Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon believes President Donald Trump’s slow rollback of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) amnesty program could make Republicans lose control of the House of Representatives.
President Trump announced last week that the DACA program, which protects roughly 800,000 illegal immigrants from deportation, will be rescinded starting in March 2018. He tweeted that Congress has until then to “legalize DACA” or he will “revisit” the issue.
The decision from Trump fulfilled a campaign promise to end the program, however, in asking Congress to legalize the program he embraced amnesty, something Trump promised not do on the campaign trail.
“I’m worried about losing the House now because of this — because of DACA,” Bannon said in a prerecorded “60 Minutes” interview that aired Sunday.
“If this goes all the way down to its logical conclusion, in February and March it will be a civil war inside the Republican Party that will be every bit as vitriolic as 2013,” Bannon said in reference to the intraparty debate surrounding the Gang of 8 immigration bill. “And to me, doing that in the springboard of primary season for 2018 is extremely unwise.”
Bannon, who is now at the helm of Breitbart News, said the administration should focus on American citizens, adding that as DACA recipients’ “work permits run out, they self deport.”
“There’s no path to citizenship, no path to a green card and no amnesty. Amnesty is non-negotiable,” Bannon added.
The struggle within the GOP due to Trump’s DACA decision has already been brought up by Republican Iowa Rep. Steve King.
“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 in a CNN interview last week referencing the Old Testament story.
House Speaker Paul Ryan has said that any sort of amnesty for DACA recipients would have to be coupled with border security measures.