Rep. Steve King: Trump should've repealed DACA on Day 1

Story highlights

  • "All he had to do was sign an executive order on the first day. That should've been done," King said.
  • "Knock it out and let's get on with life," he added.

(CNN)Republican Congressman Steve King said Wednesday that President Donald Trump should have repealed Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA), on his first day in office.

Enacted by President Barack Obama, DACA shields undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children from deportation and makes them eligible for driver's licenses and work permits. Trump pledged to repeal the program during his presidential campaign, but has not yet taken action on it.
King, who holds one of the most hardline stances on immigration of any Republican in the House, criticized the new presidential administration's inaction on the "Larry O'Connor Show" on WMAL Washington, DC, radio.
    "Listen, the President made a clear pledge," the Iowa congressman said. "This was actually going to be first day. But from the first day on, information is that they continue to issue DACA permits to US citizenship and immigration services. That's roughly 800 a day. All he had to do was sign an executive order on the first day. That should've been done. I timed him: He was signing executive orders, it was taking him 47 seconds per executive order a Saturday or two ago. I only want 47 seconds of the President's time. Knock it out and let's get on with life."
    Earlier in his answer, King said that he was "wary" of White House chief of staff Reince Priebus' views on immigration because of the position he took as chairman of the Republican National Committee. He cited the RNC's "autopsy" of Mitt Romney's 2012 loss and Priebus' subsequent support for immigration reform that would have given undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship.
    After saying he had a "good personal relationship" with Priebus, King said he thinks there are factions in the White House battling each other on immigration issues.
    "I've never heard Reince Priebus, let's say, discount or recant his position on the comprehensive immigration reform, to use their terms. I haven't heard Paul Ryan do that either," he said. "And so I have to believe they haven't changed their mind. So they're probably figuring out how do we work with and accommodate a President who has a mandate from the American people. So yes, I'm wary. And I'm aware that there seem to be two schools of thought that have emerged within the White House and that Donald Trump sees that as a dynamic opportunity to pit them against each other and see who can prevail. And that's been his management style for some time, I'm told. I see that and there's merit in it."
    King added that he believes the faction within the White House led by Priebus is holding up the repeal of DACA and Trump's other immigration promises.
    "I think the holdup is probably the debate going on in the White House between the two factions, the one that believes the autopsy report was accurate and the other one that believe in the rule of law, the Constitution, and the oath, the pledge, the oath also, but the pledge the President has made as the candidate. And I want to see it done and done soon because the problem is getting bigger every day," the congressman said.