The Trump administration has officially announced its plan to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program – which provides a level of amnesty to certain undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children – with a six-month delay for current recipients. As a career Real Estate Developer President Trump understands leverage. In one shrewd move, he has challenged Congress into crafting serious comprehensive immigration reform. While the left loses their collective minds claiming Trump is insensitive, racist, lacks compassion or whatever the talking point du jour requires, this is not about Trump, it is about Congress and the integrity of the Constitution. It is about putting legal balance back into the system.
President Obama stated dozens of times that he did not have the authority to created immigration reform. After all, the President is not a lawmaker. Congress makes the laws. The President oversees the proper enforcement of the law as it exists. These are the powers delegated by our Constitution. That did not stop Obama from eventually enacting DACA, a law that alters the deportation of children of illegal immigrants.
DACA is a clever end run around congressional authority and on its face is essentially unconstitutional. It also creates imbalance and confusion that has made consistent enforcement on immigration law difficult for those on the ground. The emotional responses to such legislative overreach have created such movements as sanctuary cities. It reinforces the view that laws are only important insomuch as they agree with the specific ideology. Otherwise, they may be ignored. This is one step away from anarchy.
Trump has spoken publicly about his considerations of the law expressing his tender feelings about those affected. And his response is both considerate and savvy. While delaying the repeal for six months, Trump has served a lob shot across the net to Congress with a mandate to do their job. And it is has been the responsibility of Congress all along to address this issue, which they have consistently failed to do. Obama’s Executive Order stands as a thorn in the side of our legal system, an open sore to the proper constitutional procedure. While the press roasts Trump over this decision, he is really pointing the finger where it needs to be pointed – at Congress.
In the White House press conference, Sarah Huckabee Sanders repeated several times the basic statement (paraphrasing) “It is Congress’ job to create appropriate immigration legislation; if they cannot come up with the proper solution perhaps it is time to elect someone who can”. President Trump’s motivation is clear, get Congress to start doing their job or expose them to their constituents as the real impediments to solving problems. He has set the perfect scenario to force them into action. If mayhem ensues on this decision, Trump should not be blamed. He is clearing the books of an illegal act, requesting proper law be debated and put into place by those responsible.
And Trump could not have picked a more emotional topic upon which to deliver such an ultimatum to Congress. Immigration is a controversial topic that directly impacts the lives of real people. It is often not the fault of dreamer children that they are caught in our country illegally. A confusing and poorly enforced system in years past has enticed many to cross our borders illegally, rolling the dice on a positive outcome. It is a topic that has long needed to be addressed in a rational and reliably enforceable way, and to date we have fallen short in our duties to be consistent and fair. How do we balance the wants of so many wanting to come to America and share in the American dream with a rational system and pathway to citizenship and assimilation? It is simply an issue that can no longer be ignored and Trump knows it. Now our congressional leaders will have to own the issue as well. Inaction is no longer an option.
We need to keep in mind that Congress as a whole has had approval ratings dipping occasionally into the single digits. Yet the same old faces keep getting re-elected. How can those two conflicting realities coexist? The answer seems to be that the majority of constituents, that would be we the people, are either too disinterested or busy to pay attention to what our elected representatives actually do with their time and their essential political stewardships. Trump has issued a wakeup call that must be felt and heard nationwide. One can only hope the issue is framed properly on the national stage and not brutally propagandized by the press.
Forget the rhetoric surrounding this issue. Turn a deaf ear to praise or criticism. Take a close, hard look at what our Congress will actually DO in the ensuing months ahead. That should tell us all whether their collective political heads deserve the noose or a shot at actually getting some other legislative wishes of the people accomplished. Health care, tax reform, and immigration are the big three that got Trump elected. He has been unduly thwarted so far on the first two issues, but he has the upper hand on immigration with this bold move.
As usual, President Trump has given us political theater at its best. But he has cleverly shifted the focus away from himself and onto the larger contingent of actors on the stage, our elected representatives. Trump is using the issue as leverage to spur Congress into action. It is time for them to put inflammatory oratory, false accusations, and special interest influences aside and figure out how to do the right thing for America, to protect all current Americans while giving consideration to those who would truly aspire to be Americans.