The onus is now on Congress to determine the fate of Obama's DACA recipients, the undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children.
But on the same day Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program was being phased out, President Donald Trump said something in a tweet that may indicate Congress won't necessarily be where the DACA story ends.
Congress now has 6 months to legalize DACA (something the Obama Administration was unable to do). If they can't, I will revisit this issue!— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1504658307.0
The end of that tweet, "If they can't, I will revisit this issue!" What does that mean? It's unclear. But it seems to open up the possibility that the president will act on behalf of DACA recipients if Congress doesn't legalize DACA, or something similar.
Trump has expressed some sympathy for the DACA recipients' situations. And, as Sessions' speech earlier Tuesday made clear, the decision to end DACA is primarily about reaffirming the scope of the executive and legislative branch roles.
“Well, I have a great heart for the folks we’re talking about — a great love for them,” the president told reporters Tuesday. “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."
Trump's apparent interest in Congress passing amnesty legislation for this particular group of immigrants could be received unfavorably by the section of his voting base that supports the immediate and permanent ending of the DACA program, and which would oppose any congressional proposals.
In addition, saying that he would address the issue in the event of Congress' failure to pass a bill relieves some of the pressure Congress faces to get something done. Now, the stakes are potentially lower, because even if they fail, some DACA recipients still have some conceivable hope of being allowed to remain in the United States based on whatever Trump means by his intention to "revisit" the issue.
A recent poll shows that a majority of voters don't want to see the DACA recipients deported. The Morning Consult/POLITICO poll of nearly 2,000 people between Aug. 31 and Sept. 3 showed that only 15 percent of respondents would favor the approximately 800,000 DACA students being deported.