For the second time, a federal court judge in New York ruled on Tuesday that President Donald Trump can not end the Obama-era DACA program on March 5, 2018.
U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis ruled that Attorney General Jeff Sessions “erred in concluding that DACA is unconstitutional” and granted a temporary injunction that state attorney generals and immigrants who sued the administration were seeking.
In January, U.S. District Judge Willaim Alsup in San Francisco ordered DACA to remain in place while litigation surrounding the Obama-policy was unresolved. Alsup’s ruling is being challenged by the Trump administration and the U.S. Supreme Court is currently considering whether to hear the case.
There are some who believe, like U.S. Attorney Jeff Sessions, that former President Barack Obama “enacted law” (a responsibility given only to U.S. Congress) when he signed an executive order in 2012, ensuring that those who had been brought to the United States illegally by their parents, would not be deported.
There are others who believe that Obama was exercising his executive power, as he stated he was doing before signing the executive order on DACA, and merely choosing to execute or prosecute only certain laws.
In other words, Obama chose to ignore any law that called for the deportation of DREAMers (those illegally in the country).
Both Trump and Obama are in agreement that Congress is the branch that should decide the fate of DREAMers.
So, then what should Congress do?
If you believe that Obama’s executive order was not an attempt to make law but rather a part of his authority under the Executive branch, then you must also believe that Trump has the same authority of the Executive branch to reverse Obama’s executive order.
Apparently, at least one judge disagrees with Trump’s authority as President but upholds Obama’s authority as President on the issue of DACA? That seems to be the case.
Or could it be that Sessions’ argument was based solely on DACA being “unconstitutional” instead of arguing in the alternative that it was an executive order which Trump has the authority to reverse?
On the other hand, if you believe the Obama-era DACA policy was unconstitutional because he was usurping the power of the Legislative branch when he signed it into law then it will most likely take the Supreme Court to confirm that before the district courts stop ruling against Trump.
In any event, Trump has indicated in many instances that he does not intend to deport DACA recipients and wants to allow them a path to citizenship after certain requirements have been met.
This “amnesty” with certain requirements goes much farther than Obama’s executive order which allowed DREAMers to stay in the U.S. and work but did not give then lawful status nor make them eligible for citizenship.
Under Obama, DACA is as follows:
“On June 15, 2012, the Secretary of Homeland Security announced that certain people who came to the United States as children and meet several guidelines may request consideration of deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal. They are also eligible for work authorization. Deferred action is a use of prosecutorial discretion to defer removal action against an individual for a certain period of time. Deferred action does not provide lawful status.”
Currently, Congress is attempting to pass legislation concerning DACA that meets the criteria set forth by Trump in his “four pillars.”
Those four pillars are as follows:
(1) creating a path to citizenship for DREAMers, (2) securing the border, (3) eliminating the diversity visa lottery, and (4) limiting family-based immigration.
Only Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) was against allowing the discussion of DACA to go forward before Congress because he believes that those in the country illegally, whether through their fault or not, should never receive a path to citizenship.
Since the two judges have ruled to keep the Obama DACA policy in place at least for now (which means it will not be expiring on March 5, 2018 unless either Sessions takes it up on appeal or the Supreme Court decides to hear the case and lifts the temporary order), perhaps Congress should just endorse the Obama policy and make it law.
This will eliminate pillar one and take “amnesty” off the table.
Once the pathway to citizenship has been removed, then Congress can work on getting the other three pillars enacted into law.
In the alternative, allow the Obama policy to continue, build a wall and then address DACA.
The last option makes too much sense, I know. #sarcasm
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