There are rumblings that President Trump may scrap Barack Obama’s still remaining amnesty — and that rumor has seriously disturbed immigration boosters.
Democratic California Sen. Kamala Harris, a rising liberal star, declared on Twitter, “740,000 DREAMers should not have to live in constant fear that their status will be revoked and they’ll be deported.”
Illegal immigrant poster boy Jose Antonio Vargas asserted, “DACA [Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivials] is not, will not, go away. We must do everything we can to keep DACA.”
Democratic Illinois Rep. Luis Gutierrez claimed that Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly’s non-commitment about defending DACA in court was a warning that “mass deportation” was imminent and children were at risk of danger. “Anyone with a conscience who thinks legal immigration is an integral part of who we are as a country just got called to action,” Gutierrez said in a press statement.
All this anguish was brought on by multiple state attorneys general — all of whom are Republican — planning to sue the federal government over the amnesty grant. Kelly was honest in saying it isn’t likely that the Trump administration would fight the legal battle over the matter.
It would make sense for the president not to do so, considering eliminating DACA was one of his campaign promises. Trump told voters there would be no amnesty under his watch, and that he would work toward overturning Obama’s lax immigration policies.
But DACA still remains on the books, due in large part to how immigration boosters have portrayed the issue. Several pundits and politicians — from both the Left and Right — have said the policy protects kids who want to be Americans from deportation. America is a generous country, and to take this protection away would show a lack of heart.
For instance, when he ran for president in 2012, Rick Perry said Mitt Romney and other opponents of giving Dreamers legal status “have no heart.” As president, Trump has reiterated this argument by saying it’s a “case of heart” in explaining why he hasn’t scrapped DACA yet.
The image of defenseless kids getting deported by big, mean ICE agents is a powerful one that is often deployed in the immigration debate. Remember the border surge of 2014, when all of the unaccompanied minors were depicted as eight-year-olds fleeing from assured extermination in El Salvador? The actual details of the illegal entrants were overlooked in favor of this stereotype.
A similar situation arises for DACA. For one thing, this is not about protecting kids from evil deportation officers. DACA gives work grants for people to stay in the country — which means that the government is rewarding people who came here illegally with offers to take jobs away from American citizens.
Secondly, the majority of the people who are receiving DACA are not children anymore. One must be 15 in order to receive the reprieve, and minors younger than that age can only earn it if they are in deportation proceedings. According to government data from 2014, more than half of DACA recipients were 20 years or older. In fact, people who were 30 in 2012 are still eligible to receive the permits.
So this isn’t necessarily about protecting grade schoolers from the cruelties of an unjust deportation. DACA recipients are pretty much all working-age adults who are not supposed to be in the country in the first place.
Of course, many of them came here illegally not of their own choice — it was their parents who made that choice. Those circumstances are naturally going to generate sympathy for the Dreamers.
However, the discussion over DACA shouldn’t be determined by which individual cases pull the most at our heart-strings. This is a matter of whether America remains a sovereign nation that upholds the rule of law.
DACA is the beginning of a slippery slope that gives justification to legalizing all illegal aliens. If we say that we shouldn’t deport those who came here illegally as minors, what about their parents? What about their aunts, uncles and cousins? What about illegals who say they fear for their safety back home? What about the ones who claim to be good workers or upstanding family men?
When you begin to base immigration policy on a few exceptional cases and emotion, instead of the law and the interests of American citizens, you can be argued into giving amnesty to all and erasing our borders entirely.
By preserving DACA, America sets a precedent for giving a whole number of people legal status for questionable reasons. The policy also acts as a magnet for attracting future illegal immigrants.
DHS, during Obama’s tenure, blamed DACA for encouraging the 2014 border surge of illegal migrants who assumed they would get legal status under the policy. There’s no reason to assume a similar situation wouldn’t arise in the future if DACA is still the law and offering hope for future amnesties.
Migrants come to the U.S. illegally for a variety of reasons and under a multitude of circumstances. Some come here for noble reasons, some don’t. But that’s not how we determine an immigration policy.
Immigration policy should be made to serve the interests of American citizens first, not those who violated our laws to come here. “America First” was the platform Trump ran and won on, and the president ending DACA would be upholding that message.
Our nation exists primarily to serve its citizen, and we are a nation of laws. DACA, on the other hand, allows non-citizens who broke the law to continue to compete against citizens in the labor force and eschews the law in favor of liberal emotion.
There’s no reason for the administration to allow a bad policy set by Obama to continue and contribute to the problem of illegal immigration. It’s time to put DACA in the ground.