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Joe Biden responded to the federal ruling declaring the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program illegal, thus halting the program. Biden called the ruling “deeply troubling” and urged Congress to pass legislation to protect the so-called “dreamers” from deportation.
“Yesterday’s Federal court ruling is deeply disappointing,” Biden said in a statement. “While the court’s order does not now affect current DACA recipients, this decision nonetheless relegates hundreds of thousands of young immigrants to an uncertain future.”
Biden also announced that his administration would appeal the decision. “The Department of Justice intends to appeal this decision in order to preserve and fortify DACA. And, as the court recognized, the Department of Homeland Security plans to issue a proposed rule concerning DACA in the near future.”
“But only Congress can ensure a permanent solution by granting a path to citizenship for Dreamers that will provide the certainty and stability that these young people need and deserve,” Biden added.
Where have I heard this before? Oh yeah, President Trump said that repeatedly during his presidency. When Trump announced his intention to end the unconstitutional DACA program in September 2017, he explained that the program had been created illegally by Barack Obama after the DREAM Act failed to pass Congress. “In June of 2012, President Obama bypassed Congress to give work permits, social security numbers, and federal benefits to approximately 800,000 illegal immigrants currently between the ages of 15 and 36,” Trump explained. “The typical recipients of this executive amnesty, known as DACA, are in their twenties. Legislation offering these same benefits had been introduced in Congress on numerous occasions and rejected each time.”
“There can be no path to principled immigration reform if the executive branch is able to rewrite or nullify federal laws at will,” Trump added. He instructed Congress to work together to find a permanent solution. “We will resolve the DACA issue with heart and compassion — but through the lawful Democratic process — while at the same time ensuring that any immigration reform we adopt provides enduring benefits for the American citizens we were elected to serve.”
In 2018, Trump even offered Democrats a deal that would protect dreamers in exchange for border wall funding, which they didn’t take. “I have offered DACA a wonderful deal, including a doubling in the number of recipients & a twelve-year pathway to citizenship, for two reasons: (1) Because the Republicans want to fix a long time terrible problem. (2) To show that Democrats do not want to solve DACA, only use it!” Trump said.
While the Biden administration intends to appeal the recent ruling on DACA, the president’s efforts would be better used trying to come up with compromise legislation that can pass Congress. If the case ends up in the Supreme Court, they will likely rule against him. Even Barack Obama, who ultimately created DACA via executive fiat, knew that he didn’t have the power to alter immigration law unilaterally and acknowledged this several times while trying to get the DREAM Act passed.
Ultimately, a legislative solution is the only surefire way to address the issue. Had Democrats chosen to work with Republicans after Trump announced he was ending DACA, this issue may have been resolved already. But it’s not, and now the program has been deemed illegal. So it’s easy to see what’s going to happen next. First, Biden is going call on Republicans to support partisan legislation he backs without any compromise. The media will then blame Republicans for not working with Democrats to resolve this issue. The Supreme Court, which technically has a 6-3 conservative majority, will have the ultimate say on DACA.
Any program created via executive action can be ended via executive action. A legislative solution has always been the correct way to address immigration issues. Trump knew it, and Biden has admitted it, even if he didn’t say so explicitly.