On Tuesday morning, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the Trump administration’s decision to rescind the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals program. Sessions stated, “We are a people of compassion and we are a people of law. But there is nothing compassionate about the failure to enforce immigration laws.”
The DACA program, enacted in 2012 by President Obama, allows children who meet several guidelines to request deferred action for a period of two years, which can be renewed. DACA grants legal status to children of illegal immigrants. There are currently 800,000 people utilizing the program. It was put in place by Obama through an executive order, rendering it unconstitutional, as issues of immigration are to be passed through Congress.
Trump promised to end DACA during his campaign and it now following through. He has stated that he will allow a six month delay for Congress to enact a replacement for DACA.
The Political Response
Ultimately, ending DACA will reflect poorly on Trump and the Republican party. Many on the left have called Trump’s decision “heartless.” Politicians and public figures from both parties have spoken out against Trump’s decision, and protests have broken out across the country.
Andrew Cuomo, the governor of New York, tweeted the following:
New York will not demonize diversity.
We will not stand by as 42,000 NYers are deported.
If President Trump rescinds #DACA, we will sue.
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) September 4, 2017
Cuomo falsely equated adhering more strictly to immigration policy to demonizing diversity. However, this belief is very prevalent. His statement represents the feelings of many, whether justified or not.
Many reactions to Trump’s decision are immense exaggerations. Bernie Sanders stated that “Trump’s decision on DACA is the ugliest and most cruel decision ever made by a president of the U.S. in the modern history of this country.”
This decision is far from heartless. Those under the DACA program whose legal status expires before March 5th can still apply for renewal until October 5th.
Congress must act quickly in passing a replacement, as other institutions are already threatening to take action themselves.
Arizona State University released a statement Tuesday night regarding Trump’s announcement to end DACA. The university administration stated they will work toward creating a new, similar policy with the Arizona legislature. The ASU administration also stated they will continue to offer the DACA scholarship to “dreamers,” or children of illegal immigrants.
Being the child of someone who committed a crime by immigrating illegally is now a status worthy of a scholarship. However, children of parents who came here legally receive nothing. This logic is entirely backwards.
Finding A Permanent Solution
Senator Marco Rubio released a very accurate statement on the termination of DACA:
I have long supported accommodating those brought to this country illegally through no fault of their own. However, I have always felt that President Obama’s executive action was unconstitutional and that the right way to address the issue was through legislation. Congress now has less than six months to deal with the issue the right way, through the legislative process. It is important that the White House clearly outline what kind of legislation the president is willing to sign. We have no time to waste on ideas that do not have the votes to pass or that the president won’t sign.
Rubio is absolutely correct. DACA should be replaced, and the idea behind it should be upheld.
Children and hard-working Americans should not be punished for the illegal actions of their parents. However, the act must be passed constitutionally. Therefore, ending DACA and replacing it with a legislative alternative is the right move.
Congress must be diligent in crafting a new piece of legislation that will garner votes and support from the president. There is no time to waste.