President Trump’s latest executive order on immigration has spurred yet another partisan debate on immigration reform. However in the whirlwind of this discussion, there is a vacuum of facts which has been replaced by angry rhetoric and shoddily crafted talking points. For many it is either an illegal, taxpayer swindling act of amnesty or a peak achievement of liberal Christian charity.
In reality Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and the president’s recent move regarding it, represents yet another failed attempt to seriously address immigration reform. In this piece, we here at Cafe Con Leche Republicans hope to set some myths straight and offer a way out of this morass.
For those expecting just pot shots at the GOP, you forget that Obama basically kicked the can down the road, all but ensuring that there would be some kind of executive roll back. Immigrants and Latinos are routinely relegated to the bottom of the list when it comes to political prioritization.
MYTH: DACA was a great achievement of the Obama administration.
FACT: Obama routinely punted the issue, playing a hand in creating this current crisis.
Even if one were to set aside the fact that, under the Obama administration, millions of undocumented immigrants were deported, it is hard to view Obama’s moves on immigration as anything else besides crass politics. After promising his voters an immigration bill in his first term, Obama and his congressional allies took no action, even after they had control of both chambers of Congress and the presidency. Even how they crafted DACA set up young immigrants for deportation as the federal government now has the personal information of hundreds of thousands of recipients. The former president’s record on this issue is abysmally cynical and he, like Congress and President Trump, bears some responsibility for the issues we now face.
Lastly, there’s a way forward for Trump that would definitely be a win for his administration:
The president can “repeal and replace” DACA by encouraging Congress to pass a form of the DREAM Act, which he will sign. A reformed DREAM Act would solve any constitutional issues by coming from Congress, protect local markets from unnecessary dislocations and avoid any monstrous acts of unfairness.
Passing a form of relief for those brought here as children, perhaps with some concessions for increased funding for border security, would be proof that the White House can, in fact, break through a legislative impasse and broker deals to solve the immigration crisis.
We’ll see what he does tomorrow and how Congress responds. Optimistically, they pass a reformed DREAM Act that grandfathers in DACA recipients, which is a good start to piecemeal immigration reform. Cynically, I say they’ll kick the can down the road, the six month window will disappear, Democrats win the House, nothing gets done while Trump is in office and hundreds of thousands get their lives ruined because Washington can’t fix anything. Like I said, we’ll see.