The White House played clean-up Friday after President Trump suggested he was working on an executive order that would attempt to grant citizenship rights to “Dreamers,” saying Mr. Trump is actually talking about two different issues.
Mr. Trump is planning an executive order that would revamp the immigration system to add more “merit-based” conditions to those coming to the U.S., said spokesman Judd Deere.
Separately, the president is “willing to work with Congress on a negotiated legislative solution to DACA [Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals], one that could include citizenship.” Mr. Deere described a piece of legislation Mr. Trump first offered in 2018.
Mr. Trump sowed confusion earlier during an interview with Telemundo, in which he said he was going to be “signing a big immigration bill” in the coming weeks.
No such bill is likely to clear Congress, so the Telemundo host prompted the president whether he meant an executive order. Mr. Trump then agreed that was what he meant.
“I’m going to do a big executive order. I have the power to do it as president,” he said.
He went on: “I’m going to make DACA a part of it. But we put it in, and we’ll probably going to then be taking it out, we’re working out the legal complexities now, but I’m going to be signing a very major immigration bill as an executive order.”
“One of the aspects of the bill is going to be DACA. We’re going to have a road to citizenship.”
That stunned his supporters.
Sen. Ted Cruz, Texas Republican, tweeted that “there is zero constitutional authority for a president to create a ‘road to citizenship’ by executive fiat.”
Mr. Deere on Friday, though, insisted what Mr. Trump would do for Dreamers was different and “does not include amnesty.”
Leaders of some of the country’s biggest companies also leaned on the president Saturday, urging him not to make a new attempt at revoking the Obama-era DACA deportation amnesty, saying it would be a significant disruption to lose those employees during the coronavirus recovery.
The companies, which include Apple, Amazon, Target and General Motors, said “Dreamers,” who are able to work because of DACA, “have been critical members of our workforce, industries and communities for years now.”
“This is no time to disrupt the economic recovery of our companies and communities, nor time to jeopardize the health and safety of these vulnerable individuals,” wrote the leaders, who call themselves the Coalition for the American Dream.