Immigration advocates suspect that Trump was trying to keep DACA in place without affirmatively supporting it—but the attorneys general called his bluff. “At least until right now, the president kept the status quo and kept DACA going, allowing roughly 200,000 renewals,” said Todd Schulte, president of the immigration-reform group FWD.us. “That was absolutely the right decision. Now, we have clearly seen people outside the administration try to jam him.”
The imposition of this arbitrary deadline has forced a decision. If Trump doesn’t act and the lawsuit goes forward, a conservative judge might try to halt the program, but the courts would probably allow DACA to continue while it’s being litigated. Experts differ on whether the program would ultimately pass legal muster—Obama himself repeatedly insisted he didn’t have the power to take such an action before reversing himself.
The immigration hardliners in the administration are working to convince the president that DACA will inevitably end, so he might as well “take the credit” for it.