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Tag: daca

Political Dysfunction Holds Innocent 'Dreamers' In Purgatory

Someday, many years from now, historians will use the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program as a case study in the monumental dysfunction of American democracy in the early 21st century. But there is no guarantee that the issue will be consigned to the history books by then. Many of the "dreamers" could pass on to the next world before our political institutions have settled their fate in this world.

DACA was initiated in 2012 by President Barack Obama after he gave up on persuading Congress to pass legislation that both Democrats and many Republicans — including President George W. Bush — thought was wise and necessary. The program allowed foreigners brought here illegally as children to remain in the United States and eventually gain citizenship if they met certain criteria.

Broad public support for legislation was not enough to overcome irresponsible fearmongering and partisan gridlock. The blameless became the victims of the feckless.

Obama resorted to executive authority to grant a reprieve to hundreds of thousands of young people who were American in everything but citizenship documents — having grown up here, attended school here and even served in the U.S. military. But DACA was quickly mired in litigation that cast the intended beneficiaries into a perpetual purgatory.

Last week, a federal judge in Texas struck it down as a violation of federal administrative law. "The executive branch cannot just enact its own legislative policy when it disagrees with Congress's choice to reject proposed legislation," wrote Judge Andrew Hanen. At the same time, he specified that his decision does not "require DHS or the Department of Justice to take any immigration, deportation, or criminal action against any DACA recipient, applicant, or any other individual that it would not otherwise take." The "Dreamers" remain in limbo.

Americans can reasonably disagree on how to combat undocumented migration and what to do with foreigners who choose to break our laws in coming here. But the point of expelling those who didn't make that choice is beyond comprehension.

It would amount to punishing children for the sins of their parents. It would also amount to punishing grandchildren: DACA recipients have given birth to 250,000 U.S. citizens.

It would mean wasting the investment Americans have made to educate these members of our community. It would mean forfeiting their productive skills, to the detriment of the economy. It would deprive companies of workers and destroy small businesses founded by people pursuing the American dream.

But it would not deter migration. The Central Americans now waiting at our southern border didn't embark on a death-defying 1,000-mile journey because of an executive order issued nine years ago that may not survive. They did it out of a desperate desire to escape violence and poverty. Expelling every "dreamer" wouldn't keep a single migrant away.

On Monday, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recognized as much, ruling against environmentalists and ranchers who said DACA violated the law mandating an environmental impact review for some major federal actions. The unanimous panel rejected the ridiculous claim that the program entices more foreigners to sneak in.

Wrote Judge Jay Bybee: "Plaintiffs ask us to assume that aliens outside the United States who are, by definition, ineligible for DACA relief would learn about the policy; mistakenly believe it applicable to them or that they might obtain similar relief from a future administration; come to the United States based on their misconceptions; and permanently settle near Plaintiffs, thereby increasing the population and straining environmental resources. The attenuation in this chain of reasoning, unsupported by well-pleaded facts, is worthy of Rube Goldberg."

Republicans in Congress have long criticized DACA as an illegal use of executive power. But the logical response would be for them to usurp this presidential decree by passing a bill to protect the "Dreamers." Many GOP members say they can't abide such legislation until the border is "secure," which is the equivalent of not going to confession until you're sure you'll never sin again.

A Pew Research Center poll last year found that 74 percent of Americans, including 54 percent of Republicans, support legislation to grant permanent legal status to the "Dreamers." The support has been there for a long time. But the state of our democracy is such that the solution the American people want is one they may forever be denied.

Follow Steve Chapman on Twitter @SteveChapman13 or at https://www.facebook.com/stevechapman13. To find out more about Steve Chapman and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

Biden Promises To Appeal DACA Ruling, Urges 'Path To Citizenship'

By David Morgan WASHINGTON (Reuters) -President Joe Biden on Saturday vowed to preserve a program that protects from deportation hundreds of thousands of immigrants brought to the United States as children, promising to appeal a judge's "deeply disappointing" ruling invalidating it and urging Congress to provide them a path to citizenship. U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen on Friday ruled in favor of a group of states led by Republican-governed Texas that sued to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Hanen concluded that Democratic former President Barack Obama exceeded...

The Dreamers Are Still Waiting For Their Nightmare To End

In 2001, two U.S. senators introduced the DREAM Act, to let immigrants brought here without authorization as children remain in the country. Democrat Dick Durbin of Illinois and Republican Orrin Hatch of Utah didn't know how fitting the name would be. Today, the idea of granting legal status to these innocents is just that — a dream.

This is legislation that both parties should be able to agree on — and, to some extent, have. It would be an act of compassion for people who have grown up to be Americans, despite the accident of their foreign birth, and become productive members of our society. It would also be a service to everyone else, by ensuring the continuation of their valuable contributions — as doctors, nurses, teachers, construction workers and more — while opening up wider opportunities for them to contribute.

The usual complaints about immigrants, undocumented or otherwise, don't apply to the people who would benefit, known as "Dreamers." They didn't choose to violate our immigration laws. The vast majority has grown up speaking English and integrating into society. The legalization would include only those who earned a high school diploma or General Education Degree, haven't committed crimes and exhibit "good moral character." MS-13 need not apply.

