Obama said Friday he will “hold fast” to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, even as he expressed support for President Donald Trump’s controversial call for a “comprehensive” solution to the crisis.
In an interview with NBC News, Obama told “Meet the Press” that he is hopeful that the administration will soon come up with a plan that will protect the roughly 800,000 DACA recipients.
“I’m confident we will be able to do that,” Obama said, referring to a plan proposed by the White House.
“I’m not going to be able (to do) a full-throated political statement like they’ve done.
I’m not in the position to say what that should be.”
Trump on Friday said he would not be holding back, calling for a full DACA amnesty.
“If President Trump wants to keep DACA, he can do it,” Obama told NBC.
“And if President Trump doesn’t want to keep it, he’s not going be held accountable.”
The White House said Friday it was confident the DACA program will be fully reinstated.
Obama told the NBC show, “This is not going away.
And if there’s one thing that has been true in my presidency, it’s that we’re not going anywhere.”
But he added: “It’s not something that we can do alone.
There’s going to have to be bipartisan support, and if there is bipartisan support for what I’m proposing, I think it will pass.”
Obama’s comments came as Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi both issued statements saying they would work to keep the program alive.
“This is the worst deportation bill in history.
President Trump and congressional Republicans should not have made this law.
It’s time for the Senate and the House to pass a bipartisan immigration reform bill to end this nightmare,” Pelosi said in a statement.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who was part of the immigration reform effort, called Obama’s comments a “big mistake.”
“What I find troubling is that he’s making these comments, saying, ‘This is my position, I will hold fast to it,’ when he clearly stated this was not the case,” Graham said on MSNBC.
“He should have said he wouldn’t be holding fast to anything he says, but he has now.
He’s not acting like an American.”
The president has said repeatedly that he would sign legislation to extend DACA for at least six months if Congress fails to pass legislation.
He has also said he wants Congress to act quickly to enact legislation that would grant the protections to some 3 million immigrants brought to the U.S. as children and also allow them to stay.