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Political Editors / January 24, 2017

Trump Yet to Act on Immigration

But it’s probably too early for concern.

Concern has begun to mount among various conservatives over the fact that Donald Trump has not yet kept one of his more significant campaign promises. At a speech in late August last year, Trump vowed to “immediately terminate President Obama’s two illegal executive amnesties, in which he defied federal law and the constitution to give amnesty to approximately five million illegal immigrants.” Trump was referring to DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) and DAPA (Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents), two of Barack Obama’s most lawless executive actions enacted in June 2012.

When Trump spokesman Sean Spicer was asked about why the new president had not rescinded DACA and DAPA, he answered, “‘First and foremost, the president’s been very, very clear that we need to direct agencies to focus on those who are in this country illegally and have a criminal record or pose a threat to the American people. That’s where the priorities are going to be and then we’re going to continue to work through the entire number of folks that are here illegally. But right now the clear focus is on that.” In other words, hang on and we’ll get to it.

Yesterday, Chris Wallace of Fox News asked White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus a similar question regarding Obama’s executive orders on amnesties. Priebus hinted at a long-term solution: “I think we’re going to work with House and Senate leadership as well to get a long-term solution on that issue.” Once again the answer was “wait.”

So, what’s happening here? Has that infamous Beltway water begun to so infect the Trump administration that they’re no longer concerned about the problem of illegal immigration? Not likely. For one thing, consider Trump’s speaking style, which is typically hyperbolic. The mainstream media lampoon him for this and therefore can’t take him seriously. However, the key to understanding Trump is listening to what he means while not getting hung up on the particulars of how he says it. Obviously, this is no simple task, nor is it an excuse to not hold him accountable for his campaign promises. Still, holding him to the “immediately” statement on timing a few days into his presidency and claiming he broke his promise fails to see the bigger picture.

Trump can’t do everything “immediately.” Various issues require priority of focus and logistical considerations as well as both public and private dealing, all of which are part of the way both businesses and politics function. Give him a little time before declaring that he has failed to keep a campaign promise.

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