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Deliberative Abrogation of Congressional Authority - September 2017

posted Sep 27, 2017, 5:48 PM by RSO The Fenwick Review
By Bill Christ '18

With President Trump’s recent decision to delay rescinding the controversial Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, there has been an outpouring of emotional support for those affected by the announcement. Through emotional appeals, the opponents of President Trump’s decision have criticized him for adopting an uncaring and inhumane policy that punishes children for the sins of their parents. Frequent invocations of children and toddlers being sent back to nations foreign to them have demonized advocates of Constitutional order and legal immigration. Additionally, politicians on both sides of the aisle have been quick to condemn the decision, which is an unlikely occurrence in today’s era of hyperpartisanship. Despite all the outcries, President Trump was right to end the illegal program known as DACA.
 
For one thing, the constitutionality of his actions is hardly in question; prominent figures on the left and the right, along with the federal courts, oppose the legal foundations of President Obama’s DACA policy. Without Congress’s legislative
authority, President Obama created the policy which provided a semi-legal status to those who illegally immigrated with their parents as children. While DACA recipients are mostly well-educated, employed, and provided substantial tax revenue to the government, the actions that President Obama took in 2012 clearly circumvented the Constitution. By unilaterally initiating a temporary immigration policy, President Obama bypassed Congress’s inherent duty to legislate controversial policies into law and took it upon himself to change the immigration laws. In response to President Trump’s actions, California’s senior senator and current ranking Democratic member on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Dianne Feinstein, noted in an interview on MSNBC that DACA was on shaky legal ground and that further legislative action was needed. In addition to Senator Feinstein, prominent Never-Trump conservatives like Andrew McCarthy and Yuval Levin have addressed the unconstitutional nature of DACA and have supported the administration’s actions. Since McCarthy and Levin were some of the President’s strongest and most vocal conservative critics, their support of the DACA decision demonstrates the illegal steps the Obama administration undertook to unilaterally create immigration policy. Furthermore, the policy of providing illegal immigrants with a semi-legal status through executive orders was blocked by the courts when several states challenged the legality of DAPA, or Deferred Action for Parents of Americans.
 
In addition to the questionable legality of DACA, the end of the executive action is not the end of immigration reform. President Trump’s decision to delay rescinding DACA for six months provides Congress with an opportunity to achieve long-lasting immigration policy. Within hours of the administration announcement that it was rescinding DACA, prominent Republicans like House Speaker Paul Ryan and 2016 presidential candidate Marco Rubio have spoken out in favor of maintaining a similar policy for DACA recipients. Concerning potential legislative solutions to the rescinding of DACA, the number of Republicans criticizing the administration’s action combined with both democratic caucuses should indicate that a solution is more than likely. Simultaneously, the ten Democratic senators up for reelection in a year in states that President Trump won in 2016 could side with the administration if their state constituencies compel them and adopt a conservative solution. If both Congress and President Trump can compromise, a long-lasting solution to
illegal immigration could potentially be secured before the president’s imposed six month deadline.
 
Currently two Congressional Bills propose reforms to the broken American immigration system. The Curbelo-Tillis Bill proposes granting legal status to the DREAMers who have been in the country long-term. Meanwhile, the RAISE Act is a proposal by Senators Tom Cotton (R-AR) and David Perdue (R-GA) which aims to curb the chain migration and incentive immigration based on specialized skills. In response to the administration stance on DACA, Senator Cotton noted that he would be willing to provide legal status to the almost million DACA recipients already in the nation.
 
Understandably, most reactions to President Trump’s policies, including the DACA decision, have been met with feelings for those affected by them. While this display of compassion is commendable, the blatant disregard for the rule of law and the institutions that have guided the American republic since the founding  is not. Additionally, the empathy expressed  by  the media, colleges, and major cities ignores the people who experience the fallout from the loose immigration policies and voted for the candidate to fix them. If this ignorance and overt indifference for the rule of law and this constituency continues, Donald Trump will be reelected president on November 3, 2020.
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