Ivanka Trump Takes A Stand For Dreamers, & We'll Believe It When We See It

by Hannah Golden
Paul Morigi/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

On Monday, Oct. 9, the first daughter waded chest-deep into the immigration debate. Speaking at Fortune's Most Powerful Women Summit 2017 in Washington D.C., Ivanka Trump said Dreamers need a "long-term fix," though what this might entail was unclear. Her comments come after controversy in response to what her father's administration has said — and done — on immigration.

Speaking to an audience that reportedly included politicians and fashion designers alike, the panel's host asked Trump,

What role should the Dreamers be playing in a future workforce?

To this, Trump said that the status quo isn't working and underscored the threats that an executive action on the matter could be exposed to. She responded,

Well, you know, I think that this is a very complicated issue that needs a long-term Congressional fix. I personally am of the opinion — and the president has stated this — that we have to figure out a good solution that protects these innocent people, many of whom were brought to this country as children.
There has to be a long-term fix, and it cannot be bandaged over at a presidential level through another executive order that can be rescinded by a subsequent administration.

Trump continued, acknowledging the shortcomings of the current immigration program. She said,

Our system is flawed and it is not equipped to handle the challenges. Our Visa program is deeply flawed. We're not obtaining the best talent for the jobs that we need, and that has to be fundamentally reconsidered.

It wasn't immediately clear from these comments whether Trump was agreeing with her father or expressing her own views. It was clear, however, that Trump was sympathetic to Dreamers, something her father has been accused of failing to be.

Trump has also been slammed for her comments on immigrants simply by association. Her position on immigration policy, however, isn't something she often talks about, instead choosing to focus more of her political might on issues like women's rights and economic equality.

On Sept. 5, the younger Trump was taken to task over a tweet she wrote about an undocumented immigrant in the midst of her father's immigration decision.

Specifically, her comments Monday may prove problematic given President Donald Trump's recent decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, known as DACA. This Obama-era policy was designed to protect some 800,000 people who arrived in the U.S. as children, giving them a chance to work without fear of deportation. Recipients are known as "Dreamers." Since the door to rescind DACA was opened, protests have ensued nationwide, with many citizens, politicians, and activists calling for the program to stay in place.

Trump, in a conflicting after-the-fact message on Twitter, announced he'd allow Congress six months to figure out a way to protect Dreamers before his decision will go into effect.

The president has been working with leaders across the aisle, namely Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Representative Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), to reach a deal satisfactory to both parties. But Trump has some demands of his own to be met, including a border wall with Mexico, the White House announced on Sunday.

The Washington Post reported Monday that Democratic leaders were hinting at the threat of a governent shutdown in December in response to the negotiation. Members of Congress, per the Post, could withhold their votes on the budget as a bargaining chip if Dreamers are not prioritized.

So the president's daughter has got herself entangled in, as she says herself, an incredibly complex issue. It's one of a couple issues that Ivanka has undertaken this week, alongside child tax credits.

Politico reports that Trump is looking to expand tax credits for parents, which are designed to help offset the financial burden of families, that date back to the Clinton administration.

Whether either of Trump's statements or stances see significant forward motion in a tense and divided Congress is unclear, but as always, we'll be watching.