Last week, Donald Trump rescinded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, an Obama-era policy that gave short-term relief to about 800,000 residents who illegally entered the United States as children.
Nicknamed “Dreamers,” those young people temporarily protected by DACA are among the most widely supported groups of illegal immigrants in the country. According to most recent surveys, 75 percent to 80 percent of Americans approve of keeping them in the U.S., either via some sort of avenue to citizenship or under special government protection from deportation. After all, these are children who arrived here without really having a choice, have known no other home and have committed no crimes while in this country.
Still, there are immigration hardliners who won’t budge, and those 20 percent to 25 percent of Americans and their representatives have stopped any meaningful immigration reform from being enacted, even on a layup like the Dreamers.
For decades our national legislative bodies have failed in their duties. In order to protect their own hides from that vocal minority, members of those bodies have disregarded the will of a large majority of Americans. And in covering their own behinds, those congressmen are hanging Americans — and should-be Americans — out to dry.
This country has long needed comprehensive immigration reform, but Congress hasn’t got it done. This country has long needed massive infrastructure investment, but Congress hasn’t got it done. This country has long needed comprehensive tax reform, but don’t hold your breath.
This puts presidents in a poor position. Being a constitutional law scholar, Barack Obama admitted that his DACA program was on shaky legal ground from the beginning. He made no bones about that, but felt he had no other choice because Congress had abdicated its duties by doing nothing and leaving a critical problem festering and unresolved.
President Trump asserted last week that DACA was sure to be challenged in court — and it would likely fall. Perhaps he is right. But the announcement of his decision was nearly universally panned by congressmen both Republican and Democratic. Yet how hypocritical of them. They are the people who can solve this mess, yet they choose to criticize rather than create.
A wide majority of Americans want to protect Dreamers. Congress should do its job and create a reasonable, legal system for doing so. Then get on to the next problem on the list.