14 Sep 2023 DACA: CONGRESS SHOULD FINALLY START “DREAM’IN”
On September 13, 2023, a federal judge once again declared that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is unlawful, but thankfully did not order immigration officials to start deporting DACA recipients or terminate their work permits. The Biden administration has vowed to appeal this ruling.
The DACA saga has been an emotional roller coaster ride for the hundreds of thousands of young people who felt a sense of security against being deported under DACA and were able to obtain work permits and contribute to the United States.
But I blame Congress for this problem, and the problem could easily be solved if Congress could finally work together and come up with an immigration law rather than relying on the president to push temporary, quick fixes through executive action.
Basically, the court stated that it is the role and duty of Congress to pass immigration laws, not the president, through “executive action.” Introduced in 2012 by then President-Obama, DACA appeared as an attempt by the president to pass an immigration law through executive action.
Congress had attempted to pass such a law. In 2001, the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act was introduced in Congress. Young applicants, hoping to be eligible, were known as “Dreamers.” Over the last 20 years, at least 11 versions of the Dream Act have been introduced in Congress, but none have passed. The Democrats and Republicans seem unwilling to compromise. At one point, Republicans seemed willing to agree to DACA, or the DREAM Act, as long as there were some provisions for border security. However, Democrats were against a wall. When President Trump was first elected, he offered DACA in exchange for a wall to Sen. Feinstein, but she replied, “DACA only.” So, Congress has thus far failed to pass any immigration law for the Dreamers.
In the court’s recent ruling, it noted that Congress’s alleged failure to pass legislation did not give the executive branch (President) the power or authority to “legislate” on its own. It is the duty of Congress to pass laws, and it is the duty of the executive branch to enforce those laws, not to make laws.
The court noted that the fate of the DACA recipients (or Dreamers) needs to be decided by Congress, not by the president or federal courts. And in 2012, DACA was only supposed to be a temporary, quick fix, in anticipation of Congress passing the DREAM Act.
This impasse between Democrats and Republicans has been going on for over 20 years. It’s cruel and unreasonable to treat the Dreamers as some sort of political pawns or bargaining chips. There will be no deal unless there is compromise. It’s finally time for Congress to get together, compromise, and finally pass the DREAM Act, which would be an immigration law rather than a presidential executive action.
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