SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGER
Those are the words my mother has always told me, and they apply to pretty much anything, including immigration policy.
During the 2016 presidential campaign, then-candidate Donald Trump promised that he would reverse what he considered “illegal” executive orders that had been put in place by President Obama. Among these was the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy, or DACA. Last month, Trump followed through on his promise and rescinded DACA while extending a six-month grace period for young people already enrolled in the program.
Trump’s action has been met with harsh and heavy criticism by most liberals, as well as from some conservatives. Here at Franciscan University, the support that many students have for DACA comes not so much from political tendencies as it does from the natural Catholic calling to have mercy on those less fortunate.
This mission of mercy is indeed honorable, and I would strongly agree that as Catholics, we have a great responsibility to help out immigrants, especially those that arrived as children. But the problem here is that supporting the president’s action on DACA does not contradict that mission. Instead, President Trump is resolving the issue the way my mom would want him to: the right way.
Plain and simple, DACA was an unconstitutional executive order.
President Obama issued DACA in 2012 after he failed to get Congress to pass the DREAM Act, which would have created a way to legal status for illegal immigrants that arrived as children. Instead, he circumvented the inconvenience he found Congress to be by putting forth DACA and directed the Department of Homeland Security to defer the deportation of illegal immigrants by two years if they arrived in the United States while under the age of 16, were currently enrolled in school or met other criteria.
Executive orders are not supposed to create new laws – that’s the responsibility of Congress – but that’s what Obama tried to create with this action. This wasn’t the only time he did this, but I digress. He had no right to do Congress’s job for them, even if he was unhappy with the results. Checks and balances exist for this exact reason.
See, the problem with DACA isn’t that the United States government shouldn’t help illegal immigrants, because the government and the American people have every responsibility to help within reason. Rather, the problem was the way the previous administration went about it, manipulating executive privilege in order to reach their end goal.
On the other hand, President Trump is trying to help those immigrants affected by DACA while also trying to rectify this constitutional disaster. What many people fail to realize before reacting to his decision is that Trump did, in fact, extend a six-month grace period to allow people to renew. He could have just cut off the program immediately, but he didn’t, so anyone that claims that Trump is “persecuting” DACA beneficiaries with this extension should reconsider their stance.
President Trump has made it clear that the ball is now in Congress’s court and is letting Congress do its job just the way he should. Too often, hate and rhetoric have been slung at young people that are part of DACA, and the fact that it was delivered as an executive action only increases this animosity. But when Congress passes legislation that can help illegal immigrants in good standing, there won’t be any wiggle room that allows for people to question the legitimacy of the law.
I don’t agree with the president on every issue and I don’t agree with many of his actions, but I agree with this one. President Trump isn’t serving just his base here, he’s serving the entire country. The best way for someone seeking legal status or citizenship is to reach it by legal means.
DACA enrollees are leading off third base with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. Now Congress is pinch-hitting for President Trump, and it’s their job to bring those enrollees home, just the way it should be: the right way.