The future of millions of people who were brought to America illegally as children over many years may be settled soon. Despite literally a lifetime in the United States, these people remain technically and factually illegal aliens.
We treat them differently than adults who, by their own choice entered the United States illegally, because they are different. First of all, it was not their choice to come here. They were brought by their parents or others. They were not the ones who violated the law. They are not the ones who might have illegally assumed fraudulent identities. They are not among those who chose to consume America’s welfare resources. By and large, they have been good guests – if not citizens.
Unlike their parents, the so-called Dreamers have little to no connection to their native land. Many have never even visited the “old country.” Many have lost their native language. They are completely Americanized.
Officially known as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) children, their presence in America has been an unresolved issue for generations. While most reports refer to them as “children,” many Dreamers are already passing through the middle ages.
While a very small minority of xenophobic people want them all deported, that is both heartless and stupid. The heartlessness is obvious, but it is stupid because America desperately needs more workers. To continue to grow the economy, we must increase legal immigration – not reduce it.
President Trump has committed his administration to normalize the Dreamers permanently. In many ways, he represents the best hope Dreamers have for a permanent favorable solution. To understand that, one needs to know the history.
Dreamers have spent their lives living under fear of deportation. President Reagan provided an amnesty at the time but could not get the Democrats to secure the border. Consequently, migrants from many foreign nations continued to bring their children to America – creating a new class of Dreamers. These are the folks we are dealing with today.
President Obama promised that the first order of his administration would be addressing the DACA issue – at the time his party controlled both houses of Congress. He failed to keep his commitment – and when the GOP took control of the House, the deadlock on how to resolve the issue continued. Basically, Republicans wanted to make securing the border a part of any DACA deal in order to avoid a further influx of illegal-status children. Democrats opposed stemming illegal entry. Thus, the gridlock.
Obama – once a professor of constitutional law at the University of Chicago – claimed that he did not have the constitutional power to resolve the issue by Executive Order (EO). For reasons that have never been fully explained, Obama rejected his own counsel and later signed a dubious EO providing Dreamers with a TEMPORARY reprieve from enforcement. That action was immediately challenged in the courts.
When Trump came into office, the case was working its way through the federal courts – a long process. He – like with the original Obama opinion – did not believe that he had the constitutional authority to issue a similar EO – and especially while the original was being examined by the courts.
While Obama only gave temporary protection, Trump wanted the Dreamers to be normalized permanently. That could ONLY be done by congressional legislation signed by the President.
Obama’s EO will finally be decided by the Supreme Court in the coming months – and it is believed that it will be considered unconstitutional – an abuse of presidential power. Any similar Trump EO would have also been nullified. Trump well understood that another EO would have only lasted until the federal courts decided the case. He wanted a permanent solution, and that put the ball back where it belongs – in the Congress.
In terms of the DACA issue, Trump has proven to be a constitutionalist – not a king, as opponents allege. By forcing Congress to do its job, Trump will produce a positive permanent resolution for the Dreamers. While there are various formulas to be debated, the bottom line is that the Dreamers will achieve permanent legal status. The most contested points will be when Dreamers might be eligible for citizenship – immediately or at some future date – and closing the border to prevent another cycle of the same problem.
Thanks to the federal courts – which hang over the DACA issue like the Sword of Damocles – it appears that a resolution will be found in the near future. And every Dreamer should be thankful to Trump for breaking the gridlock.
So, there ‘tis.