Opinion: Why Trump’s DACA move is a prerequisite for immigration fix

Stephen Crowley / The New York Times

Here is the price of governing by executive order: The next executive has the power to undo what you’ve done. And that is what the Trump administration is doing when it comes to deferred prosecution of some immigrants whose parents brought them to this country illegally as children.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions just announced that the program, called DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), “is being rescinded.” He said the Department of Homeland Security would be conducting an “orderly wind-down” of the program but offered no details as to what that process would look like. There are reports that the program will be extended by six months into March 2018, though there’s a lack of consensus among those reports as to whether, or for how long, those who are eligible but not enrolled can continue to apply in the meantime, or whether those in the program can apply for renewal. That’s a key question, as I’ll explain in a bit.

The move reverses an Obama administration policy of choosing not to prosecute this cohort, the so-called Dreamers, for being present in the United States illegally. President Obama enacted the policy unilaterally after failing to push a law through Congress that would have accomplished the same thing, only more permanently. He did so after previously acknowledging multiple times he didn’t have the power to change immigration law on his own, and subsequently bowing to pressure from his base to “do something” on the issue. (He later went even further, though federal courts struck down his extension of the policy.)

Democrats consistently looked the other way while Obama governed in this manner. Yet his assault on the separation of powers, from making recess appointments even as the Senate insisted it was not in recess to extending administratively such laws as the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act into spheres Congress never intended, was not just extralegal but myopic. For if Democrats were unconcerned before about the “how” of policy making, the presence of Donald Trump in the White House ought to make them reconsider. Still, their sudden fervor for “regular order” in the Senate, quite the hypocrisy after the way Harry Reid ruled that chamber, is undermined for their insistence that immigration law continue to be overridden by the executive branch — as long as it’s overridden in the direction they want.

For now, they’re simply trying to make the case Trump is acting against popular sentiment. And it’s true that opinion polls indicate amnesty for the Dreamers is popular across the political spectrum. But isn’t that the point? Not only should such a highly regarded policy be one that is enacted by law rather than executive whim, but by implementing it administratively Obama removed one potential element of a much-needed, broader update to our immigration laws. The fact people disagree about the other elements doesn’t weaken the case for holding off on dealing with the Dreamers until there’s a deal on everything else. It strengthens the case, because taking this sympathetic group out of limbo can be both a starting point for immigration reform and a source of public pressure to get it done.

It’s safe to say congressional Republicans didn’t trust Obama to agree to an immigration deal that would solve our problems without rendering them sellouts to their voting base. Democrats, who could filibuster any bill in the Senate, may feel the same way about Trump. But it’s also quite possible Trump sees that the Dreamers are key to a broader immigration fix and that putting them back in limbo could ratchet up the pressure on Congress to an unbearable level — even if he will be called mean and cruel and heartless and all sorts of other names in the meantime by those who simply oppose anything he does because he’s doing it.

Here’s where the details very likely matter. If the DACA program is truly being wound down, with those who are eligible no longer able to enroll and those who did enroll losing their status as their two years expire and in some cases being deported, the pressure on Congress to act will be enormous. But if it’s truly extended — with immigrants still able to apply for or renew their status under it — there’s a chance the pressure will instead fall on the administration to cave and offer another extension once March arrives. Either way, it’s clear who President Trump wants to feel the pressure:

Sessions is known as a restrictionist when it comes to immigration policy. But his statement to the press (he didn’t take questions) sounded more like someone who could countenance the DACA policy if it were done in the right way and passed by Congress. If that reflects the president’s position, Trump might be willing to give Republicans cover on enacting this limited form of amnesty in exchange for other policies such as a tougher approach to visa overstays, limits on legal immigration such as Sen. David Perdue’s RAISE Act, and of course the wall.

Somehow, this feels like the beginning of something rather than the end.

