A lot of eyes are focused on President Trump’s decision regarding young illegal immigrants that are covered presently under DACA, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. Trump is facing significant criticism and is troubled by the decision he has to make.
It may be interesting amid the hysteria to remember how the Obama administration bypassed Congress, usurping legislative powers to get DACA implemented. As Trump considers the ultimate fate of the so-called “Dreamers,” he may be looking at the former administration’s decision in granting what was essentially de facto amnesty to young illegals. When Obama did this, some referred to his actions as “impeachable offenses.”
The Obama administration’s bypassing of Congress to essentially halt the deportation of young illegals was enacted despite Article I, Section 8 of the United States Constitution, which clearly gives Congress, not the executive branch, the power to “establish a uniform Rule of Naturalization.”
Obama initiated the first major change in the immigration law on June 30, 2010. A memo by John Morton, assistant secretary at the Department of Homeland Security and director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, tested the waters by setting new priorities for deporting illegal aliens. The first priority became deporting illegal aliens who posed a “danger to national security” or “serious risk to public safety.” The second priority was “recent illegal entrants” and the third priority focused on “aliens who are fugitives or otherwise obstruct immigration controls.”
Since that memo from Morton faced almost no resistance, he issued another one on August 29, 2010. This time he instructed the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) attorneys to exercise “prosecutorial discretion” in the “handling of removal proceedings involving aliens with applications or petitions pending” before the immigration court.
On June 17, 2011, Morton issued a third memo, which could “only be characterized as a deliberate move to bypass Congress and issue backdoor amnesty for an unknown number of illegal immigrants.”
Former President Obama went all the way in bypassing Congress when on June 15, 2012, the Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano enacted DACA with a memo titled: “Exercising Prosecutorial Discretion with Respect to Individuals Who Came to the United States as Children.” The main elements of the DREAM Act was begun without any Congressional vote.
Obama celebrated the move with a Rose Garden press conference saying that Napolitano’s action was “mend[ing] our nation’s immigration policy, to make it more fair, more efficient, and more just — specifically for certain young people sometimes called ‘Dreamers.’”
This history has no doubt influenced the president. Trump is expected to announce his decision on Tuesday, according to a source close to the administration. He is likely to end the DACA program, but give a six month delay. In that time, it is possible that Congress will act, which is apparently how it was supposed to work all along.
What do you think about the way this all seems to be panning out?