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KRAVITZ’S KORNER | Trump Was Right To End DACA

DACA protest

President Donald Trump is in many ways the antithesis of former President Barack Obama. In the beginning months of his presidency, Trump has attempted to do away with many of Obama’s signature policies, including the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the Paris Climate Accord, and the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Trump’s recent decision to end DACA has come under fire for endangering childhood illegal immigrants. Much of this criticism, however, is misguided, since the termination of DACA restores the limiting of Constitutional powers while motivating Congress to pass robust immigration reform.

DACA was introduced by Obama after the Senate failed to pass the DREAM Act—legislation that would have provided a pathway to citizenship for alien minors. Acting out of dissatisfaction of the DREAM Act’s failure in Congress and his passion for the issue, Obama unilaterally enacted DACA in order to give illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. as children the chance to become lawful residents. DACA, in essence, accomplished by executive action what the Senate failed to pass with the DREAM Act. Although Obama stated in his initial DACA announcement speech that DACA was not a permanent solution to the illegal immigration issue, in November 2014 Obama announced his intention to expand DACA to make more illegal immigrants eligible for amnesty. In Obama’s view, the President had the right to impose laws when Congress could not pass legislation. This is a flagrant violation of executive powers expressed in the Constitution. Article I, Section 8, clause 4 of the Constitution grants Congress the power to “establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization”—not the President. The urgency and importance of the illegal immigration issue does not justify abrogating Constitutional powers.

On September 5, 2017, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the DACA program would be ending in six months. Shortly after this announcement, Donald Trump urged Congress over Twitter to produce a proper replacement for DACA and established that his goal is not to kick out Dreamers—but to protect them constitutionally.

In addition to reinstituting limited executive powers, the termination of DACA may actually prompt Congress to pass immigration reform. Trump is acting as a catalyst for Congressional lawmaking by threatening Congress with the deportation of thousands of immigrants—something very unpopular with the public. By repealing DACA, he is correctly insisting that Congress create a set of laws to deal with alien minors—which is more proper than unilateral executive action.

Trump’s strategy is paying dividends. Almost immediately following Sessions’ announcement, Trump crossed party lines and met with Democratic leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi to hash out plans for reintroducing DACA protections. Trump even tweeted in support of permanent residency for childhood illegal immigrants, citing that they are “good, educated and accomplished young people who have jobs, some serving in the military.” Trump’s statement, combined with fact that he was recently able to cut a deal with Democratic lawmakers to avoid a government shutdown, should give people confidence that Congress will get its act together and pass bipartisan immigration reform.

So far in the presidency, Trump has surrounded himself with firebrand conservatives. But with DACA, he’s now proving to be a transformational president willing to ditch party lines in favor of working across the aisle to achieve policy goals. According to the Harvard-Harris poll, 73 percent of voters want to see Democrats work with the president. Perhaps there’s hope that the partisan grip of Washington may be loosening up.

The problem with DACA wasn’t so much the content of the law but how it was introduced. Illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. as children should be given some form of amnesty, but this should be done legally. Obama felt that he could bypass Congress to enact laws he saw fit, when he should have worked with Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform. Trump is righting the wrongs of DACA by intending to protect the policy objectives while ensuring that the legislative process adheres to Constitutional rules. And, if all goes well, Trump’s handling of DACA might make Congress great again.


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  • Your point that Trump’s termination of DACA is part of an intentional forward minded agenda is clearly biased and one likely based on a superficial observation of his action.

    You’re right about one thing, he wants to undo everything Obama did. This is the only thing this president cares about. He doesn’t care about DACA recipients, congress, America or anything that might be relative. I would caution against crediting someone like him with nobel ambitions.

    He is a privileged Dotard who has managed to get through life without the benefit of some common sense life lessons. Trump is what you get when you are too wealthy to fail, and no one has the courage to tell you you’re a fool. This is privilege at its worst, no civility, no morality, no respect and no compassion for others.

    DACA might not offer those kids legal protections anymore but they’re not alone. Many of us care about them and recognize them as fellow Americans that love this country.

  • But Obama didn’t overstep Congress’ right to create naturalization laws by creating DACA. DACA can’t be used as a path to citizenship, thus, deferring removal from the U.S. is not within Congress’ exclusive jurisdiction.

  • On Oct 8, the Republicans sent a list of what they want in the DACA-fix legislation, including building the wall. I suspect that the group of people who came to the US at a very young age will continue to be used as a political pawn, just as they were used as a bargaining chip in the failed attempts to enact comprehensive immigration reform during the Obama Administration.

    The political climate in Washington is very polarized, and immigration reform has become a wedge issue. I now doubt that Congress will be able to act within 6 months, and we may end up on a set of month-by-month extensions until the 2020 elections approach.

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