By Joe Guzzardi
December 14, 2016
DREAMers, formally known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA recipients, have their fingers crossed that President-Elect Donald Trump will look kindly on them when their work permits expire, allow them to continue working and possibly be granted permanent legal status. Their advocates are outraged at the prospect that Trump will, as he promised on the campaign trail, end DACA. The New York Times, for example, wrote that the U.S. should be a better nation than one that turns its back on “aspiring citizens,” known to most as illegal aliens.
Unless Trump wants a revolt within his base during his first few days in office, DACA permits will be history. The likely outcome is that Trump will end DACA, but not deport the DREAMers. That course would sooner rather than later return DREAMers to illegal alien status, exactly where they were before Obama acted unilaterally, unconstitutionally and without precedent to give them work permits, Social Security numbers and temporary deportation protection.
The outrage against Trump would be boundless. But the bad guy in this picture is Obama who put the DREAMers in the bind they find themselves, and not Trump. On multiple occasions since the DREAM Act was first introduced in the 1990s, Congress rejected the legislation. But when Obama couldn’t sell amnesty to Congress, and voters eventually put Republicans in control of the Legislative Branch, the petulant president created DACA through an executive action.
Obama knew that as the DACA permits expired, a new president would be in office. What Obama couldn’t envision was that his successor would be a Republican that campaigned on getting jobs back to Americans, a platform that included terminating DACA. Basically, Obama threw the mess Trump’s way, and left the new president with the choice between breaking his immigration campaign promises or being lambasted in the press and by the elite for his apparent insensitivity to the DREAMers. Although Obama has refused to give the DREAMers an official pardon, he’s been exempted from criticism.
DREAMers and their lobby want Trump to approve the continuation of a clearly unconstitutional program. But if Trump gives in to the pressure, he’s got a whole new set of circumstances to resolve. The DACAs weren’t vetted, many of their ages and dates of entry haven’t been confirmed, and some in their pre-DACA lives committed identity theft to get jobs or other affirmative benefits they’re not entitled to.
In fact, U.S. Customs and Immigration Services encouraged dishonest DACA applications when it declared that their forms shouldn’t include any false Social Security numbers they had used. Instead, DACAs were instructed to write N/A (not applicable) in the space designated for Social Security information. Essentially, USCIS dismissed identity theft, a felony, as a barrier to a DACA authorization. The Department of Homeland Security confirmed the USCIS policy when it issued a brazen statement that it isn’t interested in “cases where some individual may have violated some federal law in an employment relationship.”
After three decades of little if any immigration enforcement since the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act passed, about 12 million illegal immigrants are in the U.S. Restoring enforcement may necessitate inconvenience to some. Trump can’t give amnesty, even to a small segment of the illegal immigrant population, until the existing problems that Obama and his predecessors created have been resolved, and with finality.
Joe Guzzardi is a Senior Writing Fellow with Californians for Population Stabilization. Contact him at [email protected] or on Twitter @joeguzzardi19.