Bipartisan compromise and cooperation is critical for a legislative solution for undocumented immigrants brought here as children and covered under the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals.
While former President Obama pushed the limits of executive authority in creating DACA to shield up to 2 million young people from deportation, it has always been up to Congress to resolve the issue at hand.
Congress members of both parties and a majority of Americans agree these young people should not be punished for having been brought to the United States as children and should be allowed a path to citizenship. According to a Politico/Morning Consult poll conducted in September, even most Donald Trump supporters (60 percent) support allowing Dreamers to stay.
Allowing DACA recipients to stay in the United States and become legal residents and citizens is not only supported by the majority of Americans, but it’s fundamentally the right thing to do.
DACA recipients, who by the rules of the program came to the United States before turning 16 and have lived in the country since June 15, 2007, are effectively as American as anyone born here, often knowing only American culture.
To deport young people raised and educated in the U.S., including many with college degrees and some who have even served in our military, would do nothing to make America a safer or more prosperous country, but rather sacrifice the talent and education of young immigrants for the sake of an unpopular political point.
Even with noted popular support for protecting DACA recipients, though, getting Congress to finally act and come up with a legislative solution has proven difficult. While Democratic leaders briefly threatened a government shutdown last year to get a DACA fix, that clearly didn’t materialize.
Negotiations, meanwhile, have been ongoing. Several lawmakers have been working to come up with a possible compromise solution — generally trading DACA protections for greater border security — and the White House has thrown out demands.
Reps. Will Hurd, R-Texas, and Pete Aguilar, D-Redlands, have come up with one possible solution. The bill would offer qualifying individuals the chance to get a green card, while increasing border security and increasing the number of immigration judges and attorneys. A prior House effort by members of the Problem Solvers Caucus broke down over concerns about proposed border security measures.
In the Senate, negotiations led by Sens. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, and Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, are also ongoing.
This is how this issue should have been approached in the first place, with Congress negotiating a legislative solution to a problem of national concern, rather than allowing the executive branch to exert too much control over a contentious issue.
With President Trump’s March deadline for DACA expiration looming, we urge Congress to promptly and responsibly resolve this issue in accordance with the wishes of the American people. Perhaps if Congress can get this done, we can get around to discussing reasonable solutions to dealing with the 10 million other undocumented immigrants in the country.
— The Orange County Register