Donald Trump’s victory in November promised to give immigration hardliners the long-sought opportunity to pass legislation cracking down on immigration. But roughly eight months into his administration, many are feeling betrayed.
Last week, Trump announced that he would end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, an Obama-era program shielding undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children from deportation and allowing them to work legally in the country. Trump had campaigned on the promise to immediately rescind the program, and though the decision came later than anticipated, it was welcomed by his supporters.
But now, after Trump dined with Democratic leaders in the White House, it appears that a deal may be in the making to keep DACA protections in exchange for border security—worrying immigration restrictionists who see enforcement as low-hanging fruit.
“We’re looking at both sides: We’re looking at the White House saying there’s no deal, but Trump saying other things on DACA, and looking at Schumer and Pelosi saying a deal was cut,” said Chris Chmielenski, the director of content and activism at NumbersUSA. He added that it’s “disappointing” that there’s still no mention of measures like the RAISE Act, which would reduce legal immigration to the United States. “We would absolutely not support anything—nor do we think our activists would support—a DACA amnesty for enforcement,” he said. NumbersUSA has mobilized its activists to pressure Congress, as it waits for the White House to do the same for legislation like the RAISE Act.