After DACA Ends, Then What?

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This article was last updated on April 16, 2022

The administration is expected to announce today a decision on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

This has caused a great deal of hand-wringing on the part of many activists and Democratic legislators who kept urging the president — apparently successfully, even though their disparagement and public disrespect of him in virtually every other area continues unabated — to perpetuate a program he campaigned vigorously to end.

What put paid to the program was the threat from a consortium of states led by Texas to lump DACA into their lawsuit to end the constitutional abuses of the prior president when he usurped the Article I role of Congress by creating this and other “executive action” programs for which there was no statutory authority. Some of the programs (such as the “CAM” program) have already been ended, and some (such as DAPA — the administrative parents-of-Dreamers amnesty) never got off the ground because of the states’ ongoing lawsuit.

Of course, the impending DACA decision is now being depicted as catastrophic and calamitous — a crisis in the making that demands firm and immediate reaction, including legislation to grant status to the so-called Dreamers.

Rep. Paul Ryan was quoted as saying he doesn’t think the president should end the program. This is beyond shocking. The speaker of the House of Representatives has gone on record to say that one president ending the constitutional violation of another president, who unlawfully took the powers of the legislature into his own hands, is making a mistake?

Well done, Mr. Ryan, well done! Wasn’t it bad enough that Congress never showed the intestinal fortitude to challenge the abuse when it took place? Now you want to endorse it for all to see and hear? Of course, Paul Ryan has never seen an amnesty that he doesn’t like; his track record on these things is clear.

Sundry other members of Congress have begun to queue up to try to introduce legislation providing lawful status and green cards to these so-called “Dreamers”, few of whom are likely to be the budding Nikola Teslas and Andrew Carnegies that open-borders groups would have us believe. In fact, their social and educational characteristics are, for the most part, pretty mundane. Those politicians include Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Richard Durbin (D-Ill.).

Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) has also suggested a “conservative amnesty” (whatever that might be) that would require recipients to hold a job, go to post-secondary school, or join the military before being given a green card. In truth, that sounds fairly pedestrian. Holding a job, any job, isn’t much of a burden, and you can bet that if-or-when the legislation is fleshed out in regulations it will include all kinds of caveats. If you left one job flipping burgers and took on another three months later, is that a “meaningful” interruption of your work history? How many meaningful interruptions can you get away with? This is the kind of minutiae that will grind its way through the bureaucracy and the courts until virtually anyone anywhere with any kind of job will become entitled to the resident card. And having them join the military doesn’t really sound like a good idea either. A spin-off of that notion was tried with the MAVNI program, and it was disastrous, resulting in numbers of AWOL individuals and suspected national security breaches. Such things actually degrade military readiness; they don’t promote it.

I wonder if these legislators realize how tone-deaf they appear to much of America: They can’t manage to enact health care reform, tax reform, the debt ceiling, or even the annual budget — but they begin to coalesce around an illegal alien amnesty? Excellent sense of priorities!

As I watch the collective foolishness of so many of our elected politicians, I keep thinking of the old saw that people get the leaders they deserve. God I hope that’s not so, although as I look across the landscape, especially glancing to the far left and the far right, I’m not so certain it isn’t.

Some politicians and interest groups will tell you that such an amnesty would be a one-off, a never-to-be-repeated event, but we’ve heard that about amnesties before, haven’t we? Besides, the next group of children who might expect such an amnesty is already among us: You would have to be brain-dead not to remember the wave of families that began coming into the United States illegally in ever-increasing numbers until it was a flood during 2014 and 2015, and which continued at a disturbing level up until the Trump administration took office.

Will the next amnesty that gets teed up include both the children and their parents who made this trek? You can be sure that neither politicians nor advocacy groups will want to talk about this elephant in the room as they chat up the benefits of a Dreamer amnesty.

Ironically and cynically, those politicians, and the advocacy groups that so despise Donald Trump, will also likely point to the low number of illegal border crossings and apprehensions since his inauguration as evidence that an amnesty can be done without damaging homeland security. But do not take that dip in arrivals, either of children or adults, as permanent. It is not, and signals nothing more than a wait-and-watch resolve to see if U.S. border and removal activities match the rhetoric, and for how long.

Remember also that funding for the border wall is yet unresolved because the same group of progressives who hunger to see amnesty legislation for Dreamers and are willing to manipulate Donald Trump’s tender feelings on the matter show themselves unbending when it comes to any kind of trade-offs to achieve what they want. No; that’s a one-way street for sure.

But in any case, I can think of few bargains of such value to those of us who value immigration enforcement, and with it a modicum of control over the national sovereignty and our destiny as a people, that would justify such a trade. Even morally — perhaps especially as a moral matter — I have great qualms about the amnesty path.

Think about it: providing green cards to children who have been smuggled is the surest way to guarantee a never-ending supply of children who have been smuggled.

How is this a sane policy, and why would it be in the interests of either future generations of potentially smuggled children or of the United States?

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