DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), a program enacted unilaterally by Barack Obama after failing in Congress, twice, was rescinded by President Trump on September 5, 2017. To many, this move is described as throwing compassion out the window, however, the implications resulting from how this issue is handled by both the White House and Congress go far beyond the impact on those who would qualify for DACA.
While it is easy to point fingers and play the blame game, and it is a fact that had we been enforcing existing immigration laws and protecting our borders we would not be facing this issue on such a grand scale, the bottom line is we weren’t, we didn’t, and we are. This is where our nation finds itself and we must play the cards we have been dealt. President Trump’s approach, like it or not, was proper. Remember the whole separation of powers thing from middle school civics? Article I of the Constitution created the legislative branch of government giving Congress the authority and responsibility of enacting laws, Article II of the Constitution created the executive branch responsible for enforcing legislation as enacted by the legislative branch. Obama, with his pen and his phone, when Congress did not act as he wanted, went outside and around the concept of separation of powers when he enacted this policy in 2012. President Trump’s move of placing this matter back in the hands of Congress was the proper and lawful approach to attempting to bring resolution to this issue. It is my sincere hope, as much of a long shot as it may be, that Congress will act on immigration reform to include how those brought here by their parents as children will be handled, before President Trump feels the need to step in and do Congress’ job for them. It is time for this country and its government to return to the Constitution and stop acting in a manner in which they have no authority.
The DACA debate has implications as described above that go to the very core of our system of government, what it was created to be and the process by which it was created to function. There are additional implications where our national sovereignty is concerned. We cannot maintain a sovereign nation if we do not protect our borders and enforce our laws as written. Now that law enforcement is beginning to follow immigration laws and monitor our borders a little closer, the number of people DACA applies to should gradually reduce itself during the coming years; however, we must still decide the fate of those already here. Though I am far from a bleeding heart liberal, the idea of punishing those who were brought here as minors, in illegal acts by their parents over which they had no control, seems wrong on just about every level. If they have grown up in the United States, and have no criminal history, then their only crime is being here illegally, an act that was initiated without their consent.
The current DACA program requires those eligible to reapply every two years. While this may serve as a tracking system as well as a way to monitor for any illegal activity, it creates an expensive bureaucratic mess, not to mention the extreme inconvenience to program participants. Here’s a thought, how about we start strictly enforcing immigration at our borders and deporting all persons crossing the border illegally. This will eliminate the need for a program such as DACA in the future. Keeping in mind that I believe amnesty is rarely the answer as it only encourages people to enter the country illegally, I think we should completely rescind DACA, and provide a path to citizenship for those that would currently qualify for the program. Provide a six month window for applications for this process, then close it, permanently. Any persons who do not qualify for DACA or have not made application during this window should face deportation, and any and all persons crossing the border illegally from here on out will have no avenues for remaining in this country legally, and be banned from ever entering this country in the future.
While this may seem harsh, the safety of our nation and its citizens depends upon the security of our borders and knowing who is inside them.