Di­ver­gent re­ac­tions as Trump seems to soften stand on Dream­ers.

The Washington Times Daily - - FRONT PAGE - BY STEPHEN DINAN

Don­ald Trump’s ap­par­ent soft­en­ing of his stance on il­le­gal im­mi­grant Dream­ers pro­duced wildly di­ver­gent re­ac­tions Wed­nes­day, with some ac­tivists cheer­ing a shift while oth­ers said they don’t be­lieve the pres­i­dent-elect has changed one bit, and still in­tends to de­port mi­grants as soon as he takes of­fice.

“We’re go­ing to work some­thing out that’s go­ing to make peo­ple happy and proud,” Mr. Trump said in an in­ter­view with Time mag­a­zine. “They got brought here at a very young age, they’ve worked here, they’ve gone to school here. Some were good stu­dents. Some have won­der­ful jobs. And they’re in never-never land be­cause they don’t know what’s go­ing to hap­pen.”

The pres­i­dent-elect in­di­cated he still wants to can­cel Mr. Obama’s 2012 amnesty, Time re­ported, but did not sug­gest de­port­ing the hun­dreds of thou­sands who al­ready gained ten­ta­tive le­gal sta­tus un­der the Obama pro­gram.

In the Se­nate, law­mak­ers on both sides of the aisle who are try­ing to de­fend Dream­ers said they were “en­cour­aged” by Mr. Trump’s new tone.

But Frank Sharry, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of Amer­ica’s Voice, a lead­ing im­mi­grant rights ad­vo­cacy, said he’s not buy­ing a soft­en­ing in Mr. Trump’s stance.

“We’ve seen this movie be­fore,” he said. “Re­call that Trump’s sup­posed ‘soft­en­ing’ this sum­mer was fol­lowed by his dark­est and most na­tivist im­mi­gra­tion speech in Phoenix.”

House Democrats said they’re not wait­ing around to see which ver­sion of Mr. Trump emerges next year. In­stead they de­manded Pres­i­dent Obama in­ter­vene and is­sue a blan­ket par­don to more than 740,000 Dream­ers — young-adult il­le­gal im­mi­grants who came for­ward un­der an amnesty Mr. Obama an­nounced in 2012.

“You’re the pres­i­dent of the United States, you asked them to join this pro­gram, you use the power of your par­don,” said Rep. Luis V. Gu­tier­rez, an Illinois Demo­crat who led a let­ter signed by more than 60 House Democrats in ask­ing for the re­lief.

The White House’s top do­mes­tic pol­icy ad­viser shot down the idea of a par­don, say­ing that they had con­cluded that the pres­i­dent’s pow­ers ap­ply to crim­i­nal of­fenses, while im­mi­gra­tion sta­tus is a civil offense. Ce­cilia Munoz, the ad­viser, also said a par­don couldn’t grant le­gal sta­tus, so the Dream­ers would still not be on firm foot­ing even if they could be par­doned for their im­mi­gra­tion of­fenses.

“It’s not an an­swer here,” she said in a pod­cast in­ter­view with the Cen­ter for Mi­gra­tion Stud­ies.

The Democrats who ral­lied Wed­nes­day coun­tered that the pres­i­dent’s par­don power un­der the Con­sti­tu­tion ex­tends to all of­fenses, not just crim­i­nal vi­o­la­tions.

Mr. Trump has sev­eral op­tions when he takes of­fice next year: He could al­low the 2012 pro­gram to re­main in place; he could re­voke it, but al­low ex­ist­ing two-year per­mits to re­main in ef­fect un­til they ex­pire, giv­ing most Dream­ers some breath­ing space; or he could re­voke both the pol­icy and all of the per­mits al­ready is­sued, mak­ing all Dream­ers im­me­di­ately el­i­gi­ble for de­por­ta­tion.

Democrats are look­ing to Mr. Obama to con­strain his suc­ces­sor as much as pos­si­ble. Even if he doesn’t use his par­don, the House law­mak­ers urged him to is­sue an ex­ec­u­tive or­der to shield the iden­ti­ties of the Dream­ers who came for­ward, so im­mi­gra­tion agents can’t use it for de­por­ta­tion lists.

Mr. Gu­tier­rez said Dream­ers were just the most press­ing cases, but he said he and his col­leagues want to see most il­le­gal im­mi­grants pro­tected.

“This is only the be­gin­ning. So for those who think this is too many, we’re here to pro­tect mil­lions and mil­lions and mil­lions more. This is the be­gin­ning,” he said.

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