In spite of the heartwarming histrionics of liberals and Penn’s own President Amy Gutmann — but I repeat myself — President Donald Trump was right to rescind former President Barack Obama’s unconstitutional Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals executive order. He was also right to call for Congress to send him a bill making DACA a U.S. law.
DACA was a desperation move. Obama said, both during and after his 2008 presidential campaign, that such an order would be an abuse of power. In 2011, he addressed this issue a Univision town hall, saying "with respect to the notion that I can just suspend deportations through executive order, that's just not the case." He clarified these comments on other occasions, making the extremely salient point that he was neither an “emperor” nor a “king.”
Unfortunately Obama in 2012 apparently had more of an aspiration to regency, so he decided to unilaterally confer legal status, work permits, drivers licenses and Social Security numbers in an executive order that would eventually 44 percent of illegal immigrants from Mexico and 24 percent from other nations. He did the same for the parents of those eligible for DACA in the Deferred Action for Parental Accountability executive order, leading to a successful lawsuit by 27 states. Though Obama official Eric Columbus, who worked on DACA, is “sad” about the status quo, he that a legal challenge is “very likely to succeed.”
Given this is the case, President Trump pursued an option, one that can be described as either gracious compromise with or capitulation to Democrats in Congress. He to pursue a bill making DACA law without any funding for a border wall. On his preferred platform, Twitter, the president asked, “Does anybody really want to throw out good, educated and accomplished young people who have jobs, some serving in the military?”
DACA defenders have a right to be slightly angry at the president, but only because he seems to have plagiarized their talking points. That’s the most remarkable aspect of this entire controversy — everyone is actually agreeing, though it’s hard to tell over all the yelling. In essence, Trump’s critics are in complete agreement with him about DACA; they just prefer it to exist as a liminal and probably unconstitutional executive order, as opposed to a bill passed by Congress. In their zeal to bitterly oppose last November’s election result, Trump’s critics are forced into admittedly impressive acts of mental gymnastics, as they rush to condemn a man who is forwarding their cause.
Very little of this context and nuance is present in the current debate about DACA. Those on the far left in media and academia have drawn their battle lines, condemning the president for the callous act of following the Constitution he swore to defend. As I mentioned, Penn President Gutmann was chief among these critics, and her response was to have Penn promulgate an institutional view on DACA.
Penn’s “Supporting DACA Students” informational session, which I attended, is an excellent . Attendees were referred to illegal immigrant activist groups and leftist groups like the Trans Queer Liberation Movement, Juntos and the New Sanctuary Movement. We were told to support "immigrant rights organizations" and lobby our representatives on immigration reform, as pictures of pro-reform protesters were displayed in the background. Afterward, a student speaker kindly informed us that we can't talk about "good" and "bad" immigrants and we can't talk about sending any of them home.
Leaving aside the fact that, with all due respect, Penn and its president don’t have any relevance in terms of immigration policy proclamations, Gutmann’s message, and Penn’s message, is nonsensical and logically incoherent. Firstly, no one is arguing here about the substance of DACA, but about whether a bill or an executive order is the best legal means of implementing it. Does Penn have some institutional interest in a debate about the balance of powers in the federal government? I remain skeptical.
Gutmann's letter claims this was a “shortsighted decision” that “violates our core principles” as a nation. She made the correct though completely irrelevant observation that “this country was founded by immigrants and exiles.”
This country has indeed benefited from immigrants, including my parents, for example. That said, just because the United States accepts immigrants does not mean that it must accept illegal immigration. Such an argument would lead us to the absurd position of opening our borders entirely, lest we violate the “inclusion” and “diversity” dictates mentioned in President Gutmann’s letter. Of course, immigration should be as open as possible to people of whatever ethnicity and yes, Congress should allow those who were brought here illegally as children to stay while securing the border for the future.
This country, with the backing of President Trump and both parties in Congress, is being incredibly humane and gracious in allowing most illegal immigrants to stay. I hope they succeed, though I don’t expect a leftist in Washington or in her College Hall office to cease the condescending condemnations.
MICHAEL MOROZ is a sophomore in the Huntsman program and a co-director of the College Republicans Editorial Board.
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