Trump’s DACA dodge

So solving one important part of the immigration reform puzzle is now all up to a Congress that hasn’t been able to organize a two-car funeral.

Trying to appease his hardline base while arguing that he’s also showing a measure of compassion for those that his base would be happy to round up and send over the border tomorrow, President Trump punted. His decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program — but to delay by six months the effective date of the order passes the buck to Congress. Lawmakers will now be under pressure to craft — and pass — a permanent solution that legalizes the status of some 800,000 US residents brought here illegally by their parents when they were children.

It won’t be easy. If it were, Congress would have passed a measure sometime over the 16 years that the issue has been stalemated on Capitol Hill. DACA was the stopgap answer President Obama imposed as a temporary fix for childhood arrivals, allowing them to go to school and work, but it was always subject to termination.

Trump, as has been often pointed out, is not particularly guided by unwavering conviction on the great issues of the day. His “buy American” shtick was never a guiding principle of his own business dealings. And his vitriolic denunciation of immigrants during the campaign seemed as much driven by political opportunism as deep-seated belief. He sensed an opening in the Republican primary for a candidate who played to the angry, nativist impulses of a segment of the voters — and he took it.

It’s true that he hasn’t seemed bothered when that play-to-the-base approach meant steamrolling over groups, such as his order to ban transgender individuals from military service. But between his warnings about Mexican rapists and call for a ban on all Muslim immigrants, Trump showed a certain soft spot for “dreamers,” those young people brought illegally to the US as children who were now working or in school thanks to Obama’s 2012 executive order.

He repeatedly hinted that they will not be targeted by his broader crackdown on illegal immigration. “We love the dreamers,” he said of those he described as “incredible kids.”  “Dreamers — everything’s fine.”  “We’re going to show great heart.”

Apart from the bone he’s tossed to his red-meat base, Trump’s move is bad one from every other political angle imaginable, says Joe Battenfeld. Among them, he says, Trump has gone after kids — always a political no-no, giving Democrats a chance to claim a victory if Congress passes permanent protection for the 800,000 people affected. To top it all off, he took the duck-and-hide approach to it all by having his hardbar anti-immigrant attorney general face the cameras to announce the decision. The New York Times reports that the detail-challenged president may not have even understood the full implications of the order he issued.

A Globe editorial calls it “another cruel and misguided move by a president who sees immigrants as little more than political fodder.” But it says there is “a silver lining of sorts” in the six-month window for Congress to take action.

“Can a heretofore dysfunctional Republican Congress act on what should be a moral imperative?” asks the Globe’s Scot Lehigh in a separate column.

Referring to House Speaker Paul Ryan and minority leader Nancy Pelosi, a Herald editorial said, hopefully: “Putting aside the usual partisan rhetoric, they both seem committed to crafting a legislative solution.”

The clock is ticking.

–MICHAEL JONAS

BEACON HILL

The state’s Cannabis Control Commission may be struggling for funds. (CommonWealth)

Secretary of State Bill Galvin plans to testify today in support of legislation that would require presidential candidates to release their tax returns in order to appear on the Massachusetts ballot. (Boston Globe) A Herald editorial slams the bill, and says it’s not likely to pass constitutional muster.

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

Methuen approves a temporary moratorium on retail marijuana shops and is prepping a total ban. (Eagle-Tribune)

Three Quincy city councilors have proposed an ordinance to regulate sober homes, group houses for recovering addicts that federal courts have said are exempt from regulations under the Fair Housing Act and Americans with Disabilities Act. (Patriot Ledger)

The Globe spotlights the tensions in Lowell between better-off longtime residents and lower-income immigrant newcomers.

