In recent weeks, the focus of the illegal immigration debate in Washington has been on whether or not Republicans and Democrats can come together and make some sort of deal that would grant permanent legislative amnesty for the nearly 1,000,000 Dreamers who were cut off from protection by order of President Donald Trump several months ago. Some conservatives say they would like to see a deal made, if it means getting stronger border protections. Others insist that amnesty is always the wrong move and will only serve as a carrot to lure more illegal across the border. Meanwhile, Democrats are signaling a steadfast refusal to offer anything but the lightest possible border concessions in return for amnesty – another possible reason that DACA may be a dead end on Capitol Hill.
But while all of that is going on, it’s worth remembering that Trump’s decision to end DACA – which was set into motion through President Obama’s executive action – is not without its own controversy. Immediately upon ending the program, several lawsuits were filed against the administration. And if the travel ban and the sanctuary cities crackdown and the transgender military ban are the history from which we draw our predictions, there’s an excellent chance the courts will side with the activists suing Trump.
You may wonder how a federal court could possibly block an executive action that is simply rolling back an earlier executive action – that’s basically admitting that the courts believe Obama had more power than Trump – it would make about as much sense as these other rulings against the president. The courts have been playpens for liberal activism for a long time, but never have they been this out of control and this out of sync with the Constitution.
Especially troubling in the case of DACA is we’re looking at an executive order that was almost certainly illegal from the moment it was signed. Like its eventual successor – DAPA – this Deferred Action program circumvented the laws of Congress in a way that the executive branch simply doesn’t have the right to do. It was because the Justice Department felt there was no possible legal defense for the order than Attorney General Jeff Sessions recommended ending the program.
Of course, as we all recall, there was someone else who believed the same.
“With respect to the notion that I can just suspend deportations through executive order,” this wise man once said, “that’s just not the case, because there are laws on the books that Congress has passed. The executive branch’s job is to enforce and implement those laws. There are enough laws on the books by Congress that are very clear in terms of how we have to enforce our immigration system that for me to simply through executive order ignore those congressional mandates would not conform with my appropriate role as President.”
Those are the words of Barack H. Obama – words that he summarily chose to forget when he signed his illegal order only a little while later. When it comes time for the Trump administration to take DACA to the Supreme Court – as they almost certainly will be forced to – they should call upon these words to defend their position.