 

Reader Comments 0

144 comments
bonoyileh
bonoyileh

til I looked at the draft which was of $9482, I accept ...that...my sister woz like they say really bringing in money in their spare time on there computar.. there best friend had bean doing this 4 only twelve months and by now paid the morgage on there condo and purchased themselves a Citroën DS. go to, |":::::::::::::::|"":":":":":":":":":|":"|"|":|":|":

>>>>.www.2morepath.com

jhgm63
jhgm63

wonder if they can figure out how to do this doing reconciliation since compromise is a dirty word with the party of "No" ...

Caius
Caius

A bit of food for thought on the international front:

From Politico:

"Today, not only is Merkel, as the leader of the world’s fourth-largest economy, the most powerful woman on the planet, she’s also a bulwark of stability in a time of global turmoil. Merkel is often dubbed “the leader of the free world” in a dig at Donald Trump, an American president she has greeted with eye-rolls in person and firm rebukes on issues from climate change to refugees to neo-Nazis. And the label seems to fit: As populism rises in Western countries and the United States retreats from the world, it’s Merkel who is offering the steady, strong leadership that once emanated from Washington."

f22ev
f22ev

Kyle conveniently fails to mention that the majority leader of the House refused to even review the immigration reform packages approved by the Senate and President. Calculated evil lining the pockets of private prisons and nationwide politicians passing more and more laws criminalizing immigrants.

straker
straker

This Dreamer issue is one neither Trump or the Republican Congress want to deal with. So, as with Obamacare, they will posture, hem and haw, give speeches and act as though something is being done when, in fact, it is not. They are counting on a short attention span from their voters on this one.

McGarnagle
McGarnagle

@straker


Bingo. 


I sincerely doubt congress will come up with a plan in 6 months. They had 7 years to come up with a healthcare plan.


After everything's been said and done ...

Caius
Caius

Re RINO's in Washingon,DC today.


It would appear that the RINO in chief is the Commander in Chief.

Sen Flake is an example of a conservative who called out the President as being a RINO. 


Re The Swamp.  The swamp is created by the US Constitution. To get rid of the swamp one must amend the heck out of the Constitution.  Read the Constitution! The Constitution gives Domestic policy authority to Congress, not the Executive.

About 1/2 of the Trump cabinet are certified members of The Swamp. Adding to it does not make it smaller, just the opposite.


McGarnagle
McGarnagle

Question of day:


How many would object to allowing the millions of illegal immigrants that have made their home here for the past 20 years to stay. They can stay with whatever status you want to give them.


Eventually the fervent base will scream amnesty and call out the traitors. 


Rubber. Meet. Road. 

RafeHollister
RafeHollister

Head scratcher of the day.


We shouldn't hold these innocent dreamers accountable for the actions of their parents 25 years ago.


We should hold innocent white southerners accountable for the actions of their great great grandparents over 150 years ago.


But, but, but what? 

BuckeyeGa
BuckeyeGa

@RafeHollister  People walking around and waving the confederate flag probably doesn't help your analogy.

JFMcNamara
JFMcNamara

@RafeHollister No one holds innocent white Southerners accountable for 150 years ago.  We are holding you accountable for today.  


White Southerners put Jim Crow in place, and many of those people are still alive.  My mom went to a segregated school, my Dad couldnt get a job with his college degree where they instead gave the job to a white high school graduate.  A lot of those people who threw rocks and MLK are still alive.  


Don't pretend like the Southern whites today are benevolent enforcers of an equal society.

RafeHollister
RafeHollister

@JFMcNamara @RafeHollister True that, but it doesn't justify the animus toward the folks born after the Civil Rights Act of 1966, who would be over 50 years old.  Most all of those are also saddled with their heritage, which they absolutely had nothing to do with.  


Just pointing out the hypocrisy.

JFMcNamara
JFMcNamara

@RafeHollister @JFMcNamara Give me a break. You think society instantly changed in 1966?  That's nonsense.  It wasn't until the late 1980s when my family started getting anywhere near fair treatment.


A lot of the Republican party is the old Jim Crow Southerners who never accepted racial equality,  and they have passed that to their children.  It's not the past.  Its the present.  That's the 30% of Trumps base that agrees with him no matter what.  

