Trump appears to completely flip-flop on DACA — but has he really?

Trump appears to completely flip-flop on DACA — but has he really?
President Donald Trump appeared to confirm a report that said he was going to end DACA, the controversial amnesty program, in a tweet. (Pete Marovich/Getty Images)

Has President Donald Trump really changed his position on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, as many of his supporters believe?

What he said Thursday

What he said just two weeks ago

DACA has been widely discussed because of Trump’s tough immigration positions and the implication that continuing or ending DACA will have on hundreds of thousands of American workers.

He said two weeks ago that he plans to end the program with a six-month trigger allowing Congress time to act. Or in this case, time to pass a legislative version of DACA.

An apparent flip-flop

Trump’s recent comments about DACA and his meetings with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) have much of Trump’s base believing he has flip-flopped on DACA. After all, Trump appeared to be against the program throughout his campaign.

Trump most recently met with Democratic congressional leadership on Wednesday, who said Thursday they had not yet reached a deal with Trump on DACA.

But is it really a flip-flop?

Though Trump appeared to be against DACA throughout his campaign and into his presidency, Trump never said he both wants to end the program and send back those who benefitted from it. He also never said he wants to end the program and never implement another version of it.

Instead, as the Maggie Haberman from the New York Times noted two weeks ago, Trump likely wants to end Obama’s program and either implement his own version of it or give Congress time to pass a legislative version of it.

Still, Trump’s administration has questioned the constitutionality of DACA. However, it is possible to believe that Obama’s executive order implementing DACA was unconstitutional because it exceeded the powers given to the executive branch and also believe that children brought to the country illegally should have the opportunity to work and earn citizenship.

“We are gonna deal with DACA with heart,” Trump said in February, explaining that DACA is a “very, very difficult” subject.

Quotes about DACA while Trump was campaigning:

  • “We have to make a whole new set of standards. And when people come in, they have to come in legally.”
  • “We’re going to keep the families together; we have to keep the families together.”

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