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President Trump Says He Is Planning To Sign 'A Very Major Immigration Bill'


President Trump says he has something in the works for a group of young people known as DREAMers. These are people who were brought to the U.S. as children by undocumented parents. A program called DACA, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, allows them to work in the U.S. Trump had tried to cancel the program. Then last month, the Supreme Court said it could stay in place. Today there is some news on that. Trump told Telemundo News that he's finalizing some immigration measures that will include some protections for DACA.

NPR White House correspondent Franco Ordonez joins us now with more. Hey, Franco.

FRANCO ORDOÑEZ, BYLINE: Hey, Alisa. How are you?

CHANG: Good. So tell us a little more about what the president said.

ORDOÑEZ: Well, he's saying he'll unveil the plan in the next four weeks. It's not really clear whether it's an executive order or a legislative proposal, which he says he has the power to do.


PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: We're working out the legal complexities right now, but I'm going to be signing a very major immigration bill as an executive order, which Supreme Court now, because of the DACA decision, has given me the power to do that.

ORDOÑEZ: In the interview he focused on the fact that the Supreme Court says he has the power to make these kind of changes. But again, it's not at all clear what the details of this are.

CHANG: Well, then I guess I'm not sure what the answer to the next question is. What will this specifically mean for DACA then?

ORDOÑEZ: Yeah, exactly. We're still trying to figure out the specifics. He said DACA would be included, though, and he said people would be, quote, "very happy." He said it would give people a road to citizenship, but he also said that it would be a very big bill, including changes to the immigration system that he has sought to make before - based on merit rather than family ties. Again, a lot more questions need to be answered about whether he could even do this on his own without Congress.

And if I can, just want to throw one more - another question out there, and that's how this would fly with his base because I can tell you that they are already very concerned about this. R.J. Hauman, he's with FAIR - that's a group that wants to see less immigration - he said that any effort by Trump to try to do this unilaterally would basically be, quote, "Obama 2.0."

CHANG: Huh. So then why do you think this interview, this news, is happening now? Because, I mean, this is coming at the end of a week where the president has had a lot of events focused on the Latino community. I mean, what's your sense of why this is happening?

ORDOÑEZ: Well, I mean, the Trump campaign is making a strong play for Latino voters. He had an event in the Rose Garden where there was a very respectful tone between him and the Mexican president. There was another one focused on Hispanic economic prosperity and today a discussion with Venezuelan Americans in Miami. You know, he needs some Latino voters to support him to win. According to the Pew Research Center, nearly 70% of Latinos disapprove of Trump, and two-thirds say they support Joe Biden. Latinos, frankly, haven't forgotten his comments from 2016. You know, he launched his campaign calling Mexican immigrants rapists, and his administration has cracked down on undocumented immigrants from Latin America, separating migrant children from their family members. So it's really an uphill battle.

CHANG: So do you have any indication of when we might find out more about this?

ORDOÑEZ: Well, there's already a blizzard of questions being asked of the White House from reporters like myself. So we'll see. I mean, I should say that the White House is trying to change the momentum from what's really been a rough few weeks for President Trump. His poll numbers are sinking, and his chief of staff Mark Meadows has promised a series of executive orders. So we'll see what happens.

CHANG: All right, that is NPR White House correspondent Franco Ordonez. Thank you, Franco.

ORDOÑEZ: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Franco Ordoñez is a White House Correspondent for NPR's Washington Desk. Before he came to NPR in 2019, Ordoñez covered the White House for McClatchy. He has also written about diplomatic affairs, foreign policy and immigration, and has been a correspondent in Cuba, Colombia, Mexico and Haiti.