President Donald Trump expects Congress to meet a six-month deadline to agree on a “responsible immigration reform” that addresses “multiple issues including the DREAMers situation,” the White House said Monday.
During a press conference, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders reacted to the controversial statements by former Trump political advisor Steve Bannon, who warned that Trump’s decision to leave the future of ” DACA ” Congress could cost Republicans control of the House of Representatives in 2018.
According to the spokeswoman, Trump saw part of Bannon’s interview with the “60 Minutes” program, broadcast yesterday by CBS, but the priority of the president and his Administration is that Congress “carry out its work” and achieve a “immigration reform responsible “to respond to the” multiple issues “of the problem of illegal immigration.
“Congress has six months to do its job,” said Huckabee Sanders, referring to the deadline given by the Trump Administration to resolve the future of the 2012 “deferred action” program (DACA) for March 5, 2018 .
The program, implemented by the Obama Administration in August 2012, originally sheltered about 800,0000 undocumented youths who illegally entered the US as children by 2007.
The figure now stands at about 690,000 due to revocation of permits, which many did not renew, or made adjustments to their immigration status by obtaining permanent residence.
The phasing out of permits under the DACA led to the rejection of the Democrats in Congress and some Republicans as well as civic, religious, business and trade union groups across the country.
The White House spokeswoman did not respond directly to statements last week by House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi that Trump told him he would sign the “DREAM Act” to legalize the youth undocumented immigrants.
Trump insists on building a border wall and recently backed a measure to drastically reduce legal immigration, and the White House has said it would support a measure that would include strengthening border enforcement. However, he has not given details on what to do with undocumented immigrants already in the country.
Risk for Republicans
Bannon told CBS he was concerned about the effect the debate might have on the future of “DACA” in the 2018 legislative elections, in which Republicans – ever divided on the issue of immigration – will play the control of both chambers of Congress.
“If this leads to its logical conclusion, in February or March, there will be a civil war within the Republican Party that will be as corrosive as it was in 2013. For me, do that in the anteroom of the primary season for ) 2018, is extremely unwise, ” said Bannon.
— CBS News (@CBSNews) September 11, 2017
According to Coffman, House Speaker Paul Ryan has pledged to schedule a “DREAM Act” vote in plenary to give permanent protection to “DACA” beneficiaries, despite the tight conservative agenda and little time to achieve it.
Ryan’s office has not responded to multiple requests from this newspaper for confirmation of the eventual vote of the initiative.
Meanwhile, the number of leaders and civic groups is increasing, supporting a permanent solution for DREAMers.
In statements to this newspaper, former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta condemned the possible annulment of “DACA”, in particular for soldiers “DREAMers” who serve in the military.
“The Dreamers are outstanding soldiers who are willing to fight and die for the United States. Although the Department of Defense can not provide a special exemption, except through legislation, military service Dreamers provide a strong reason for a permanent solution to the DACA, ” said Panetta, director of the Panetta Institute in California.
“While the Panetta Institute is a nonprofit group that can not lobby the Congress, we promote and encourage national (defense) service as a major obligation for our democracy,” said Panetta, Secretary of Defense (2011-2013) ) under the Obama Administration.
The nearly 900 “DREAMers” who are active in the Armed Forces, even deployed overseas, would have to abandon their military service when their DACA permits expire, although the National Security and Defense departments are still studying the way do it in an orderly way.