Is Trump going to cancel DACA or not?

Point Number Five in Trump’s August Phoenix immigration speech was not ambiguous: “We will immediately terminate President Obama’s two illegal executive amnesties, in which he defied federal law and the constitution to give amnesty to approximately 5 million illegal immigrants.” Those two illegal amnesties are DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals – for illegals who came as kids, often called “Dreamers”) and DAPA (Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents). Only DACA actually went into effect; DAPA is held up in the courts. So the number of illegals whom Obama was actually able to lawlessly amnesty – providing them with work permits, Social Security numbers, access to the EITC welfare program and state driver’s licenses – was “only” about 750,000…

If the Trump administration just continues to issue work permits to illegal aliens as though the election never happened, not only is it an in-your-face betrayal, it also weakens congressional Republicans’ bargaining position. I’m actually in favor of giving green cards to illegals who came as young children; here’s my 2010 NR piece outlining a DREAM Act 2.0, which would trade amnesty for this modest but sympathetic share of the illegal population in exchange for nationwide E-Verify and an end to family chain migration and the visa lottery. The president himself suggested his openness to something like that last month, when he said “we’re going to work something out” for the DREAMers. But Chuck Schumer isn’t going to deal unless there’s pressure, and the prospect of hundreds of DACAs losing their work permits each day that Schumer holds out is an important element of that pressure (unless McConnell just scraps the current 60-vote cloture rule, which he should). Without suspending the DACA program, what bargaining power does the administration have?

Will Trump give work permits to another 800 illegal aliens tomorrow? Stay tuned.