unclear what will happen if Congress does not find a way to agree on what to do with the 800,000 DACA recipients that will lose their status on a rolling basis, as Trump tweeted Tuesday that he will “revisit” the issue. President Trump was firm on the campaign trail that he would not enact amnesty and that he would immediately end DACA, however, since enterring office he has softened his stance.
The same day he ended the program, Trump told reporters: “I have a great heart for these folks we’re talking about. A great love for them and people think in terms of children but they’re really young adults. I have a love for these people and hopefully now Congress will be able to help them and do it properly.”