Guy W. Farmer: Congress should save the ‘Dreamers’
Although I’m a hard-liner on illegal immigration, I believe Congress should pass a law to protect the so-called “Dreamers” — children who were brought to the States by their illegal immigrant parents — in the wake of President Trump’s controversial decision to end ex-President Obama’s unconstitutional “DACA” (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) Program. Trump put the DACA ball on congressional turf, where it belongs.
The DACA Program is unconstitutional because Obama created it by executive order rather than asking Congress to pass it as a law. Under our Constitution, Congress makes our laws and the president enforces them … except when he doesn’t. Of course I’m referring to Obama’s selective enforcement of our drug and immigration laws. Now, however, we have an attorney general who has vowed to enforce those laws, as he should.
Unsurprisingly, illegal immigration advocates screamed bloody murder Tuesday when Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the DACA Program will end in six months, in March, which gives Congress plenty of time to pass legislation needed to protect legitimate Dreamers. “DACA Decision Sparks Outcry,” headlined the Reno Gazette-Journal, which is usually quick to defend illegal immigrants. “End of DACA Alters 800,000 Futures,” warned USA Today in an ungrammatical headline. You’d think the world is coming to an end, but it isn’t because Congress can guarantee DACA continues for young people who have earned the right to remain in the U.S. — those with clean records who have lived most of their young their lives as proud and productive Americans.
“I don’t favor punishing children … for the actions of their parents,” said Trump as he announced the end of the DACA Program. Neither do I and that’s why I urge Congress to exercise its responsibility for our immigration laws. “Hopefully, Congress will be able to help them, and do it properly,” Trump added, sounding sympathetic to the Dreamers.
Both Carson City Republican lawmakers, Sen. Dean Heller and Congressman Mark Amodei, also support the Dreamers. “I support the program,” Heller said, “and that’s why I’m a co-sponsor of the Bridge Act, which provides legal status for these individuals while Congress works toward a permanent solution.” Amodei, who describes himself as a “pro-immigration Republican,” is co-sponsoring the Recognizing America’s Children Act, which would offer permanent legal status to undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children before January 2012. Fair enough.
“Do not call yourself ‘pro-immigration,’” open borders and illegal immigration advocate Xiomara Rodriguez told Amodei. “If you’re pro-immigration you have to stand up to your party.” Oh by the way, Amodei easily defeated Rodriguez in 2012 for the congressional seat he has held since. Nevada voters may have moved to the left, but not far enough to endorse open borders immigration policies, which would be a national disaster.
Of course the best solution to the illegal immigration dilemma is comprehensive immigration reform, but those are fighting words among right-wing Republicans and Tea Partiers. As I’ve written before, I generally like Trump’s approach, focusing first on border control and criminal illegal immigrants — mostly gang-bangers who have committed felonies like drug trafficking and murder — and taking it easy on illegals who have clean records and speak English, a fundamental requirement for anyone who wants to live and work successfully in our country. I also advocate a guest worker program similar to the old Bracero Program that would allow seasonal workers to come to the U.S. for specified time periods before returning to their native countries.
Bottom line: It’s up to Congress to save the Dreamers. Get to work!
Guy W. Farmer is the Appeal’s senior political columnist.