President Donald Trump’s decision to end legal protection for 800,000 immigrant children “contradicts” the assurances he gave top Democrats and it will “come back to haunt” the President, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Wednesday.
Emanuel was one of those leading Democrats.
During a December meeting with the president-elect at Trump Tower in Manhattan that focused on the Deferred Actions for Childhood Arrivals program, Emanuel said Trump assured him that Dreamers would continue to be protected.
“When you look at somebody and say what your views are and what your position will be and then you take an action that is in total contradiction to what you’ve told — not one, not two, but multiple people, it has an impact. Not just on that topic but topics beyond,” the mayor said, pounding his lectern for emphasis.
“If you’re gonna have a working relationship with people you disagree with, differences cannot cross into being difficult and distrusted. And that’s gonna be something … [that] will come back to haunt the president. And don’t think for a second—especially since your word is your bond—that your allies, your friends and your foes [won’t also] see whether your word counts.”
Emanuel served as former President Barack Obama’s first White House chief of staff. He normally makes it a point not to reveal the contents of private conversations, particularly those with U.S. presidents.
But the mayor made an exception for the Trump Tower meeting where Emanuel delivered a letter from more than a dozen big city mayors urging Trump not to deport 800,000 young people, more than 42,000 of whom live in Illinois, brought to the U.S. illegaly through no fault of their own.
“Without saying what the President said — because I will not do that — the action yesterday is not consistent with what he said when he was president-elect and we met in New York,” the mayor said.
“It is also not consistent with what now-chief-of-staff [John] Kelly said as the secretary of [the Department of] Homeland Security when we met upstairs in my office when he was here in Chicago.”
Emanuel said he told his old friend Gov. Bruce Rauner a long time ago that “one of the most important things you have” in government and politics is trust. That advice “was not always heeded,” the mayor said.
That’s a lesson Trump is about to learn after giving similar assurances about preserving DACA and protecting Dreamers to now-former President Barack Obama and to U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-Il.), Emanuel said.
Trump has put Congress on the clock to extend legal protections to Dreamers within six months. If not, the program will end while the President “re-visits” the issue.
In Chicago, the meter is not running. Nor will the protections and benefits extended to Dreamers run out, the mayor said.
“What I’m saying as it relates to the Chicago Star Scholarship, summer jobs, access to becoming [city] interns and also the security of our schools and the policy that ICE will not go to our schools and around is not gonna uphold just between now and March 18 of 2018. It will go beyond that. I am being very clear about that,” the mayor said.