But You Told Me Steve Bannon Saved DACA!
Credit: Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
September 1, 2017

We're being told that DACA is ending:

President Donald Trump is expected to end an Obama-era program that shielded young people from deportation, but he will likely let the immigrants known as Dreamers stay in the United States until their work permits run out, according to multiple people familiar with the policy negotiation.

That plan would allow Trump to fulfill a campaign promise to end one of Barack Obama’s signature initiatives while also giving the president a way to keep the pledge he made after Inauguration Day to treat the Dreamers with “great heart,” said sources on both sides of the issue who are involved in the discussions.

One of the more surprising stories from the early days of the Trump administration was this report by BuzzFeed's Adrian Carrasquillo and Tarini Parti, which asserted that DACA was safe because Steve Bannon, of all people, favored it:

... according to two sources who regularly speak with the Trump administration, DACA is a settled issue.

And in recent conversations, two administration sources pointed to chief strategist Steve Bannon as the man who preserved the current iteration of DACA, the victor of a debate with Attorney General Jeff Sessions and senior policy adviser Stephen Miller, who favored curtailing the program.

... "Trump was never in favor of repealing DACA," said a source close to the president, who also said that keeping the program is in line with the immigration stance of Bannon, whose counsel Trump closely heeds. Bannon's economic nationalist view is very much rooted in culture, and so eliminating DACA wouldn't be a priority for him because "these kids have been here and they're going to schools here," the source said. "They're Americans. They understand the culture."

Yes, Bannon is gone now. But as The Washington Post informed us last night, Trump and Bannon still chat regularly:

The president continues to call business friends and outside advisers, including former chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon, from his personal phone when [Chief of Staff John] Kelly is not around, said people with knowledge of the calls.

I don't know what Bannon was really thinking. Maybe he actually believes his own theories, and the "culture" explanation is accurate. But somehow he's not as influential outside the tent as in, even though he's in regular touch with his former boss.

Many observers believe that Trump didn't go after the Dreamers all this time because he genuinely has a soft spot for them. I don't buy it. Trump is the most empathy-challenged president of my lifetime, and I'm old enough to remember Richard Nixon. It appears that Bannon, surprisingly, was the thumb on the scale in favor of the Dreamers, but now that he's not in the White House, whoops! -- there goes Trump's empathy. And Bannon's not fighting for them either in those late-night calls. So they're expendable now.

Crossposted at No More Mr. Nice Blog

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