DACA debacle could be a good thing, if ...
President Donald Trump has taken his lumps for dumping the fate of “Dreamers” back into the hands of Congress, but revoking the Obama-era government program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) may finally clean up a legitimate problem.
Even Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California said recently that DACA is “on shaky legal ground… That’s why we need to pass a law and we should do it.”
The Obama administration created DACA five years ago to give those youngsters who were brought to the United States illegally by their parents a temporary reprieve from deportation.
It was a stop-gap measure Obama implemented when Congress failed to enact a legislative solution, but hardliners criticized it as presidential overreach. Trump and Republicans called it unconstitutional.
On that score, we agree that Obama abused executive power. As inelegantly he handled the rescission, Trump is right to argue that this issue is much more appropriately the province of Congress.
Trump has given Congress six months to pass a law replacing DACA, but didn’t make clear whether he supports legislation reauthorizing the program.
Almost immediately, Colorado’s U.S. senators, Democrat Michael Bennet and Republican Cory Gardner, co-sponsored a bipartisan bill, the DREAM Act, that would shield Dreamers from deportation and give them a pathway to citizenship.
This wasn’t unexpected from Bennet, who helped write a comprehensive immigration bill in 2013 that passed the Senate but failed to advance in the House. But for Gardner, it’s part of an evolution of his views on immigration. At one time he supported a failed bid to block DACA. Now he’s trying to preserve the protections it offered.
“Children who came to this country without documentation, through no fault of their own, must have the opportunity to remain here lawfully,” Gardner said in a statement announcing his support for the DREAM Act.
The DREAM Act would allow immigrants who came to the U.S. before they were 18 to qualify for legal residence and, eventually, citizenship if they meet certain conditions. Among them, graduating from high school and having no felony record.
Gardner’s support should help other conservative lawmakers see the benefits of securing bright futures for young immigrants who generally work hard, pay taxes and stay out of trouble.
Whether it’s the DREAM Act or some other piece of legislation that gets the job done, Trump may have done the right thing by forcing Congress to act.
In the end, Congress pulling back power from the executive branch should be considered a positive development.