There’s a lot of people complaining about President Trump’s actions in rescinding the Obama era DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) executive order.
But have they gone past the soundbites on the news, and explored the problems with the act? Because if he’s doing anything, Trump is actually walking back what was viewed as an unconstitutional exercise of executive branch power over what should have been solely the Congress’ domain.
And he’s not the only one who thinks it was illegal:
The most obvious problem with DACA is that it is illegal. By unilaterally issuing work permits and deportation relief to a large class of illegal immigrants, President Obama effectively rewrote immigration law. Take it from a knowledgeable source:
With respect to the notion that I can just suspend deportations through executive order, that’s just not the case, because there are laws on the books that Congress has passed. . . . The executive branch’s job is to enforce and implement those laws. . . . There are enough laws on the books by Congress that are very clear in terms of how we have to enforce our immigration system that for me to simply through executive order ignore those congressional mandates would not conform with my appropriate role as President.
That statement comes from President Obama himself, one year before he reversed course and instituted DACA. His new justification was that the executive branch would merely be exercising “prosecutorial discretion” in whom it chooses to deport, but — as Obama himself had said — there must be limits to such discretion.
Imagine that President Trump becomes frustrated that Congress will not lower the corporate income tax. In response to congressional inaction, could Trump simply announce that the IRS will no longer punish corporations for tax evasion?
Unfortunately, the people affected – “Dreamers” – are the ones caught between a rock and a hard place after being used as a pawn in the Obama administration’s abuse of executive order.
It’s not like we can easily deport people to a country they’ve never really known, and it remains to be seen if we should. Which is why Congress needs to come up with a solution to the mess created by the Obama administration’s abuse of authority. Because we’re a nation of laws, not whim.
And it might just serve as an abject lesson as to why they should never permit such an abuse of power by the executive branch ever again.