In response to the Trump administration’s Tuesday announcement that it is ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) issued a very brief statement that left unclear whether he would push for legislation restoring its protections.
“President Obama wrongly believed he had the authority to re-write our immigration law. Today’s action by President Trump corrects that fundamental mistake,” McConnell said in a statement on Trump’s decision. “This Congress will continue working on securing our border and ensuring a lawful system of immigration that works.”
Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Tuesday morning that the administration would roll back DACA, which protects undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as minors from deportation. Beginning on Wednesday, the federal government will not accept new applications for the program, and only will renew protections for current DACA recipients whose benefits expire before early March 2018.
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and several other Republicans in Congress have expressed support for legislation that would restore the protections DACA offers. However, it will be an uphill climb in both chambers: Democrats will likely be wary of any legislation that ties DACA to other immigration measures, like limits on legal immigration or funding for the border wall, while Conservative Republicans will likely reject a bill that restores DACA without implementing other policies to secure the border or limit immigration.
McConnell may not be inclined to do Trump any favors when it comes to DACA, given that the two have been feuding. The tense relationship between the two leaders spilled into the open last month when McConnell said that Trump had “excessive expectations” about the pace at which Congress can pass major legislation. Trump hit back with several tweets bashing McConnell over his failure to repeal Obamacare.