DACA: Facts Behind the Rhetoric
There is little doubt that “Dreamers,” those covered by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals series of executive orders, are sympathetic figures. There is also the uncomfortable reality that those executive orders, initiated by President Obama in 2012, are also unconstitutional.
15 states and the District of Columbia are suing over President Trump’s cessation of DACA: New Mexico, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Washington.
However, attorney generals or governors of 9 states have pending suits over NOT ending it: Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, South Carolina, Texas, West Virginia,
Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) expressed the view that typifies the perspective of many in Congress:
“However well-intentioned DACA may have been, the program was created by executive edict rather than by Congress as the Constitution requires. Because of President Obama’s executive overreach, DACA has faced numerous legitimate legal challenges, and now President Trump has asked Congress to sort it out…Any legislative solution is going to have to be a compromise that addresses the status of those who have been unlawfully brought to this country and upholds the rule of law. President Trump should continue to work with Congress to pass reforms through the legislative process that encourage lawful immigration. In the meantime, I expect that the Administration’s immigration enforcement priorities will continue to target the thousands of criminals ahead of those who have otherwise abided by our laws.”
Senator Diane Feinstein, (D-Ca.) who represents the state with more Dreamers—223,000– than any other stated,
“Congressional action is now the only way to guarantee that DACA recipients are shielded from deportation, and it must be our top priority. The DREAM Act—introduced by Senators Graham and Durbin to provide a path to citizenship for DACA recipients—deserves a vote as soon as possible.”
Pew Research estimated that in 2012 about 1.7 milion people were eligible. As of June 2016, USCIS received 844,931 initial applications, 741,546 were approved, 60,269 were denied, 43,121 pending. Over half of those accepted came from California and Texas.
Immigration law is not done by presidential whim, it is a matter of legislation, passed by Congress and signed by the President. Title 8 of the U.S. Code is but one of the fifty titles and deals with “Aliens and Nationality”. 8 U.S. Code § 1325 – Improper entry by alien. In fact, in 2014, when Obama attempted to expand the program, many governors sued and an injunction against his move was passed.
Obama could have chosen the proper Constitutional route and have a bill introduced in Congress, but simply chose to act on his own. Remember, he famously stated that he “couldn’t wait” for Congress to act, and proclaimed that he “had a pen and a phone” and would willingly use them to get his way, despite the Constitution.
The number of illegals has soared in the United States from 3.5 million in 1990 to at least 11.3 million currently, and perhaps many, many more. Although cancelled by Trump, implementation of the cancellation has been delayed for 6 months to come up with a solution. The fact is, for far too long, both political parties have called for comprehensive immigration reform, but nothing has happened. This may be the way to do just that.
The costs of illegal immigration, not from the dreamers but overall, have been enormous. 6.9% of k-12 students have illegal immigrant parents. In an exclusive interview on the Vernuccio/Novak Report usagovpolicy.com, commentator Megan Barth discussed how DACA’s “Dreamers” can obtain some federal benefits. The Daily Caller outlines this: “ DACA allows recipients to apply for social security numbers, which are required to claim the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), a major tax benefit for lower-income earners. The program allows recipients to participate in Social Security and Medicare as well, but they generally cannot receive benefits until retirement age. Generally speaking, DACA recipients are still ineligible for many forms of public assistance. Nonetheless, the program does expand access to some federal benefits.”
The growth in criminal gangs such as MS-13 has plagued communities across the nation. 27% of all federal prisoners are immigrants.
Dick Morris outlines the President’s strategy: If the Democrats don’t work constructively with the GOP to produce a real piece of legislation, the deadline of an expiring DACA program will force them into line. Facing the possible deportation of 800,000 of their constituents because of Democratic intransigence, the party — from Schumer on down — will have to pull in its horns so as not to impale a divided Republican party. Instead, the entire Senate — all one hundred members — will have to work together with stellar bi-partisanship to craft a solution.
The Huffington Post reports that
“Lawmakers on Capitol Hill [have] broadly agreed that something should be done about young undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children and who will eventually lose deportation protections if Congress does not step in to help them.”
Originally published on the New York Analysis of Policy and Government.
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