Trump claims Democrats 'abandoned' DACA recipients, even though he canceled the program last year

Key Points
  • Trump claims Democrats "abandoned" young immigrants shielded by an Obama-era program.
  • Trump's own administration ended the program, and he insisted that Congress pass a bill that meets his demands.
  • The Senate failed to pass three possible measures to protect the immigrants on Thursday.
Trump claims Democrats 'totally abandoned' DACA recipients

President Donald Trump claimed in a Friday morning tweet that Democrats "badly" treated and "abandoned" the young undocumented immigrants protected by an Obama-era program.

But Trump's own administration ended Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and pushed a divided Congress to pass his preferred plan to shield the immigrants.

Lawmakers have so far struggled to reach any consensus on an immigration plan. Three separate proposals to shield as many as 1.8 million young immigrants from deportation and offer a path to citizenship failed in the Senate on Thursday. A GOP plan championed by Trump received only 39 votes, the lowest tally for any of the measures the Senate voted on during the week.

"Cannot believe how BADLY DACA recipients have been treated by the Democrats...totally abandoned! Republicans are still working hard," Trump wrote in a tweet.

Trump tweet

Trump's comments come as Congress has no clear path forward on extending DACA's legal protections. While Trump initially set a March 5 deadline for it to start to phase out, a second judge ruled this week that he cannot do so.

While the ruling takes some of the urgency out of reaching a solution, Democrats want a quick fix in part to appease an energized liberal base ahead of November's midterm elections. Republican leaders have tried to pin the blame on Democrats for not accepting Trump's immigration terms, despite the president's role in ending DACA.

In response to Trump's tweet, Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said "give me a break."

"You killed DACA and have now rejected six bipartisan deals to protect Dreamers," Durbin, who has long championed a legislative solution for the immigrants, wrote in a tweet. "I've been fighting for Dreamers for 17 years and will never abandon them. We could pass the Dream Act today if you simply called on the Republicans who control Congress to support it."

Durbin tweet

Bridging the partisan divide and reaching a deal that Trump will accept appears difficult. The president has rejected multiple plans brought to him by senators, insisting that a bill include his four main immigration demands: protecting up to 1.8 million immigrants either registered or eligible for DACA, funding his proposed border wall and other security tools, limiting extended family migration and ending the diversity visa "lottery."

On Thursday, the Trump administration thrashed a bipartisan Senate plan that would not have included the curbs on legal immigration the president has demanded. Trump put pressure on the GOP by threatening a veto, and the vast majority of Republicans and a few Democrats opposed it. It garnered only 54 of the 60 votes needed to pass.

Even if the bill had gotten out of the Senate, it likely would not have passed the more conservative House.

After the votes Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell criticized Democrats for not supporting the bill that mirrored Trump's demands. He contended that the president went "clearly more than halfway to meet the Democrats" on immigration.

Democrats argue that they already made concessions. The bipartisan plan included funding for Trump's proposed border wall, which Democrats at first considered a nonstarter. It also would have put some limits on family sponsorship for visas.

Senators on both sides of the aisle have expressed frustration about the difficult of negotiating with Trump's White House. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has said talks with Trump are "like negotiating with Jell-O."

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., has criticized White House officials, particularly policy aide Stephen Miller, for the president digging in on his immigration demands. He drew the White House's ire in the process.

At one point last month, Trump told bipartisan lawmakers that he would sign a deal they reached and take the political "heat" for it. Days later, he said he would only accept the four principles that he outlined.