The President’s forthcoming decision, which appears to end the “DACA” program in six months, forces an issue that shouldn’t be an issue at all but is one because Congress failed to enact legislation when it had the chance seven years ago. So what does our nation do now ?
Hopefully, Congress enacts the provisions of President Obama’s Executive Order, or a close approximation, into law.
Thus the first question : what Is “DACA” ? I reprint this from the University of California’s website :
“Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is a kind of administrative relief from deportation. The purpose of DACA is to protect eligible immigrant youth who came to the United States when they were children from deportation. DACA gives young undocumented immigrants: 1) protection from deportation, and 2) a work permit. The program expires after two years, subject to renewal.”
It is said that the “DACA” rule affects 800,000 kids, but the actual number may be
much larger, as many eligibles probably decided not to “come out of the shadows.” The
President’s likely decision affects them, too.
The six month window presents Congress with time to do what it so far has failed to do :
enact the rule into law. It was one thing for Congress to defer when the Rule was fully in
place; nothing would go wrong meanwhile. Not so now. Plenty will go wrong if Congress
Why are we at this juncture ? Here’s my take :
The President is right that the DACA Rule should not rely on executive order, because
such purely administrative act and can be changed, or abandoned, depending on the
whim of whoever occupies the office of President. “DACA” kids deserve greater security
than that. Worse, the State of Texas contests the rule’s legality, and as it appears to make
law, which by Article 2 of the Constitution, the President cannot do, it is likely to be
overturned by Federal Courts.
We’re also here because the issue divides President Trump’s base. No politician wants
that, not even a miserable one like Mr. Trump. . Whereas his nativist/nationalist
supporters want all immigrants gone, his Evangelical supporters have never seen
immigration as a negative; indeed, as manyimmigrants from the south of us are
evangelicals themselves, many Evangelicalcongregations support their being in America.
In my opinion, it’s this factor that haspressured Mr. Trump to avoid saying Yes or No and
to give the issue to Congress.
Meanwhile, as many have pointed out, all “DACA” kids who entered the program freely
gave the Federal government all of their relevant personal information, assured by its
Rule that these could never be used against them. Very likely the Fifth Amendment to the
Constitution supports this outcome, but why should 800,000 “DACA” kids have to take
that chance ?
Lastly, the “DACA” kids enjoy overwhelming support from the voters, including a strong
majority of Republicans. Why shouldn’t they ? “DACA” kids were brought here as very
young children, not by their own decision. Why should they now have to suffer for
moves made for them by others ? Especially when their record as residents is exemplary,
“DACA” kids should have their residency in America legalized as fully as Congress can
agree to. The bare minimum would seem to be this : a path to citizenship within at
most ten additional years, and, in the menatime, continuation of their current status as
legal applicants for deferred deportation action on a two year basis.
Let’s do this. We must do it. We CAN do it. A nationwide, full-tilt lobbying effort, by
business above all, may be needed, and probably is needed, to overcome the objections
of anti-immigrant factions in Congress; and of course business would rather not have to
undertake such an extended pensive lobbying effort when it has so many other priorities
on offer, including tax reform. But I don’t think business has a choice. It successfully
deflected “bathroom bills” and all sorts of other discriminations against LGBT people. It
can and should do the same for “DACA” kids. Like the LGBT people who business
supports, “DACA” kids too are customers, employees, and more.
—- Mike Freedberg / Here and Sphere