WASHINGTON (AP) — House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi urged President Donald Trump Thursday to tweet reassurances to the immigrants who benefit from a program his administration is ending. And the president obliged, in the latest instance of Trump doing the bidding of leaders of the opposition.
The president tweeted, "For all of those (DACA) that are concerned about your status during the 6 month period, you have nothing to worry about - No action!"
He was referring to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which President Barack Obama created through administrative action in 2012. Trump on Tuesday ordered an end to the program but gave Congress six months to act on it.
Notwithstanding his tweet, the nearly 800,000 immigrants who obtained temporary work permits and deportation protections via DACA cannot necessarily rest easy. Any of them whose protections expire within the next six months have until early October to reapply, and others face an uncertain future.
It's not clear whether Congress will actually be able to solve the problem in six months, or what Trump will do if lawmakers don't act.
Pelosi told reporters at her weekly news conference that Trump has indicated his support and willingness to sign into law the Dream Act, legislation that would give a path to legalization to the immigrants brought to the country as children.
"We made it very clear in the course of the conversation that the priority was to pass the Dream Act, that we wanted to do it, obviously it has to be bipartisan, the president said he supports that, he would sign it, but we have to get it passed, and that's a high priority," Pelosi said.
In response, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said only that Trump "is focused on responsible immigration reform and wants to work with both sides to achieve it."
Shortly after Trump's tweet appeared Thursday morning, Pelosi told fellow Democrats at a closed-door meeting that she had spoken with the president and asked him to send it, in order to make clear to the so-called "Dreamers" that they wouldn't be subject to deportation during the six-month window.
At her news conference, Pelosi told reporters, "I was reporting to my colleagues, I said, 'This is what I asked the president to do and boom, boom, the tweet appeared.'"
The development came just a day after Trump ignored the recommendations of GOP House and Senate leaders and sided with Democrats Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York in favor of a three-month extension of the government's borrowing limit. Republicans had wanted a much longer extension to protect conservative lawmakers from having to cast the politically toxic vote again before next year's midterm elections.
On immigration, Trump is navigating politically tricky waters. Some of his Republican voters want a hard line on illegal immigration. Yet others in his administration and a majority of Americans support protected status for children brought to the country illegally by their parents.
Associated Press writers Catherine Lucey and Andrew Taylor contributed to this report.