Kathy
Kathy

The bottom line is that year after year we have two political parties that cant seem to solve any significant problems because they spend all their time fighting for power or campaigning. It would be great if they actually thought about what was in the best interest of citizens who pay their salaries.

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

@Kathy Trump campaigned on draining the swamp which has proved to be difficult. 

Trump's presidency has however exposed why we have majorities but congress still does not get anything done.

In a word - RINO's.

The fix?

Primary them.

Flake's neck is on the chopping block.

If we are lucky McCain won't be back and the repub governor will appoint a Con.

The end game is in sight, we just have to stay the course. 

JFMcNamara
JFMcNamara

@Kathy This was "solved".  It was just made "unsolved".  The policy is in line with the polling, and hardly anyone thinks its an important issue.  There was no real reason to touch it when tax reform, healthcare, budget, and debt ceiling need to be done.

RafeHollister
RafeHollister

@JFMcNamara @Kathy You ignore the fact it couldn't stand, as 10 states would begin suing today to have it declared unconstitutional.  They gave Trump a deadline of 5 Sep. Then these DACA people would be immediately subject to immigration laws.

JFMcNamara
JFMcNamara

@RafeHollister @JFMcNamara @Kathy It's not unconstitutional.   


Rules enforcement is under the executive branch.  Trump has chosen not to enforce federal marijuana laws, not to enforce antritrust, and not to enforce people out of compliance with Obamacare.  How is that different than Obama not enforcing penalties against DACA recipients. 


The courts likely would have upheld DACA.  Trump just didn't  want it.

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

@JFMcNamara @RafeHollister @Kathy 

Just about every constitutional lawyer in the country said DACA couldn't withstand a legal challenge. DACA belongs as a legislative issue in congress. Get over yourself. 

RoadScholar
RoadScholar

@JohnnyReb @Kathy "Trump campaigned on draining the swamp which has proved to be difficult. "

Esp since he has "built" one at the White House.

Eye wonder
Eye wonder

@Kathy

Meh. One party is only interested in drowning government in a bathtub.  The other party wants to get stuff done (and did when it had the numbers and the pen).

Eye wonder
Eye wonder

@JohnnyReb @Kathy

You're frikkin hilarious, Lil J. The only thing President Lyingscumbag has done to the swamp is make it exponentially swampier. That's what scum does.

JFMcNamara
JFMcNamara

@SGTGrit @JFMcNamara @RafeHollister @Kathy It has only withstood multiple legal challenges so far...Just because Breitbart says it, doesn't make it true. in a lot of cases, its a flat out lie.


"Prosecutorial discretion exists because the government has limited resources and lacks the ability to enforce the law against the entire undocumented population. Recognizing this resource limitation, Congress has charged the Secretary of [the Department of Homeland Security] with ‘establishing national immigration enforcement policies and priorities.’ "

Caius
Caius

@SGTGrit @JFMcNamara @RafeHollister @Kathy Unconstitutional or not, President Trump has chosen to allow DACA to remain in place for 6 months.  And then he added that he may revisit the issue in 6 months if Congress does not act.

bu22
bu22

@Eye wonder @Kathy  Remind me of when Obama got Congress to do immigration reform while he had a filibuster proof majority in the Senate and 250 seats in the House.  The fact that they did nothing tells you all you need to know about how much they really care about this issue and a half dozen others they are making big deals about now.

Lil_Barry_Bailout
Lil_Barry_Bailout

"Why not punt this until next year?"

Well, as the LWNJs like to say, justice delayed is justice denied.

skruorangeclown
skruorangeclown

Maybe someday Congress and the courts will overturn citizenship at birth which our esteemed president said he would repeal. Instead Bozo deports the undocumented parent and leaves the anchor babies here with the mother or father creating a burden on the taxpayers.

Lil_Barry_Bailout
Lil_Barry_Bailout

Nice straw man.

