President Donald Trump is expected to announce a decision Tuesday on the future of former President Barack Obama’s DACA program. DACA is the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals initiative that shields illegal immigrants, temporarily, from deportation if they were brought to the United States as minors.
Under the program, these children of illegal immigrants get a renewable work permit for an initial two-year period. The president’s decision – whatever it turns out to be – will never satisfy everyone and is only one, small part of resolving America’s immigration policy headache. Latest reports suggest that Trump will end the program, but not with immediate effect.
In reality, the DACA program has no legal standing; there was no bill passed by Congress and there was no Executive Order. Obama was aware that neither an EO nor a bill would stand up to legal challenge. Trump’s predecessor cited a lack of action by Congress, for his decision to instruct the Department of Homeland Security to defer deportation for the so-called ‘Dreamers.’ Open-borders and (illegal) immigrants’ rights activists have proclaimed, for years, that America’s immigration system is broken. In fact, it is broken only as a result of weak border security and a failure to enforce existing immigration laws.
NO EASY FIX FOR DACA
Trump’s authority to end DACA is unassailable, but the nation, the political establishment and even the president himself is torn on the issue. Despite his campaign pledge to end the program, Trump has, by his own admission, struggled with the issue.
DACA is a very, very difficult subject for me, I will tell you. To me, it’s one of the most difficult subjects I have because you have these incredible kids.
As of March, more than 880,000 individuals have been approved for temporary legal status under the program, according to figures from the Customs and Immigration Service. What happens to those people – in addition to those who have applied and await approval – when, and if, DACA ends is unclear. The White House cautions that nothing is set in stone until Tuesday’s announcement, according to a Politico report.
RYAN OPPOSES THE REPEAL
House Speaker Paul Ryan has been informed that the program will be scrapped, Politico says. Ryan has already stated that he favors a legislative solution to the issue and is opposed to the elimination of DACA. Since the program is not based upon congressional legislation or existing federal law, however, it would seem that terminating the program would be a prerequisite of any legislative fix. Keeping DACA in place and having Congress pass additional legislation would appear to do nothing but muddy the immigration waters further.
Whether or not one views the Dreamers as criminals or innocent victims of their parents’ decisions, their presence in the United States is a fait accompli. How to deal with them humanely, without being seen as allowing them special treatment and without creating an open-ended free pass for future illegal immigrants will be an intricate challenge.