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Supreme Court DACA decision a win for Trump

The Supreme Court’s decision last week on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is seen as a huge political loss for President Trump. It is anything but.

The high court’s decision allows immigrants who have received DACA status, sometimes referred to as “Dreamers,” to stay in the country safely without threat of deportation. But that protection remains temporary.   

The Supreme Court provided a Band-Aid that can be abruptly ripped off at any minute, exposing the fear, anxiety and danger these residents have had to live with for so long.

The court simply declared that Trump failed to end DACA in the correct manner, not that he couldn’t end it.  

“That failure was arbitrary and capricious in violation” of the Administrative Procedure Act, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote. That means Trump has the legal authority to end the program but that he had technically gone about doing it in the wrong way. The court gave Trump a road map to do it correctly next time around. And Trump seems intent on following it.  

At his sparsely attended campaign rally in Tulsa, Okla., on Saturday night, Trump told the truth about DACA. “People don’t understand, but we actually won on DACA yesterday,” he told rallygoers. “We actually won,because [the court] basically said, ‘You won, but you have to come back and redo it.’”

So we’re refiling it,” Trump continued. “Most people would say that we lost. We didn’t lose. We’re gonna refile it.”

Trump’s words were meant to buoy the spirits of his supporters, who have been disillusioned with a recent stream of Trump losses — at the Supreme Court, his continued mishandling of COVID-19, the John Bolton book revelations and his tumbling poll numbers

Trump’s assurance that he will continue to try to end DACA is a nod to his base, which wants to rid the country of all undocumented immigrants. 

But is it a politically smart move to make? Will Trump and his advisers immediately try again to deport more than 700,000 “Dreamers” so close to the election?

I think it would backfire. Die-hard Trump supporters would love it if he ended DACA, but he could lose less enthusiastic supporters and independents. An overwhelming majority of Americans — 74 percent, according to one poll — support letting the “Dreamers” stay and work, study or serve in the military legally. This includes 64 percent of Trump supporters. These numbers suggest “Dreamers” could be the glue of a coalition that brings together both sides to find a real solution.

That is what DACA recipients and this country deserve. The politically brilliant move for Trump would be immediately to offer legislation that would give “Dreamers” permanent legal status with a pathway to citizenship. But he won’t. He is too tied to his anti-immigrant base.

Instead, he will resort to xenophobic immigrant bashing in an attempt to maximize turnout among his voter base.

The Supreme Court’s DACA decision allows Trump to do just that. In that sense, it is a win for him, and a huge loss for the peace of mind of “Dreamers.” The only way to protect and honor “Dreamers” and the only country many of them have ever known and loved is to vote Donald Trump out of office in November.  

Maria Cardona is a longtime Democratic strategist and co-chair of the Democratic National Committee’s rules and bylaws committee for the party’s 2020 convention. She is a principal at Dewey Square Group, a Washington-based political consulting agency, and a CNN/CNN Español political commentator. Follow her on Twitter @MariaTCardona.

Tags 2020 presidential campaign DACA deferred action for childhood arrivals Donald Trump Illegal immigration to the United States John Bolton John Roberts U.S. Supreme Court

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