The media today: Mixed messages from the White House on ‘dreamers’

September 6, 2017

While newsrooms rush to prepare for coverage of another powerful hurricane, the story that dominated yesterday was President Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival program that allows those immigrants brought to the US illegally as children to live and work without fear of deportation. Front pages of the nation’s largest newspapers carried multiple stories about Trump’s action, and by shifting responsibility for the 800,000 or so DACA recipients to Congress, he has ensured extended media coverage of immigration policy.

Trump made a hard line on immigration a central plank of his appeal to voters during the 2016 campaign, but he muddled his position on DACA with statements throughout the day yesterday. After dispatching Jeff Sessions to announce the end of the program after a six-month delay (Sessions did not take questions from the media), Trump issued a long statement in which he seemed torn about his decision. In a Tuesday-night tweet, he called on Congress to “legalize DACA,” promising to “revisit this issue” if it is unable to do so.

The decision to end DACA drew widespread condemnation from those on the left, while the response from conservative media seemed to mirror the president’s own mixed message. Breitbart’s headline credited Trump with showing “heart” by delaying the end of the program, while The Daily Caller accused Trump of calling for “amnesty.” Dozens of business leaders spoke out against the decision, and the two largest Spanish-language television networks, Univision and Telemundo, issued statements criticizing the end of DACA.

Below, more on Trump’s decision.


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Correction: An earlier version of this newsletter misspelled Laurene Powell Jobs’s first name. We regret the error.

Pete Vernon is a former CJR staff writer. Follow him on Twitter @ByPeteVernon.