DACA: Don’t Buy the Hype, This Is A Story About Dysfunction

DISCLAIMER: This perspective is neither pro-immigration nor anti-immigration. It is neither pro-Trump nor anti-Trump. This perspective is written to point out the facts to what is actually taking place today. These facts are not the same as what the popular media is focusing upon.

 

Yesterday President Trump, through Attorney General Sessions, announced the rescinding of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). DACA was instituted in 2012 when former President Obama issued a protection for certain illegal immigrants who entered the country as minors. Around 800,000 immigrants are currently enrolled in the program and will be impacted by yesterday’s announcement.

While much of the popular media and even leading political voices of both parties have denounced the insensitivity of President Trump’s decision to rescind DACA this widespread outrage hides a broader reality which both President Obama’s and President Trump’s actions make plainly evident.

 

DACA was not passed by the Congress. It was not a law enacted by the legislative branch of the American government. It was an executive order issued by President Obama. The executive order was necessary because immigration was a polarizing issue that could not gain traction through the legislative branch of our government.

[READ THIS FOR PERSPECTIVES ON IMMIGRATION DEBATE FROM THE END OF HISTORY.]

Likewise, President Trump’s rescinding of this executive order does not create new law. It simply addresses the fact that after five years (half a decade) the temporary solution of DACA was never met by the US Congress with any serious discussion to address and resolve the nation’s needs for new and permanent immigration laws and reform.

 

Today, this very hour, Congress could pass a law and enact DACA as the law of the land and, outside of a veto from the President everything would stand secure for the 800,000 individuals enrolled in DACA. Why does Congress not do this especially sense there seems to be growing opposition to President Trump’s rescinding of the order among both parties? The answer is clear. The American Congress and system of government is broken.

 

This is not a story about immigration alone but the most recent demonstration of the dysfunction in the American government. This is what it looks like when dysfunction has grown to a point where action from either side of the political spectrum is neutralized into inaction. That is why more and more executive actions are issued in recent decades rather than real law.

President Obama kicked the can of much needed American immigration policy reform and laws down the road with a temporary solution called DACA. President Trump has ended that temporary solution and yet offered no proposal for substantive reform or legislation.

 

This dysfunctional American government, in the absence of legislating new laws and enacting real reform, is reduced to outrage and assigning blame. Today the 800,000 people enrolled in DACA have the most to lose due to this dysfunction.

Even while we discuss the fallout of the DACA announcement however other issues are rising to the headlines. In the coming days and weeks Congress must debate and determine once again whether they will raise the debt ceiling so that the US government can stay open. This debate will not be  about budgets, not about fiscal responsibility or necessary government investment but simply the option to delay these more substantive issues with temporary remedies for a government that is no longer functionally capable of addressing reality.

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