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President Trump’s brilliant DACA strategy: Your turn, Congress

Written By | Sep 5, 2017

WASHINGTON, September 5, 2017 – Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is an immigration policy instituted through an executive order issued by former President Barack Obama in June of 2012. Obama claimed he was frustrated that Congress could not pass a law regarding how to handle the children of illegal aliens. So he unconstitutionally imposed the policy without Congressional approval.

Arguably, his intentions were compassionate. Children arrived in America illegally with their parents. Some of these children have lived in the U.S. now for many, many years. Indeed, some of them who arrived here as infants and have spent their entire lives in the U.S.

Still, under long-established law, they are here illegally.

During his campaign, Trump promised to end DACA, although he has stated repeatedly that he has a heart and understands the difficulty of displacing more than 800,000 young people. If deported, most DACA children today would have to go back to countries where they may not know anyone and may not even speak the language. Still, they are in the U.S. illegally.

For those voters who supported Trump, ending DACA is necessary since the U.S. is, historically, a republic of laws. These voters also argue that there are perhaps millions of immigrants who would like to immigrate to the U.S. and do it legally. Is it fair that these individuals respect our laws and wait for their turn, while current illegals simply sneaked across the border in open defiance of those laws?

Like many difficult legal areas, immigration policy is something Congress has preferred to push down the road instead of dealing with the issue and coming up with a policy that can be supported by a Congressional majority. So far, it seems, there is still not a solution that is acceptable to the majority.

One side argues that it would simply be very inhumane to send the young people to a place they do not know or want to be. Many DACA children have grown to become productive members of society. They carry their own weight, pay taxes and often contribute to society through the jobs that they have.

The other side argues that since we are a country of laws, and since the DACA children have entered our country illegally, even if they did not make that decision, they must leave. They could then apply to enter the U.S. through the usual procedures, although that normally may take years.

What would happen to them while they wait to re-enter the U.S.?

Businessman-President Trump knows that difficult problems like DACA must be faced and not put off for someone else to deal with somewhere down the road. His supporters want DACA ended. Now. His compassion won’t quite let him do that.

Trump’s solution to the problem is brilliant and very businesslike. In the business world when two sides are negotiating, there may not be enough incentive for the sides to reach a compromise. Classic business theory says that what is needed is to “create a sense of urgency.” That’s exactly what Trump just did.

Immigration policy has been argued about for decades. In 1986, President Reagan signed the Immigration Reform and Control Act, which, among other things, addressed the situation of some illegal aliens.  About 3 million illegals received legal status through what was effectively a one-time amnesty.

But the Act also stated that the Federal government would make a concerted effort to control America’s borders. The Act also established an employer verification program to ensure only legal workers were hired in this country. However, the government failed to uphold those promises, creating a policy vacuum that has been at least partially responsible for the immigration problems we have today.

Trump reasoned that without a sense of urgency, a deeply divided Congress would continue to drag its feet on the issue lest they be forced to suffer at the ballot box for actually making a decision on the issue. So, Trump announced that DACA is being canceled. But he gave Congress six months to come up with a plan to replace DACA. That six-month window means that Congress now has a deadline. The deadline creates, or should create, that necessary sense of urgency.

Trump allowed a full six months to develop a solution to this issue because he knows both he and Congress have a very full agenda for the coming months. Hurricane Harvey relief, the fate of the Affordable Care Act, the urgent finalization of a Fiscal 2018 Federal budget, the ritual raising of the debt ceiling, the needed reformation of America’s individual and corporate income tax codes, an infrastructure bill, and the need to address pressing foreign policy issues – particularly North Korea – all these need to be resolved sooner rather than later.

Once again, President Trump has shown he is ready to employ sound business principles to reach real, tangible results. He is arguably the first President to do this, and his brilliant plan to force a resolution of the DACA issue is just another example.

*Cartoon by Branco. Image reproduced with permission and by arrangement with ComicallyIncorrect.

Michael Busler

Michael Busler

Michael Busler, Ph.D. is a public policy analyst and a Professor of Finance at Stockton University where he teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in Finance and Economics. He has written Op-ed columns in major newspapers for more than 35 years.