On Tuesday, President Trump said that he'd "love to see" a government shutdown at week's end if Democrats and Republicans fail to agree on immigration legislation. In an all-too-familiar scene, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was forced to address and retract that claim during a press briefing only a few hours later.
"We are not advocating for the shutdown," Sanders said after she was asked about her boss' remarks. She quickly pivoted to blaming the minority party in Congress: "[A shutdown would be] the fault of the Democrats not being willing to do their jobs."
"We are not advocating for the shutdown," Press Sec. Sanders tells @CeciliaVega. "That's the fault of the Democrats not being willing to do their jobs."
The president had said he'd "love to see a shutdown" over immigration disagreements this afternoon. https://t.co/i2nuv3RgCN pic.twitter.com/VOJkei6ozI
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) February 6, 2018
"The president wants a long-term deal and he wants to get a deal on immigration," Sanders insisted. Earlier on Tuesday, the president said as much, but warned a group of lawmakers and law enforcement officials that it was unlikely to happen: "You can say what you want," he said. "We're not getting support from the Democrats on this legislation."
On that claim, Trump is probably correct. Most Democrats are adamantly opposed to the immigration bill he has proposed, which would give DREAMers — undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children — a path to citizenship in exchange for funding the president's much desired but still unrealized border wall. Kelly O'Meara Morales
On Tuesday, a federal judge acted in a lawsuit filed by the Regents of the University of California and former Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, ordering the Trump administration to hand over documents related to its decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) immigration program.
In September, the Justice Department released a one-page opinion authored by Attorney General Jeff Sessions that claimed DACA was "unconstitutional" and "an open-ended circumvention of immigration laws." Acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke then rescinded the memo that created DACA in June 2012; the program allowed undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. illegally at a young age some legal protections. U.S. District Judge William Alsup ruled that if the Trump administration believed DACA was unconstitutional, the lawsuit's plaintiffs "are entitled to challenge whether this was a reasonable legal position and thus reasonable basis for rescission."
Alsup's order also demanded the administration provide all materials that were considered by White House Chief of Staff John Kelly when he released a memo in February, while he was still in his capacity as homeland security secretary, that kept DACA intact.
Over the past year, President Trump has given conflicting statements on his support for the DACA program. As recently as September, Trump had come to a bipartisan deal with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to protect the so-called DREAMers, but a recent phone call with Fox News host Sean Hannity reportedly pushed Trump to take a harder line on immigration enforcement. Kelly O'Meara Morales