Editorial: Ten years of limbo. DACA recipients need permanent relief now
President Donald Trump’s executive order — a temporary step intended to temporarily protect a tiny number of young immigrants from deportation — should be a welcome boost to the undocumented community. But the order has been far from reassuring. It is one thing when presidents use executive orders to end policies that they disagree with. It is another matter when they use them to reward and empower the very people who have done them up most wrong.
After years of watching the White House try to roll back the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA), a law that temporarily shielded some young immigrants from deportation in an effort to prevent them from being forced to return to lives of crime and violence, I am concerned that Trump’s executive order does the exact opposite of what it was designed to do. The order is both morally flawed and policyically foolish. It is the product of the same flawed political ideology that produced the disastrous immigration policies of the 1980s.
The executive order — which is only temporary and has already expired — takes its inspiration from a law passed by Congress in 2012. But it is nothing like the legislation that spurred it. When DACA was first announced, it was intended to be temporary and was limited only by Congress’s power of the purse. The government could spend as much as it wanted to get DACA extended, provided it did not violate any other laws. But that law, which was narrowly written by Democrats, was also designed to allow some young immigrants a reprieve from deportation. There was nothing that Congress was willing to do to keep them from getting deported, other than giving them work permits and access to health care.
Yet that is exactly what Trump is doing. As he put it himself in his executive order, the move is “not a Muslim ban or a ban on seven majority-Muslim countries, but rather, it is a common-sense approach that will protect our citizens while at the same time, creating a pathway to American citizenship for those who want it.” DACA’s original intention has been subverted by Trump’s actions. And it is the same president who has repeatedly criticized the young immigrants who were protected under DACA and then told them