In A Surprising, Televised Meeting, Trump Hoped To Negotiate A DACA ‘Bill Of Love’

The public was treated to a window into a typically closed-door conversation.

By Jill AmentJanuary 10, 2018 12:58 pm,

One unanswered question touches hundreds of thousands of Texas residents: what to do about DACA, the Obama era program that keeps young immigrants brought into the country illegally from being deported.

After a wild, freewheeling televised exchange about immigration policy yesterday featuring President Donald Trump playing umpire between members of Congress from both sides of the aisle, a federal judge in California issued an order saying DACA should continue nationwide.

Kevin Diaz, a Washington correspondent for the Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express News, says the ruling still leaves plenty of questions about the future of DACA.

“The judge is simply saying that they can’t go back on the people who already came forward, stepped up, revealed their identities, and registered with the government,” Diaz says. “The issue now is going to be – if this court ruling stands up, if it’s not appealed – it’ll be for DACA going forward.”

Diaz says Trump’s televised immigration meeting isn’t how business is typically conducted.

“Normally they bring the reporters in for just the first five minutes of a meeting, they say a few platitudes, and then they usher the reporters out and then they get down to business,” he says. “In this particular case, they didn’t usher the reporters out. That was a shock, I think, to the press as well as to a lot of the people in that room.”

Diaz says the meeting was a fascinating window into how Trump negotiates.

“He tells people what they want to hear,” Diaz says, “and so he’s nodding his head up and down and he’s saying ‘Yeah, Dianne, we can do a clean DACA deal.’ And then Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy is sitting right next to Trump, says, ‘Wait a minute, I don’t think you really meant that, Mr. President.’ You could see his predisposition was to be agreeable, to get along.”

He says that ultimately the conversation was inconclusive.

“You could take out of it whatever you wanted because he said so many contradictory things in the span of 55 minutes,” he says. “He said both that sometimes that he’d be willing to sign a so-called clean bill to protect the Dreamers going forward. And then at other times, no, that it would have to be tied to money for a border wall.”

On Twitter, the president later clarified that he does consider DACA and border wall funding to be tied together. Diaz says that now members of Congress are back to square one.


Written by Jen Rice.