In an interview with Telemundo’s José Díaz-Balart, President Trump said that he is planning to sign an executive order on immigration that will include “a road to citizenship” to “Dreamers” covered by the Obama Administration’s DACA protections. But that is a lie. The president does not have the power to make unilateral action like that via executive order. And further, White House Deputy Press Secretary Judd Deere released a statement after the interview clarifying that the executive order will address merit-based immigration but not DACA recipients.
During the bizarre interview, Díaz-Balart asked Trump why is he so “laser-focused on deporting” DACA recipients, which is when Trump baselessly claimed that he is not deporting DACA recipients and would instead create opportunities for them to obtain citizenship. Even while he was lying, though, the president couldn’t even keep straight that the action he was talking about was an executive order and not a bill — a term reserved for legislation that has gone through Congress.
“I’m signing a big immigration bill,” the president began.
Díaz-Balart interjected to correct him and ask, “This is an executive order?”
The president corrected and continued, “I’m gonna do a big executive order. I have the power to do it as president,” he said. “And I’m going to make DACA a part of it. We put it in, and we’re probably going to then be taking it out. We’re working out the legal complexities right now. But I’m going to be signing a major immigration bill as an executive order, which the Supreme Court now, because of the DACA decision, has given me the power to do that.”
“If you look at the Supreme Court ruling, they gave the president tremendous powers when they said that you could take in, in this case, 700,000 or so people,” Trump added. “So they gave powers, based on the powers that they gave, I’m going to be doing an immigration bill. One of the aspects of the bill that you’ll be very happy with — and that a lot of people will be, including me and a lot of Republicans, by the way — will be DACA. We’ll give them a road to citizenship.”
Last month, the Supreme Court ruled that President Donald Trump could not abolish DACA by claiming it was unconstitutional, but, Chief Justice Roberts wrote in the opinion for the majority, the president does have the power to rescind the program by other legal means. The court did not, however, say that the president could create a path to citizenship for “Dreamers” without Congress.
At least one person will be relieved to discover the president had no idea what he was talking about. As soon as news broke that the president said he would create a path to citizenship, Sen. Ted Cruz took to Twitter to complain that he was violating the constitution.