No parent is going to leave their child behind. That's just idiotic, but then we are talking about Dems.

breckenridge
breckenridge

The republican party should get out there and do a bit of sampling, find out what millennial generation is looking for in immigration reform.  Because the millennials are rapidly becoming the largest voting bloc, and in fact millennials, combined wiht generation x-ers, now outnumber boomers in terms of eligible voters.

bu22
bu22

@breckenridge  Government by poll is what the Democrats do.  They also ran their presidential campaign by poll.  Didn't serve them too well.  Most people do gain wisdom as they get older, so basing policy solely on what younger people want is not a good idea.

breckenridge
breckenridge

September 5 -  Right-wing pastor Rick Joyner joined televangelist and End Times prepper pastor Jim Bakker on his television program yesterday, where they declared that Hurricane Harvey was God’s judgment on the city of Houston and used the devastation wrought by the storm to promote Bakker’s line of survival products.

Joyner asserted that the storm had nothing to do with climate change because “the real issue with the weather and everything else on the earth has to do with sin and wickedness.”

“The whole earth will cry out because of the shedding of innocent blood,” he said. “That’s what throws nature off more than dumping CO2 or anything.”

That prompted Bakker to declare that he felt that “this flood is from God, it’s a judgment on America,” and Joyner agreed, noting that “these kinds of things don’t happen by accident.”

Joyner said that Key West, Florida, had been hit by a hurricane “on the day they’re supposed to have the Day of Decadence parade” and another hurricane hit New Orleans right before it hosted another Day of Decadence festival.

“Coincidence? I don’t think so,” he said. “We have to stand up against the perversion of our times and call it what it is.”

Bakker agreed, saying that the former mayor of Houston “ordered all the preachers to turn in their sermons before they preached them. Just remember, God gets the last word. God gets the last word. Be not deceived, God is not mocked.”

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Sigh......one would hope that by now, 2017, we would have moved beyond such blatant stupidity.  But obviously not.

Covfefe22
Covfefe22

I'm just here for the requisite ButObama-ing.

breckenridge
breckenridge

Johnny Reb a couple of questions not related to the topic.......


1. Any idea what happened to Andy? Spontaneous combustion?


2. Peegate?

MarkVV
MarkVV

Supporters of Trump and Republicans here appear incapable of separating the moral issue of the “Dreamers” from the issue of Obama’s action. (RafeHollister; “DACA right or wrong, that is an easy one.It is wrong because it is unconstitutional.”) As far as I know, neither Rafe nor anybody else here is a member of the Supreme Court, so their “legal opinion” about the constitutionality is not worth the price of the paper it is not written on. The Supreme Court has not ruled against DACA, only against the extension.

As Kyle has pointed out, “President Obama enacted the policy unilaterally after failing to push a law through Congress that would have accomplished the same thing, only more permanently.” You either believe DACA is morally right or not. But do not hide yourself behind the false cloak of “constitutionality.” If you believe those children should be thrown out of the country, admit it and you can blame Obama. But if you do not, those in the Congress who did not allow something like DACA to be passed as a law should bear the blame.

America1776
America1776

@MarkVV To say that the argument on DACA should come down to it's morally right is hogwash.If that is the case then let's apply that reasoning to abortion, which the last time I saw was considered morally wrong by more than 50% of the country. The only factual line I can see in your argument is the last one, Congress did not see fit to vote on legislation concerning the Dreamers. Considering the fact that Democrats controlled the White House and both houses of Congress in 2009 and 2010 I believe your outrage is misplaced.    

MarkVV
MarkVV

@America1776 @MarkVV Hogwash is your counterargument. I have nothing about applying "that reasoning" to abortion. If 50% of the country saw it as morally wrong, so be it. Nobody should force them to have abortion. 

RafeHollister
RafeHollister

@MarkVV The courts said DAPA was unconstitutional, so it doesn't take  Judge Mablean to figure out a similar EO is probably also unconstitutional.


Also Obama regime was the most overruled and castigated by the Supremes in the last 70 years.