President Donald Trump decided to needlessly complicate the lives of about 800,000 undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children, through no fault of their own, by ending Barack Obama’s Executive Order known as Deferred Action for Children Arrivals, or DACA. He did however set a 6 month sunset provision and called on Congress to act, an assertion we have completely rejected. Ending DACA was nothing more but a sop to the racist wing of his base and the Republican Party, like Iowa Congressman Steve King who believes Mexican immigrants have larger calves than most people because of all the drugs they are carrying across the border.
However, since Trump’s ego is far more important than any ideology (as ably explained here), Trump spurned his GOP over the failure to pass the Obamacare repeal and Hurricane Harvey aid and made a deal with Democrats, first on hurricane aid and the debt ceiling, and eventually on DACA. That announcement unleashed a torrent from Trump’s racist base, first from the aforementioned Steve King lost his marbles over it, then Anne Coulter, and then people started burning their MAGA hats. Sensing he may have miscalculated the level of racism his supporters harbor, or its intensity, Trump walked the deal back.
The one silver lining amidst the chaos Trump has created is that if Congress passes a bipartisan bill which would legalize DACA beneficiaries (often referred to as the DREAM Act), he has effectively boxed himself into signing it. If the Democrats held majorities in Congress, there would be no need for bipartisan solutions on this issue – Democrats could simply pass the DREAM Act. However, because we need majorities in both chambers, some Republicans would need to be brought on board. How would Democrats and Republicans be able to craft a bill on which they could vote yes? Let’s examine their priorities.
Republicans who are not on the Steve King side of the party acknowledge that DACA beneficiaries are fault free for being in the United States without valid immigration status. They were brought here as children by their parents or guardians, and by virtue of having been granted DACA, they had to prove they have committed no crimes and are either employed or in college. Even Trump acknowledged these simple facts in the following tweet:
Does anybody really want to throw out good, educated and accomplished young people who have jobs, some serving in the military? Really!…..
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 14, 2017
However, Republicans worry that if DACA beneficiaries were legalized, they would as US citizens be able to sponsor their family members for green cards, including the parents who brought them to the US illegally. Had Speaker John Boehnor back in 2013 allowed the Senate’s bipartisan immigration bill to a vote on the House floor, today we would have not only a Dream Act but a comprehensive solution on border security and the status of the other undocumented immigrants like the parents of Dreamers in the US. Sadly, a comprehensive solution must wait for more favorable political circumstances. Until then, why not pass the DREAM Act like Democrats want, also add a provision that any US citizens who received their status pursuant to DREAM Act are ineligible to sponsor “immediate relatives” (a legal term of art under the Immigration and Nationality Act for close family members) who have accrued unlawful presence in the United States?
That would be a very easy fix, and could likely sail through both chambers of Congress. It would also give Dreamers legal status, eventually US citizenship, and prevent their legalization from serving as a basis of what many Republicans term “chain migration.” Leave us a comment and let us know what you think of this idea.