President Donald Trump and Democratic Senate and House leaders sent out conflicting messages about the future of young, undocumented immigrants Wednesday night and Thursday morning.
The controversy started with a dinner that Trump held with Nancy Pelosi, U.S. House minority leader, and Chuck Schumer, the U.S. Senate minority leader. In parallel statements, Pelosi, Schumer and Trump said they discussed preserving the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, increasing border security and funding for the border wall. DACA, a 2012 executive order from the Obama administration, served as a replacement to the DREAM Act, legislation that offered similar benefits and failed to pass in 2010.
All three leaders said that an agreement had been made to ensure “Dreamers,” or undocumented immigrants who qualify to be DACA recipients, would not be forced to leave. But, following a joint statement by Pelosi and Schumer that said a “deal” had been reached regarding DACA, the White House released its own statement that said DACA was one of many topics discussed at the meal.
Early Thursday morning, Trump tweeted that “no deal was made last night on DACA” and that massive border security increases would be a contingency point on any DACA-related legislation. Minutes later, he tweeted about the value Dreamers provide to society.
“Does anybody really want to throw out good, educated and accomplished young people who have jobs, some serving in the military?” Trump said in a pair of tweets. “They have been in our country for many years through no fault of their own.”
Maya Guevara, a Latin American studies senior and University Leadership Initiative member, said the past six months of uncertainty for Dreamers has felt like a power play by Trump’s administration.
“It’s very overwhelming, (especially) seeing all my friends dealing with it,” Guevara said. “It’s really an abuse tactic of the administration to say one thing, do another and keep people waiting. It’s people’s real lives, economic future … It’s taking a really big toll on people’s mental and even physical health.”
Biochemistry junior Rebecca Hernandez, a DACA recipient and ULI member, said all they can do right now is prepare for the worst as floods of contradictory information about DACA come at them. However, she said it’s mostly a continuation of the seven-year-old uncertainty started in the days of the failed DREAM Act.
“DACA was never a law, so it could always be taken away,” Hernandez said. “We’re never sure what can happen, but these last couple of weeks it’s just been more intense.”