The constitutional case to end DACA

in Columnist: Samuel Krueger by
The following is an opinion piece and does not necessarily reflect the views of The Clarion, its staff or the institution. If you would like to submit a response or an opinion piece of your own, please contact clarion@bethel.edu.

Although Barack Obama’s program began with good intentions, we must honor Congress and the Constitution.

By Samuel Krueger

Every summer after school I return to my job at the country club in my hometown. I like my job there because the schedule is flexible and I get to meet all sorts of new people. We like to joke that the kitchen doesn’t discriminate.

As I sat in the near the pool on a slow day, my friend George came over and we started talking. He told me the story of his arrival in the United States and how his situation is difficult. He isn’t a citizen, but he is able to stay. If he left the country, they wouldn’t let him back in.

What he described to me is the life of an immigrant who is living the U.S. without legal permission under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

Sept. 5 marked the beginning of the end for Barack Obama’s DACA program. That may be distressing for some, but I believe this may be the start of something better and most importantly, something constitutional and permanent.

So what is DACA? It is a program initiated by the Obama administration to protect immigrants whose parents came to the United States without legal permission.

While I believe illegal immigration degrades the dignity of those who came here legally, I believe many of these people are valuable to our country. So while many – if not most – of these people have protections outside of DACA, some do not. Their residence in the United States hinges on these next few weeks.

I, like many other Americans, agree that children should not be held accountable for the actions of their parents.

President Trump agrees, too. Shocking? Not really. This is Trump’s way of forcing congress to work together once and for all. Trump is smart. He knows how to win and he knows how to come out on top. What better way to unite the country than to have a bipartisan vote on a topic that has been red-hot for years?

Trump issued a statement Sept. 6, confirming my suspicions.

“In effect, I am not going to just cut DACA off, but rather provide a window for congress to finally act,” Trump said, “we will resolve the DACA issue with heart and compassion – but through the lawful democratic process.”

While sounding tough on immigration, both Trump and Attorney General Sessions believe Congress will act to provide legislation that will make these protections permanent. In other words, DACA will carry on in the form of a law passed by congress rather than an administrative program. Congress will be forced to act on this issue, and draft the bill that contains those protections.

Both sides of Congress are desperate for a major victory and if Trump can force them to get along it will be seen as a win for his administration.  

As a believer in the Constitution, I believe that DACA should end.

The President is given certain powers over immigration into the United States, which makes it hypocritical for democrats to berate Trump for issuing a travel ban and yet praise Obama for granting these privileges for people affected by DACA. One could argue that these immigrants are refugees. That still means that DACA was an overreach of executive power. The Immigration and Nationality Act states that the President must consult with Congress before making any decision about refugee admittance.

I applaud Trump for continuing to lessen the power of an executive branch that has grown out of control over the last several decades. I also believe that Congress and the American people are reasonable enough to extend these protections in a way that honors the constitution.

Ending DACA is not just the most practical thing to do, it is the most constitutional thing to do.

So before anyone has a heart attack or starts crying “racist,” and the Huffington Post already has, let’s wait to see if Trump signs the bill that will inevitably reach his desk. If it receives a veto, it will be a sad day for all Americans. If it gets a signature, Trump may just prove that he really has perfected the art of the deal.

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