Jim Gray: Fixing the DACA Program Must Be Done Through Constitutional Means

Regretfully, but not surprisingly, most people are outcome-oriented in both their thinking and their voting. This means that, regardless of the process used, if they like the outcome on an issue they are for it, and if they don’t like it they are against it.

An important and timely example of that is the present controversy about the issue of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA.

Virtually everyone agrees that these “Dreamers,” who were brought into this country illegally by their parents before they turned 16 years of age, are blameless, and that it would in so many ways be an unfair tragedy to deport them. Accordingly, upon balance, the outcome that almost everyone favors is to work out a situation in which those who have been studying and working hard, and have stayed on the right side of the law, can remain in this country, and often even have a pathway to citizenship.

So what is the problem?

Fixing immigration must be done through the Constitution

The first thing that must be done is to fix the immigration system itself, and the best way to do that is to provide work visas rather liberally after a background check for such things as mental, criminal justice and terrorist issues. But no welfare should be attached.

The failure for this system not being fixed is laid directly at the doorstep of Congress because although they talk about it, many of them don’t actually want to. Why? Because many influential Republicans continue to want the cheap labor, and influential Democrats continue to want people coming into our country who are anticipated eventually to vote for Democrats.

In the meantime, millions of people have been harmed. But the responsibility also is laid at the doorstep of President Obama who, according to his own statements, had no authority unilaterally to change the laws and create the DACA program.

He himself said as late as July of 2011 that he would like to change the system on his own, “but that’s not how our system works. That’s not how our Constitution is written.”

So the current proposal to send the issue back to Congress with a six-month window to devise a workable system is one based upon the Constitution. Allowing unilateral actions to pass laws is a direct threat to Liberty.

Maybe many people might like the results of those actions this time, but what about next time? Re-instituting segregation, as done by President Woodrow Wilson? Re-instituting internment camps for Japanese-Americans as done by President Franklin Roosevelt? Those were unilateral acts of which no one today is proud. So, along with obtaining desired results, we must also protect the process – our separation of powers – to protect the Liberty of us all.

(Immigrants and supporters rally and march in opposition to the President Trump order to end DACA, on September 5, 2017, in Los Angeles, United States. The Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program protects young immigrants who grew up in the U.S. after arriving with their undocumented parents from deportation to a foreign country. The executive order by the president removes protection for about 800,000 current “dreamers”, about 200,000 of whom live in Southern California. Congress has the option to replace the policy with legislation before DACA expires on March 5, 2018. Photo by David McNew/Getty Images.)

Comments

comments

Written by

Judge James P. Gray (Ret.) was a judge on the Superior Court of Orange County, California for 25 years, and was the running mate of Gary Johnson in the 2012 presidential contest, as well as the Libertarian Party's 2004 candidate for the United States Senate in California. The author of multiple books and a play, he is a critic of current American drug laws.

No comments

leave a comment