On Tuesday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions publicly confirmed that President Trump would end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The announcement included a phase-out stage within a six-month stay, during which Congress would iron out specifics, and Dreamers could fulfill their existing work permits. The stay could have been construed as Trump passing the buck for the legislative branch to do the dirty work but also functioned as a double-down on Sessions’ accusations against President Obama for his “unconstitutional” enactment of DACA in the first place.
Regardless of how the rescinding of DACA was to go down, Sessions used the word “rescinded” with no ambiguity whatsoever. This led to protests, an on-camera resignation, and loads of reactions along with vehement defenses of Dreamers on behalf of tech leaders. President Trump, however, issued the most bizarre of late evening tweets to follow up on the ruckus: “Congress now has 6 months to legalize DACA (something the Obama Administration was unable to do). If they can’t, I will revisit this issue!”
What on earth does this tweet mean — is the president challenging Congress to find a way to legalize DACA? Or does Trump not understand that his own administration has already axed the program? Because why “revisit this issue” if the program has essentially been abolished other than a requisite “stay” period? It’s a mystifying tweet, even more so than Trump’s usual gibberish.
Outlets soon began attempts to decipher what Trump could have been talking about. The New York Times simply writes that Trump’s threat to revisit DACA is “sure to inject more uncertainty into the ultimate fate of the young, undocumented immigrants who have been benefiting from the program since 2012.” However, Deadline Hollywood went further by wondering whether Trump was “tak[ing] back” the rescinding of DACA.
At best, the president has issued a poorly worded tweet. At worst, he has clued everyone in to his own misunderstanding of what went down today — a move that puts the fate of 800,000+ undocumented immigrants (who entered the U.S. as minors) in jeopardy. Either way, the tweet doesn’t present a good look, but Sarah Huckabee Sanders will undoubtedly be asked about this statement tomorrow. Will she take the question seriously and answer accordingly? That’s up for interpretation, so stay tuned.