White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sander blamed Congress on Monday for not acting to protect undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children, but said that President Donald Trump’s administration “fully” expects to win its legal case to end the program that previously did so.
Trump ended the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in September 2017, but allowed a brief window for DACA recipients whose work authorizations were set to expire before March 5 to renew their status. Since then, courts have ruled that DACA recipients must continue to be allowed to re-apply for legal protections, at least temporarily, and that DACA recipients must be notified and given a chance to respond if their status is revoked.
“Look, I think it is absolutely terrible that Congress has failed to act,” Sanders told reporters at her daily press briefing. “The President gave Congress six months and he also gave them a plan. He gave them four pillars that he wanted to see in legislation, legislation and principles that the majority of members of Congress have supported in the past.”
Though the White House did list four overarching principles it wanted to include in its immigration policy — including protecting DACA recipients, providing border security funding, ending family reunification immigration outside the most immediate relatives and ending the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program — Trump has proven to be a wildly inconsistent negotiator.
Though he initially told a bipartisan group of legislators in a televised meeting that he would “take the heat” and sign any legislation Congress sent his way, Trump later took numerous potshots at bipartisan legislation, added his own conditions to potential legislation and then blamed Democrats for the standstill.
The so-called bipartisan DACA deal presented yesterday to myself and a group of Republican Senators and Congressmen was a big step backwards. Wall was not properly funded, Chain & Lottery were made worse and USA would be forced to take large numbers of people from high crime…..
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 12, 2018
March 5th is rapidly approaching and the Democrats are doing nothing about DACA. They Resist, Blame, Complain and Obstruct – and do nothing. Start pushing Nancy Pelosi and the Dems to work out a DACA fix, NOW!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 1, 2018
Any deal on DACA that does not include STRONG border security and the desperately needed WALL is a total waste of time. March 5th is rapidly approaching and the Dems seem not to care about DACA. Make a deal!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 5, 2018
On Monday, he once again blamed Democrats and claimed they are “nowhere to be found on DACA.”
It’s March 5th and the Democrats are nowhere to be found on DACA. Gave them 6 months, they just don’t care. Where are they? We are ready to make a deal!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 5, 2018
Sanders on Monday said that members of Congress “claim to want to fix DACA” but that they have so far “failed to address it.”
“But we’re still hopeful that Congress will actually do their jobs, show up and get something done and fix this problem, not kick it down the road and ignore it,” she said.
Asked about the government’s ongoing legal case to end DACA, Sanders said, “We fully expect to win on an appeal.”
“The sad part is, is that both Republicans and Democrats don’t disagree on most of the merits of this legislation,” she said. “The fact that they can’t actually come together and get something done is pathetic, and now they’re using the courts as an excuse. They need to come to work and actually do what they were elected to do.”
Asked whether Trump will change his position about rescinding DACA if a court clears his way, Sanders said “I’m not going to get ahead of what the President may or may not do on that front.”
“We’re still asking Congress to actually do their jobs,” she added.