The President has indicated he will sign a new Executive Order within the next few weeks that includes a path to citizenship for DACA recipients. Joe Biden, the Democrat placeholder for the 2020 presidential nominee, has stated that he will give DACA recipients amnesty. Let’s review a few things first just so we’re once again on the same page.
What is DACA?
DACA allows immigrants who entered the United States illegally as minors to have their deportation deferred for two years periods and allows them to apply for work permits. President Barack Obama announced an Executive Order creating DACA on June 15, 2012. Any individual born after June 15, 1981 is within—and shall remain within—DACA’s age requirements.
What does DACA actually do?
- Immunity from Deportation for a two year renewable period (unless you break the law)
- Ability to receive a work permit — aka employment authorization document (EAD)
- You receive a Social Security number
- You can apply for a driver’s license
- Ability to apply for the Federal Earned Income Tax Credit
- Document to travel abroad
- Pay in-state tuition rates for public colleges and universities in certain states
What doesn’t DACA do?
Provide a direct path to citizenship (although there is a loophole using ‘advance parole’ that’s been covered now a couple times here.)
How many times can DACA be renewed?
Forever assuming you keep from becoming a bad hombre.
DACA Is a Mess
The biggest problem with DACA is that it really doesn’t solve anything other than kick the can down the road to amnesty. It also only covers a narrow slice of illegal immigrants which are those ‘in the country through no fault of their own.’ This argument leaves a rather bad taste in my mouth since these individuals are legally and actually citizens of another country — period. But there we are.
What To Do?
Well, the first thing is to get rid of a bad Executive Order! Oh, wait. The Supreme Court has ruled you can’t do that because the people (who are citizens of another country) would be affected in a negative way. Generally speaking, I think it’s a good thing that the government keep its promises but this ruling was a huge mistake.
President Trump is a problem solver which has been at odds with the entire political class since he took office. For every political problem that exists in the country, there are lots of constituencies that make money off having the problem remain and grow. It’s also the best way to get yourself re-elected promising to “fight for” one thing or another. “Solving” is not the same as “fighting for” as we continue to learn.
Does the Supreme Court Ruling on DACA Create an Opportunity?
If an EO cannot be cancelled because it hurts people (regardless of their citizenship status), then it follows that President Trump could add to DACA in a manner that gives these individuals something more and that something more could not be cancelled.
Right? Well, I suspect “maybe” and if that’s the president’s plan, I think it fails spectacularly down the road. Let’s assume his new EO builds on DACA and adds a path to citizenship. What will the Democrats do?
- Litigate. Going to court is what they always do. In this instance, it would be to declare something they actually like as unconstitutional over something they can fix themselves. For instance, perhaps simply stating that the Congress must agree who can be a citizen and that this is executive overreach. I have no idea whether this is true or not but they’ve shown how they can effectively tie things up in the courts for years and years. I think they can probably keep it from going into effect until after the election for sure.
- Use it as a campaign plank. The obvious step is that there’s no reason to offer a path to citizenship for one group of illegals without going the full monty and extending it to everyone regardless of when they entered the country.
- Should Biden win and the Democrats have control of both Houses, then they just go for amnesty.
- Should Biden win and the Congress continues to be split, he could simply issue an EO that extends amnesty to all. “Wait a minute! But the Supreme Court just said you can’t do that!” Here’s the rub, I believe. If you make something ‘better,’ then, of course, you can have an EO that does that! If there was an EO that said everyone gets hamburger and then a new president says “let’s upgrade to steak,” I don’t think the Supreme Court would have any problem with that at all.
It Will Be a Meaningless Gesture
Maybe I’ll be surprised but I don’t see how an EO is going to help either in reality by solving an actual problem or in boosting the president’s chances of reelection. The Democrats won’t give him the win and will immediately find some means to stop it and they no doubt have a Hawaiian judge on speed dial for that purpose.
I also don’t think that it will get him any Hispanic votes and it might lose him some Republicans. Illegal Hispanics don’t seem to really care about a pathway to citizenship as much as they care about not being deported. This seems like a very practical way of thinking. I would also think this is true of Hispanic birthright citizens who are probably more concerned about their relatives being deported rather than if they get the chance to vote.
The only people who do care about illegal Hispanics having a pathway to citizenship are Democrats as a means to increase their numbers.