This change has found its way into one major immigration bill after another, including a 2006 package that had the support of President George W. Bush as well as such Republican senators as Lindsey Graham, John McCain and Sam Brownback. That year, 23 GOP senators voted for it as part of an immigration overhaul. But it has never managed to become law.

It has been in abeyance for so long that some of the children who stood to gain back in 2001 have become parents. At this point, deporting the "Dreamers" would do grave harm not only to them but to their American-born children. But the measure has stayed on the shelf, in a triumph of indifference, inertia, cruelty and political dysfunction.

In 2012, confronted with this maddening failure, Barack Obama issued an executive order shielding these immigrants from expulsion. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program granted temporary protection to some 700,000 people. Republicans denounced it as a shocking overreach by a would-be king — back before they learned to love untrammeled presidential power. They forgot Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush had taken similar action to block the removal of large numbers of undocumented immigrants.

When the virulently anti-immigration Donald Trump became president, he ordered an end to DACA. But federal courts ruled against him; the program remained in effect; and this year, the Supreme Court saved it, finding that the administration failed to follow federal law in rescinding it.

For the "Dreamers," the decision was a reprieve. The next administration would like to make it permanent. Joe Biden's campaign website said: "Dreamers and their parents should have a roadmap to citizenship through legislative immigration reform. But in the meantime, Biden will remove the uncertainty for Dreamers by reinstating the DACA program, and he will explore all legal options to protect their families from inhumane separation."

DACA's opponents, however, have not given up their merciless crusade to punish the blameless. In July, acting secretary Chad Wolf ordered DHS to reject all new applications — only to be overruled by a federal court, which ordered the department to resume taking them.

On Tuesday, Texas and eight other Republican-controlled states asked a federal court in Houston to strip the "Dreamers" of their protection. That would allow their deportation to countries that, for many, are no more familiar than Antarctica.

The states supporting DACA argued that the court should bide its time until the new administration arrives and decides what to do. If the court should strike it down, Biden could unilaterally fashion a new program, which might or might not survive judicial review.

All this would have been avoided had Congress mustered the humanity to pass legislation protecting them. Trump professed "love" for the "Dreamers" and vowed to help them. But over the past four years, neither he nor his allies in Congress could bring themselves to do the right thing.

In the closing weeks of his presidency, Trump has granted clemency to all sorts of vile people who committed serious crimes. The "Dreamers," who did nothing wrong, are still waiting for their absolution.

Steve Chapman blogs at http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/chapman. Follow him on Twitter @SteveChapman13 or at https://www.facebook.com/stevechapman13. To find out more about Steve Chapman and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

Judge Rules DHS Chief Was Appointed Illegally — And Restores DACA

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

A federal judge said Saturday that Chad Wolf was not legally serving as acting homeland security chief when he issued a July memo limiting protections under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, so the memo is invalid.

"This is a victory for our courageous plaintiffs, DACA-eligible youth across the country, and all of our communities," Trudy S. Rebert, staff attorney at the National Immigration Law Center, said in a statement.

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High Court Curtails Another Hateful Trump Policy

You'd think that any American president would be delighted to welcome hard-working and ambitious young adults clamoring to join the American family. But President Donald J. Trump has been openly hostile to black and brown people he could paint as "other" -- dangerous, lazy, lawless, un-American.

Resurrecting the rage, resentment and racism of George Wallace for an era in which immigration has changed the nation's demographics, Trump has created concentration camps at the southern border, bottlenecked asylum requests and deported people for traffic offenses. He has even gone after the young adults known as "Dreamers," mostly darker-skinned residents who are citizens in every way but the most technical: They weren't born here.

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Republicans Attack Supreme Court (And Roberts) After Week Of Historic Decisions

Donald Trump and Republican lawmakers are launching attacks on the conservative-leaning Supreme Court after it handed down two decisions the Trump administration fought against.

The first win came Monday, when the court said in a 6-3 decision that employers cannot discriminate against employees on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. The Trump administration had argued against expanding protections to LGBTQ workers.

And on Thursday, the court ruled in a 5-4 decision that Trump unlawfully terminated the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program — which allows undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as minors under no fault of their own to attend school and work in the U.S.

That decision, written by Chief Justice John Roberts, was less of a concrete win for immigrant rights advocates, as it gave an opening for Trump to terminate the program again, according to legal experts. The decision merely ruled that the way Trump initially terminated the program was unlawful.

Still, it was a rebuke that angered both Trump and other members of the Republican Party.

"These horrible & politically charged decisions coming out of the Supreme Court are shotgun blasts into the face of people that are proud to call themselves Republicans or Conservatives," Trump tweeted Thursday morning. "We need more Justices or we will lose our 2nd. Amendment & everything else. Vote Trump 2020!"

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), one of Trump's fiercest defenders on Capitol Hill, specifically attacked Roberts, the George W. Bush appointee who was the deciding vote on the DACA case.

"Chief Justice Roberts does it again. First, Obamacare. Now, DACA. What's next? Our second amendment gun rights?" Jordan tweeted, referencing a 2012 decision in which Roberts sided with the liberal justices to rule that the Affordable Care Act was constitutional.

Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) posted a video to Twitter attacking Roberts for the decision.

"I'm extremely disappointed in this decision & in CJ Roberts for continuing to side against the rule of law," Biggs tweeted.

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) also had choice words for Roberts, who he suggested was legislating from the bench.

"If the Chief Justice believes his political judgment is so exquisite, I invite him to resign, travel to Iowa, and get elected," Cotton told CNN's Manu Raju. "I suspect voters will find his strange views no more compelling than do the principled justices."

Rep. Scott Desjarlais, a Tennessee Republican who once urged multiple women he had sexual relations with to get abortions despite being publicly anti-abortion, called Roberts' DACA decision "painful."

"Roberts is wrapping himself around the axle to find a way to punt a political decision rather than make the right legal determination," DesJarlais tweeted. "Sounds like he's in Congress instead of the Supreme Court."

And Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) said this week has been the "most disappointing week at this #SCOTUS in years."

"The Court continues to fashion one set of review standards under the Administrative Procedure Act for Democrat administrations and another for Republicans," Hawley tweeted.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

For Dreamers. A Temporary Reprieve

On Thursday, the Supreme Court stopped President Donald Trump from inflicting the devastation that candidate Trump had vowed to inflict on 700,000 young immigrants in this country.

This is a temporary reprieve, which makes this another reason why this year's presidential election is the most important one in our lifetime, no matter our age. Casting our vote is our last chance to stop the most dangerous man to inhabit the White House before he burns to the ground whatever remains of the American dream.

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Trump’s Immigration ‘Reform’ Is A Dishonest Failure

Listening to Donald Trump lay out his vision of immigration policy is like scavenging in a garbage dump. You will probably find some things worth keeping, but you have to wade through a lot of trash to find it. And you can be sure that whatever you really need won’t be there.

His address Thursday would not have been complete without the familiar, false Trump themes that animate him and many of his loyal followers. He accused Democrats of favoring “open borders.” He portrayed the status quo as “lawless chaos.” He insisted that immigrants are a threat to U.S. jobs.

It’s all nonsense. Last year, 44 Senate Democrats voted to give him $25 billion for his border wall – the antithesis of “open borders.” All they wanted in exchange was a path to citizenship for 1.8 million undocumented immigrants (the “dreamers”) brought here as children. But 42 Republicans were opposed.

If there is turmoil at the border, it’s not lawless or dangerous. The surge of migrants at the southern border consists mostly of people from Central America requesting asylum. They are entitled to apply for refuge from persecution under both U.S. law and international conventions signed by the U.S. government.

The real chaos is in the violent places these applicants have fled, which the administration shows little interest in trying to ameliorate. In fact, Trump has announced a cut of $450 million in aid to El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.

If immigrants are stealing jobs from Americans, why is the U.S. unemployment rate the lowest it has been since 1969? Filling jobs is not a zero-sum game, where each job done by a foreigner means unemployment for an American citizen. Migrants from abroad, legal or undocumented, also create jobs. Economists generally conclude that they have little if any negative effect on wages.

For Trump to address the broad issue of immigration while offering nothing for those foreigners protected under Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals is unconscionable as policy and inept as politics.

Many if not most of these young people are American in every way except their place of birth. To expel them to places most of them hardly remember, whose language they may not even speak, would be pointless cruelty. But Trump can’t be bothered to find a way to let them stay.

His refusal dooms any proposal that needs the approval of Congress. If the opposition party wasn’t prepared to abandon the “dreamers” when Republicans had a majority in both houses, it isn’t going to do so now that Nancy Pelosi is speaker of the House. A package that does nothing for the DACA population is as viable as a snowball in a sauna.

This is no secret even in the administration. The Washington Post reported, “A number of White House aides are skeptical of the plan having any chance of passing and say the president having a Rose Garden speech for immigration is a waste of his time.”

But his plan’s fatal elements may be a feature, not a bug. Anything that could be passed into law would provoke the fury of anti-immigration voters. They aren’t content with preventing unauthorized arrivals; they also insist on blocking foreigners from coming legally.

Mark Krikorian, head of the Center for Immigration Studies, complained beforehand that Trump’s blueprint would “not include any reduction in the overall level of legal immigration.” This comes as a disappointment from those who applauded when Trump announced that “our country is full.” But because his plan has no chance of passage, it should not alienate this loyal bloc.

He wants to replace family-based immigration with a “merit-based” system that gives preference to foreigners based on skills, English proficiency, education and job offers. Though that approach is not entirely without, um, merit, the U.S. economy doesn’t benefit only from foreigners who can work at tech firms. Those willing to pick vegetables and process poultry are also assets. We can admit both.

Conservatives often say that would-be immigrants should follow the rules, get in line, and wait their turn. But the White House admits that under this policy, many people who have done that — often waiting years — would have to go to the back of the line.

That shameful feature highlights another way that listening to Trump on immigration resembles a visit to the dump. Afterward, you need a shower.

Steve Chapman blogs at http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/chapman. Follow him on Twitter @SteveChapman13 or at https://www.facebook.com/stevechapman13. To find out more about Steve Chapmanand read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.