DACA appears safe, for now. It seems media across the spectrum reports that it’s a(nother) broken promise for Trump – with the Washington Times adding that the reversal “enrages conservative base” and the Daily Caller bemoaning that “100,000 illegals got amnesty in Trump’s first three months.” Rep. Steve King – who wonders how “we” can “restore our civilization with other people’s babies” – has mulled bringing a lawsuit against Trump (I think that would be lawsuit #136 or thereabouts) to kill DACA. Obviously this isn’t over yet.

But it is clearly a reversal of a campaign promise. I was certain that the first things Trump would do would be reinstate a Muslim registry and revoke DACA. (Silly me, it was a Muslim ban and ramped up ICE raids.)

But a few points:

  1. If DACA is ok, so was DAPA. The only real difference is number of people impacted. The legal authority is identical.
  2. The decision to keep DACA (for now) is political, not legal. That’s a testament to the formidable power of the Dreamers, and a lesson to everyone else. It’s also reassuring to see evidence of rational thought from the administration. But remember, there’s no final decision. DACA can still be revoked at any time.
  3. I wouldn’t let Trump’s base forget that he bowed to the Dreamers. Or failed to repeal the ACA. Or kept the H-1B program. Or saw a use for NATO. Or backed off calling China a currency manipulator.
  4. A lawsuit by Steve King or anyone else wouldn’t necessarily result in loss of DACA. Remember, DAPA wasn’t killed, it stalled. It was a preliminary injunction; there was never a ruling on its ultimate constitutionality. To kill DACA, then, is an uphill battle for Steve King, even with Gorsuch on the bench. It also would presumably mean the Trump admin would be forced to defend DACA in court, multiple times. That won’t go over well with his base. He could flip and revoke DACA after all, but doing that in response to a King lawsuit would galvanize Dreamers and their allies. Either way, the admin’s in a pickle, and I think it makes sense for Dreamers to force the admin into a pro-DACA position it will have to defend.

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