We all know the argument for DACA – Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. President Obama signed this executive order to legalize the presence of “dreamers” – children of illegal immigrants – in America. Who could oppose this action? It is compassionate, sensitive, and kind. Still, President Trump is now rejecting DACA. And despite all you may have heard, Trump has no other choice. It’s really not even a close argument.
There are three reasons DACA has to go.
1. DACA is illegal.
The law is clear. Those who come into this nation illegally are to be deported. Yes, we need comprehensive immigration reform. Yes, it would be nice if everyone who wants to come into American can come on in. And yes, many well-intentioned saints support DACA. But this is a nation of laws. And the law is clear. President Obama did not pass a law legalizing “dreamers.” (The president can’t – more on that in a minute.) Obama passed an executive order. This is not the same thing as a law. While many disagree on the rightness of allowing illegals and children of illegals to stay in America, no one disagrees with the fact that Obama’s amnesty order was never voted into law. So, the question is this – if we ignore this law, what other laws can we ignore, just because we don’t like them? I mean, I happen to think the law against jaywalking on an empty street is senseless, and that it should be okay to remove the tag from my mattress. But that’s not what the law says.
2. Congress makes laws.
If President Obama had done it right – and Senator Marco Rubio stood ready to help – he might have gotten what he wanted . . . legally. Rubio was ready to draft legislation to do exactly what Mr. Obama wanted, but the thought of giving Republicans a “victory” on immigration was more than the president could stomach. So he passed an executive order, six months after saying publicly that he did not even have the authority to do so. This way he could say he was standing up to the mean Republicans – who might well have done what he wanted if he had followed precedent. One would think a Constitutional law professor – Barack Obama – would understand this sticky thing in our Constitution that says the Legislative Branch makes laws and the Executive Branch enforces laws. If we don’t like a law, or want a new law, the idea, our Fathers said, was to pass new laws, not make them up on the fly.
3. We need borders.
John Kerry spoke for all Democrats when he said, “We live in a world without borders.” I applaud his honesty. That is the case exactly. The case for DACA is that border laws should not be enforced, and therefore need not even be on the books. But every civilized nation has borders and they have border laws. If the left wants to change this, they are welcome to pass such legislation. It might say that once a person has been in America illegally for six months, six years, or 60 years, they are amnestied in. But it needs to say something. If the left wants to make the case for open borders, let them – legally. Let them pass legislation the President can sign.
Republicans have struck the right balance. They are not going to enforce the new law (which is really just the existing law as it has been for decades) for six months, giving Congress a chance to address it first. This allows for legislation to address the issues, as the Constitution dictates. And the Administration has signaled they are not going to deport any existing “dreamers,” but that the law must be enforced at some point. To them, that point is March 5, 2018 – six months from now.
DACA had to go. The other option is to give anarchy a whirl. Remember, an America that allows President Obama to make up a law by bypassing Congress and the Constitution must grant President Trump the same authority. But until we start electing kings instead of presidents, I suggest we had it right the first 232 years, and wrong the last eight.