Opinion: Six things you should know about DACA
On Tuesday, President Donald Trump’s administration announced his decision on the fate of President Barack Obama’s 2014 executive order on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program known as DACA.
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the program would end, but Trump had allowed for a six-month delay so Congress would have time to pass a law on the issue.
Whether DACA policies stay or go is not up to the president, it’s up to Congress. DACA has always been in the hands of Congress but they’ve punted the issue so they didn’t have to take one side or the other on the vote.
It’s typical of how Congress works: Pass the buck and then blame others for not getting done what they didn’t have the courage to do themselves.
Here are six things you need to know about Trump’s decision on DACA, how we got here and what will happen next.
DACA was an Obama campaign promise
Former President Barack Obama promised immigration reform — including DACA — during his presidential campaign in 2008. Obama won the presidency, along with Democratic majorities in both the House and the Senate.
Immigration reform and DACA could have passed without a single Republican vote. The Democrats never passed either.
DACA may be unconstitutional
In the United States, Congress passes laws and the president enforces them. In 2014, Obama signed an executive order changing immigration law, creating a new class of immigrants and invalidating laws already on the books without congressional approval.
This is unconstitutional.
Why Sept. 5?
Attorneys general from around the United States gave Trump a deadline of Sept. 5 — Tuesday — to repeal DACA. Had he failed to do so, they would have filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Obama’s executive order.
Had the president kept DACA in place, he would have been knowingly ignoring the Constitution and breaking his oath to honor it.
There are other options
In July of this year, bills were introduced in both the House and Senate. They both presented an immediate fix to DACA.
However, no priority was put on the bills and neither has come to the floor for a vote.
If Congress truly cared about Dreamers, they could have passed a law and sent it to the president to sign sometime during the past decade. Instead, they passed the buck and counted on the president to leave the unconstitutional DACA bandage in place.
It’s not as bad as it sounds
The president is not “ending DACA” and deciding to deport all Dreamers, as is the popular narrative in the media now. Trump has decided on a fair compromise to allow the proper process to take place.
The pressure is on Congress
The fate of Dreamers is up to Congress as it always has been.
Trump showed compassion by not killing the executive order immediately. In reality, he’s allowing an unconstitutional order to stand for 14 months — a time between his inauguration and February 2018 — even though many in his party and base feel it should have been reversed when he took office.
This compromise gives Congress six months to create a law to deal with the situation and gives Dreamers, and those who are passionate either way about the issue, time to contact their representatives and have their voices heard.
Focus your political passion where it needs to be focused: both parties of the House and the Senate. Had they done their job the past 10 years, we would not be having this discussion.
The only decision Trump was authorized to make about Dreamers is whether or not he will sign a bill that Congress presents to him.
If Congress doesn’t act within six months, this is 100 percent on them. If Congress passes clean DACA legislation and the president doesn’t sign it, then you can blame him.