WASHINGTON/NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL

As President Trump ends DACA, US Sen. Edward Markey promises to push for a legislative fix. Markey calls Trump’s decision “plain evil” and Attorney General Maura Healey calls her federal counterpart, Jeff Sessions, a liar. (CommonWealth)

Some states are starting to bar their employees from visiting states that have adopted what they consider discriminatory policies. (Governing)

Hurricane Irma,.one of the most powerful Atlantic storms in history, has started battering the Caribbean, including the US Virgin Islands and other territories, and is heading straight at southern Florida, where Trump has already declared a state of emergency. (U.S. News & World Report)

A group of prominent Republicans broke ranks with many in the GOP and filed a brief with the Supreme Court urging the justices to put an end to gerrymandering. The case centers on redrawn districts in Wisconsin that gave Republicans outsized power. (New York Times)

ELECTIONS

Ellen Murphy Meehan decides not to run for Niki Tsongas’s congressional seat, leaving the race wide open. (Lowell Sun) Her decision not only opens up the Democratic primary, it could be good news for Republicans. (Boston Globe)

Fitchburg City Councilor Dean Tran says he plans to run for the state Senate seat of Jennifer Flanagan (who left to join the Cannabis Control Commission) as a Republican. (Lowell Sun)

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

Have you heard this one before? A New York sports team struggling to make the playoffs accuses its first-place Boston area rival of stealing signs — which is not against the rules — by using electronic devices, which is a violation. (New York Times) Herald columnist Steve Buckley rips the Sox as a team “lacking in soul and decorum” and says they have gone, in 50 years, from the Impossible Dream to the Impossible Scheme.

Gas prices see the largest one-week spike since Katrina. (Telegram & Gazette)

The Berkshire Museum severs ties with the Smithsonian Institution because its plan to sell off artworks to bolster its endowment runs afoul of guidelines established by the American Alliance of Museums. (Berkshire Eagle)

Shack’s Clothes, founded in 1928, prepares to close its Worcester store. (Telegram & Gazette)

Danish toymaker Lego, which built itself back up by cashing in on games, movies, and fads since declaring bankruptcy 13 years ago, is slashing its global workforce after a decline in sales and revenues in the first half of 2017. (Associated Press)

EDUCATION

Saying schools shouldn’t be on the verge of a state takeover before corrective action is taken, New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell testifies on Beacon Hill in favor of school innovation zone legislation. (CommonWealth)

TRANSPORTATION

Another day, another disaster on the MBTA, as the system’s aging signal system falters and causes delays on the Red Line that took 3½ hours to clear. (Boston Globe)

The FAA has made a $6.6 million grant to New Bedford Regional Airport to upgrade one of its runways as the airport is near an agreement with an unnamed airline to start service to Florida. (Standard-Times)

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT

Changes to the federal flood insurance program will likely be on hold in the wake of the devastation left by Hurricane Harvey. (Patriot Ledger) Scientists say global warming is increasing the risk of dangerous hurricanes. (Boston Globe)

The Conservation Law Foundation has filed an appeal with the Supreme Judicial Court to overturn the state’s decision to grant a permit for the expansion of NRG Energy’s power generating plant on the Cape Cod Canal. (Cape Cod Times)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE/COURTS

A state judge dismissed charges against former governor Deval Patrick, who was accused by former Parole Board member Pamela Lombardini of threatening her in order to force her to quit her post. (Salem News)

MEDIA

The New York Times has an inside look at how the highly touted CNN investigative team went from prominence to embarrassment in a few short weeks, now prohibited by the network from doing Trump-Russia related stories because of a since-retracted story.

  • Mhmjjj2012

    New Bedford has not met the legally required minimum public school spending since fiscal year 2013. What’s interesting is Jon Mitchell has been New Bedford’s mayor since 2012 which means Mayor Mitchell is responsible for not ensuring New Bedford’s students are attending fully funded, fully resourced public schools for the past three years. And yet, CommonWealth is featuring his testimony as though he advocated for public schools on Beacon Hill. He didn’t. New Bedford’s public schools are not only underfunded by the City but also underfunded by the state. How about addressing that problem first? The school innovation zone legislation is just a distraction.