Trump Vows No 'Amnesty' After Right-Wing Backlash
President Donald Trump has pushed back after receiving criticism from right-wing pundits who took aim at his offer to allow DACA and TPS immigrants to remain in the U.S. for three more years, vowing that “amnesty” is not on the table.”
“No, Amnesty is not a part of my offer,” Trump tweeted on Sunday morning, pointing out that he’d offered only a three-year extension. “Amnesty will be used only on a much bigger deal, whether on immigration or something else,” he added.
In a Saturday evening speech, the president announced that he would allow the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) immigrants to remain in the U.S. without problems for three more years in exchange for $5.7 billion in funding for a partial border wall, which experts have long argued would be ineffective and which was conceived by his advisors purely as a way to get him to remember to vilify immigrants while campaigning.
Many Democrats, were quick to point out that Trump wasn’t really offering anything substantial. Trump is “holding federal workers hostage, saying he'll temporarily give back what he took away—only if we give him a pointless, ineffective wall,” Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand from New York tweeted after the president’s remarks. DACA and TPS were programs previously targeted by the Trump administration, despite bipartisan criticism.
But right-wing commentators were also unhappy with Trump’s announcement.
Former staunch Trump supporter Ann Coulter, who has increasingly criticized the president over his failure to fulfill his signature campaign promise to build a border wall, slammed his latest proposal. “100 miles of border wall in exchange for amnestying millions of illegals. So if we grant citizenship to a BILLION foreigners, maybe we can finally get a full border wall,” she wrote on Twitter. “Trump proposes amnesty. We voted for Trump and got Jeb [Bush]!” she added.
Tom Fitton, president of the right-wing activist group Judicial Watch, argued that allowing DACA and TPS immigrants to remain would “encourage more illegal immigration and undermine the rule of law,” saying : “Amnesty is not a good plan.”
“This kind of amnesty deal will incentivize more caravans,” Roy Beck, president of the anti-immigration organization NumbersUSA, said in a statement, according to Politico, using a scare tactic devised by President Trump -- referring to groups of immigrants as a 'caravan' in order to dehumanize them and cast them as a source for fear.
Many analysts have suggested that Trump initially chose to shut down the government before Christmas at the urging of right-wing pundits, such as Coulter. Republicans and Democrats in Washington had reportedly expected the president to sign a bipartisan budget to keep the government open, despite its lack of funding for a border wall. But after far-right-wing commentators blasted the president, urging him to refuse to sign without receiving funding for the structure, he appeared to follow their advice.
Although Coulter lauded Trump for shutting down the government, she has remained less than impressed, predicting earlier this month that he “will fold in the end.” She also said that she expects the next president to be a Democrat if Trump fails to build the wall.