- DACA was a temporary, constitutionally-questionable response to an extremely sensitive issue
- The best place to create a resolution to the Dreamer’s status will be in Congress
- Senator Tillis needs to consider his constituency’s voice, as well as economic factors, when crafting new immigration policy
Yesterday President Trump issued a statement confirming his decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Then-President Obama started DACA with a constitutionally-questionable 2012 executive order that deferred legal proceedings against hundreds of thousands of youth and young adults that were brought here illegally by their guardians and effectively usurped the legislative powers of Congress.
North Carolina Senator Thom Tillis has been very outspoken about his intentions to craft and advance what he considers to be a bipartisan approach to immigration. He has praised the president’s decision to rescind DACA, while promising to offer a legislative alternative that will do more than an executive order could. The Recognizing America’s Children Act, which is the vehicle Tillis is presently lauding as the way forward in post-DACA America would enshrine into law a contingency-based amnesty program for Dreamers.
Not everyone, however, is pleased with this proposal, given the myriad of issues that would push up against its effectiveness. Dan Cadman of the Center for Immigration Studies has written extensively on this topic and asserts:
Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) has… suggested a “conservative amnesty” (whatever that might be) that would require recipients to hold a job, go to post-secondary school, or join the military before being given a green card. In truth, that sounds fairly pedestrian. Holding a job, any job, isn’t much of a burden, and you can bet that if-or-when the legislation is fleshed out in regulations it will include all kinds of caveats. If you left one job flipping burgers and took on another three months later, is that a “meaningful” interruption of your work history? How many meaningful interruptions can you get away with? This is the kind of minutiae that will grind its way through the bureaucracy and the courts until virtually anyone anywhere with any kind of job will become entitled to the resident card. And having them join the military doesn’t really sound like a good idea either. A spin-off of that notion was tried with the MAVNI program, and it was disastrous, resulting in numbers of AWOL individuals and suspected national security breaches. Such things actually degrade military readiness; they don’t promote it.
On the other end of the spectrum, Republican strategist Garret Ventry sees Tillis’ immigration strategy as centrist and attuned to the desires of North Carolina voters. He believes Sen. Tillis “wants to find as many bipartisan solutions as he can. He thinks those are wins for him personally and politically… North Carolina is moving to the center.”
Ventry’s assessment of North Carolina’s political climate is questionable. With the Republican-led, veto-proof majority in the General Assembly since 2011, registered Democrats changing their voter registration status, and Trump’s victory in NC, it doesn’t seem that our state is as purple as some perceive. This is a reality Sen. Tillis will want to take into account as he begins promoting the RAC Act.
Whichever way Congress goes, they must take into account a number of factors that are full of nuance, especially when it comes to Dreamers, who are a unique sub-set of the illegal immigrant population. Congress must be responsive to the will of their constituents but also consider the economic impact of partial-amnesty or deportation, as well as the impact their legislation will have on future immigration.