The popular conundrum for most conservatives addressing DACA’s eventual legislative replacement is that the 800,000 “DREAMers” can’t be “punished” for their parents’ lawlessness. Many of them are good, productive, patriotic Americans who just want to live like those of us who were either born here or came into the country legally. We can have a heart, right?
There are three problems with DACA that I detailed on Conservative Haven. Those three problems are that the original executive order was likely unconstitutional, there have been many potential legislative fixes that should have been fought for rather than dismissed with the stroke of a pen, and lawlessness was being rewarded (which means future lawlessness will be encouraged).
For these three glaring reasons, I’ve been resolute since it was initially signed in my stance that it should be rescinded and never touched again. It’s unfortunate that President Obama’s actions gave hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants hope that even he knew would eventually be taken away (remember, he said it was a temporary fix). It’s even more unfortunate that rescinding it without a legislative replacement would mean these 800,000 people would be subject to potential deportation, but if we’re to be a sovereign nation we must enforce the law of the land. That law offers legal ways for people to live and work in the country. It’s not fair to people born American citizens or those who immigrated to the country legally (of which I am one) to compete with people who, based upon the law of the land, should not be in the country in the first place.
To be clear, I have absolutely nothing against DREAMers themselves. As so many have pointed out, these are people who were children brought to the country illegally. It’s not their fault and I lay no blame on them, but they should not be rewarded because their parents broke the law. The analogy we see on social media says letting DREAMers stay would be like letting a kid keep a bicycle their parents stole for them just because they’re innocent of the crime itself. Even if they didn’t do the stealing, they still have to give the bike back.
It’s a tough situation. Nobody wants to be the bad guy (though some of us are willing to stand by the truth and the Constitution even if it makes us seem bad to some). As such, it’s pretty clear that there will be a legislative solution to allow DREAMers to stay.
I’m okay with that as long as there’s a very clear trade-off. Allowing them to stay will have consequences. As Streiff over at RedState pointed out, “The solution looks easy: give 800,000 illegals a clear path to citizenship. But what about the next 800,000 that will follow?” To mitigate the damage of allowing DREAMers to stay, the GOP absolutely must leverage the replacement legislation with unambiguous solutions to the rest of our illegal immigration problems.
Before we get to some of the potential solutions, I want to note something about President Trump. I’ve been mixed on his approach to DACA. First, I applauded him, declaring Trump to end DACA the right way for the right reasons. Then, I felt like I’d just been punked when he Tweeted his willingness to “revisit” DACA if Congress failed.
Did we get punked?
I think we got punked.
Is that even still a thing?https://t.co/T7ZWJuGgYb
— JD Rucker (@JDRucker) September 6, 2017
Now, I’m starting to wonder if this is all part of the plan. I seriously doubt it, but I’m holding onto hope that he and GOP leadership are coming at this with a parley in mind. Based upon the GOP’s track record and Trump’s strange Tweet, I’m skeptical. I’m not alone:
Solid negotiation tactic if you know nothing about negotiation. https://t.co/v6pvX515Gr
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) September 6, 2017
With all that said, here are the things that need to be attached to a bipartisan DACA replacement bill:
Criminals get deported. Period.
I don’t care how many dreams a DREAMer has. If he or she has committed a felony, they’re out. I’m not talking about parking tickets, but I’m also not talking about just the violent criminals. This must be viewed as an unearned privilege which means they need to be exemplary legal non-citizens if that’s to be their designation.
Build the wall.
This should be a nobrainer. In a perfect world the “wall” would be a technological security apparatus rather than a physical wall. By using drones, sensors, and detectors, a virtual wall would be more effective, less expensive to build and maintain, and wouldn’t require the obtuse use of eminent domain. Sadly, the wall that President Trump has in mind is as much a permanent monument for his legacy as it is a security measure, so it’ll be an actual wall. Fine. Let’s build it.
Ongoing applications, productivity criteria, and an end goal of proper legal immigration.
Amnesty and pathway to citizenship should be taken off the table, at least in their traditional forms. DREAMers as well as those here on work visas should be allowed to stay but must continue to reapply periodically with job and housing status included. If their intention is to stay indefinitely, they must go through the same process as someone applying to live and work here coming legally from another country. Just because they were brought here illegally doesn’t mean they get special treatment.
No “chain migration” allowed.
The argument that DREAMers are the only beneficiaries of their status must be put to practice. If they choose to stay in this country, they cannot then turn around and bring their family (some of whom broke the law to get them here in the first place) with them. Sounds harsh, right? The phrase “chain migration” is often associated with white supremacists but it’s a real problem despite the association. We have to address this issue or the argument used by defenders of DACA suddenly loses its basis in reality.
One of the biggest problems with DACA is that it encourages people to make the arduous journey across the border in hopes their children can stay. After President Obama signed it, we saw a spike in crossings, particularly from families. This will repeat itself if there’s a window of opportunity. We need that window to close suddenly. No warning. The legislation should include an immediate point in time in which potential DREAMers must make themselves known. Once the date passes, the window of opportunity is shut. No need to encourage a blitz on the border.
No DREAMers in sanctuary cities.
As a Federalist, I do not like the federal government strong-arming cities or states. As a staunch opponent of sanctuary cities, I would love any lawful incentive to make them change their minds. Part of the DACA replacement should include a controversial component: no DREAMer status will be allowed to those living in sanctuary cities. The logic is a stretch but it works: In order to coordinate the proper monitoring and enforcement of DREAMers’ ongoing status, a city must be willing to work with those who enforce the law at the national level.
If Trump is truly the master of the deal and if the GOP is serious about getting something done on immigration and border security, they’ll figure out a way to make this palatable to the Democrats. If all they can muster is a legislative DACA replacement without attaching lawful components to help solve bigger problems, what we’ll see in the coming months is another Republican retreat. They have the leverage. It’s time for them to figure out how to use it.