As Donald Trump contemplates ending DACA – an Obama-era program created to provide amnesty for nearly 800,000 young, undocumented immigrants – the program has found an ally in Jeb Bush – the man most people now remember as the failed presidential candidate who Trump drubbed in the primaries.
On August 30, Jeb tweeted, “Come to DACA’s defense, Mr. Trump. With presidential leadership, this can be resolved.” Jeb also linked to an editorial in the Miami Herald that makes a number of emotional pleas to the president to keep the program in place.
The pleas made in the editorial and those made by Jeb Bush seem compelling. One quote from the editorial says, “Condemning [young undocumented immigrants] to possible deportation would be heartbreaking.” The editorial also cites a study from the left-wing Center for American Progress which attempts to show the economic contributions made by the immigrants who are protected by DACA.
Of course, President Trump has a number of other considerations to take into account. Namely, the fact that allowing almost 800,000 undocumented immigrants to remain means that there are that many jobs that are unavailable to people who are in the country legally. In addition to this, those in opposition to DACA have described it as being a severe overreach of executive authority.
At the time Obama created the DACA program, Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa said, “The point here is … the president does not have the authority to waive immigration law, nor does he have the authority to create it out of thin air.”
The thing about programs that are created out of thin air is that can be dismantled just as easily. President Trump now has the sole authority to allow the program to continue or to end it. As for what decision he will make, it’s really anyone’s guess.
On the campaign trail, Trump was critical of DACA. He referred to the program as “illegal amnesty” and promised that he would end it. However, in April Trump seemed to soften his stance on the program when he told the Associated Press that DACA recipients should “rest easy.” At this point, it seems as if Trump’s most likely course of action will be to end the program while allowing DACA recipients to remain in the US until their work permits expire.
Of course, even if Trump does allow DACA to continue, it may only be a matter of time before it is ended by the courts. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is challenging the legality of the program, saying that Obama overstepped his authority when he created it. Given that this legal challenge is unlikely to go away even if Trump does not dismantle DACA, it could come down to the courts to decide whether or not DACA stays.
If the issue of DACA’s legality does go to court, Attorney General Jeff Sessions will have to decide whether he wants to defend the law. In the past, Sessions has been very hard on illegal immigration of all kinds. Then a senator when Obama was proposing mass amnesty, Sessions referred to the CEOs lobbying for amnesty as “masters of the universe” and warned his colleagues not to give in to their demands.
In spite of the legal issues facing the program, Jeb Bush and numerous others are still urging President Trump to keep it in place. According to Mike Allen, top CEOs “plan to be tough and vocal if Trump ends the policy.”
Meanwhile, a Silicon Valley tech executive said the potential for Trump to end DACA is “gut-wrenching.” Granted, these CEOs benefit greatly from the program due to the cheap labor that it provides. Undocumented immigrants are most often willing to work for much less than most employees, and since DACA recipients are protected, companies don’t have to worry about being penalized for hiring them.
All of these things are factors that the president must consider before he makes his decision, which is expected to be announced in the coming days. While the pleadings of Jeb Bush are unlikely to have much effect on what Trump ultimately decides, the economic and humanitarian consequences of both keeping and ending DACA have almost certainly weighed heavily on the president’s mind and will continue to weigh heavily on his mind for some time to come.
~ Libety Planet