As the March 5th deadline laid out by the Trump Administration’s plan to end DACA rapidly approaches, countless numbers of questions and concerns continue to surface. By ending DACA President Donald Trump has passed back the immigration issue to congress in hopes of congress voting on a more permanent solution for The Dreamers. This back-and-forth between the branches of our government surrounding the immigration issue has been happening ever sense 1986, and has been non-stop ever sense.
In 1986 former President Ronald Reagan signed the Immigration Reform and Control Act, also know as IRCA. This piece of legislation would offer a path to citizenship to illegal immigrants by attempting to grant amnesty to the all 3 million immigrants in America at this time. To gain this freedom offered by former President Reagan the immigrants would have to register and pay taxes. The Immigration Reform and Control Act also called for an increase in security and border patrol. Despite the many successes of this bill it failed to execute one thing. The IRCA also attempted to crack-down on businesses and the hiring of illegal immigrants, to help stop the thousands of immigrants who come to America illegally in search of work. Theoretically businesses were not he allowed to hire immigrants unless they had the proper paperwork, but this failed tremendously. The one thing The IRCA did not include was a program to help deal with, and enforce this issue so businesses continued to hire illegal immigrants. The failure of The Immigration Reform and Control Act still tremendously affect America today, because more and more immigrants have continued to come to America illegally in search of work and without enforcement of this new bill businesses continued to hire the illegal workers.
As immigrants continued to come to America they started to bring there families and children. The year 2001 was the first of many times that congress attempted to provide a path to citizenship or amnesty to the young children of immigrants. Utah Senator and Republican, Orrin Grant Hatch and Illinois Senator , Dick Durbin were the first to stand up for the rights of the young immigrants in congress. Hatch and Durbin cosponsored a bill called The D.R.E.A.M Act, which stood for “Development Relief and Education for Alien Minors”. Unfortunately this bill that would provide stability to immigrants that met the requirements was not passed in congress. This bill was the first of many attempts to pass The Dream Act, but each one failed. At this point congress proved that they could not vote on this important issue so former President Barack Obama took the power back into his own hands.
On June 15 2012, 44th President Barack Obama gave a speech stating his remarks on immigration. Throughout his speech Obama explains how “unfair” and “broken” our immigration system is due to Congress not voting, and that his administration will make sure that the system is “more fair, and more efficient” then previous years. Obama even goes as far as calling out congress by saying, “In the absence of any immigration action from Congress to fix our broken immigration system, what we’ve tried to do is focus our immigration enforcement resources in the right places”.
During this speech Obama expressed the fact that we can not go on this way. That we had to deal with immigrants, because Young Dreamers hiding in the shadows not only had a negative impact on them personally but it could have a negative impact on our community. For example, an undocumented alien is less likely to call the police after witnessing a crime in fear of deportation. During his speech Obama also stated that immigrants have a positive impact on our economy, “I will not give up on this issue, not only because it’s the right thing to do for our economy — and CEOs agree with me”. So without consulting Congress Obama used his executive power when he announced his plan of action during this speech by presenting a new program. This new program, would allow children who qualify to apply for a two year program in which The Young Dreamers would not be subject to deportation. This two year program was called The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA. It was specifically set up to protect children who were brought to America under the age of 16 by their parents. These young immigrants were required to meet other guidelines set up by Homeland Security to qualify for this protection. A few examples of these guidelines are you cannot be convicted of a felony, you must have a high school diploma, or be enrolled in school. The only problem with DACA is that there is no pathway to citizenship. It is not a permanent solution, it was a temporary fix.
DACA was intended to be a temporary placeholder until Congress voted on a more permanent solution. There were many new bills and ideas about what to do for these Dreamers, but nothing was passed. Sense Congress failed to present a permanent solution in 2014 Barack Obama was forced to take the power into his own hands for the second time. Obama’s goal was to try and increase and expand DACA and the number of immigrants that are out of the shadows. Homeland security did this by creating a program called DAPA, or The Deferred Action for Parental Accountability. This program would provide temporary protection to undocumented immigrants that are the parent of a U.S. citizen. Many people were not happy with the way Obama used his power including Congress members, and took this the to court. This case went all the way to the Supreme Court which ended in a deadlock due to a tie. This basically froze Obamas plan’s for the dreamers.
One of the people who where unhappy with Obamas use of power is current president Donald Trump. During the Republican primary President Trump promised voters that he would get rid of DACA, because he thought Obama’s use of power was unconstitutional, therefore making it illegal for Former President Barack Obama to create these programs that protected The Dreamers. Trump even went as far as saying “We will immediately terminate President Obama’s two amnesties in which he defied federal law and the constitution”. But as time goes on President Trump’s stance on the dreamers has seemed to change. During a press conference President Trump stated, “I have a great heart for the folks we are talking about, a great love for them…. I have a love for these people and hopefully now Congress will be able to help them and do it properly. Hopefully now Congress will be able to help them.” This statement caused President Trump countless amounts backlash from his own party. Despite what seemed to be a change in Trump’s heart, ultimately the Trump Administration decided to end DACA. But President Donald Trump put the power back in the hands of congress after he extended the end of DACA for 6 months-creating the March 5th deadline. This March 5th deadline was put into place to give congress a chance to vote on a permanent solution that was originally intended from the start. As this deadline approaches it becomes more and more clear that congress can not agree on a solution for dreamers, despite the many bills presented by each party.
Over the past 32 years, our country has continued to dig deeper and deeper into this immigration issue. With the constant passing of power back-and-forth between congress and the president precious time as been wasted and there has not been a permanent solution for our Dreamers. The unstable way our government has handled this is not only bad for the Dreamers it is bad for our communities and economy, because without providing protection for the Dreamers they are less likely to call in crimes or contribute to our economy. Even after presidents have stepped in to help create the solution they have been blocked by courts saying it is “unconstitutional” for their power to be used this way. So as a country we need to call upon our Congress to find a permanent solution for the Dreamers.