Get DACA Off the Table

In typical style, Donald Trump created an unnecessary flap when he first announced an end to the protection for the undocumented folks brought to the United States as children who have grown up here, abided by our laws, gotten jobs, paid taxes, attended school, enlisted in our military, and have been all-around exemplary citizens that would allow them to be deported–the Dreamers. After Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the demise of the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) order, a demise he personally supports, Mr. Trump then proceeded to muddy the waters by announcing that he only did this to get Congress to act and get written law on the books. He continued that these people are safe here. He “loves” them. He has a funny way of showing it.

This whole to-do was unnecessary. Mr. Trump could have left the Obama Era executive order (an order executed because Congress refused to act) in tact and written an executive branch bill to send to Congress that would move the EO into established law. Instead he chose to create a sweeps week quality reality show frenzy in lieu of quiet, thoughtful law making.

Getting DACA into codified law, one that cannot be undone with the swish of a president’s pen is the right thing to do, even if it has to be done amidst excessive drama.

These 8000,000 young people need the assurance of permanent safety and status in the United States to pursue their dreams. This should happen easily. 88% of this country supports solving the issue by allowing them to safely stay and participate. 12% want to deport them. 12% is about the same poll popularity as getting the flu.

Here’s where politics will rear its head. Some want to allow Dreamers legal status–a green card for life–while others want to create a path to full citizenship.

The Dreamers themselves are not asking for amnesty. They are fine with getting in line for citizenship honors. They understand it will take years–possibly 15 years or more. The privilege is that important to them. But, there is still a faction in the U.S. that wants to bar them from naturalization, creating yet another group of second-class citizens.

We tried this before. There is the “three-fifths of a person” bit in the Constitution. Next, we demanded that one group of citizens be segregated from using the best utilities and amenities we had to offer–forced to use inferior equipment and forced to look in from the outside of many public facilities, like schools, the library, and museums. It took us 140 years to open voting booths to our mothers, sisters, and wives.  We still don’t have the pay playing field leveled. All this discrimination because some thought/think others weren’t/aren’t equal citizens.

Singer-songwriter Kris Kristofferson pointed out why in his song “Jesus Was a Capricorn”: “… everybody’s gotta have somebody to look down on/Who they can feel better than at any time they please.” It builds some people up to know that even the government believes they are better than some other group.

Thankfully, we now have laws that prohibit most of this kind of action, whether or not some odd clique still believes in a caste system. Individuals are free to think it and talk about it, but they’re not supposed to be able to do anything about it.

I’m all for full amnesty for Dreamers. They are completely faultless in putting themselves in this position. But, even more compelling, this country let them stay for years. We let their parents stay too. We let them get jobs, go to school, be completely acculturated in U.S. society, and no one took the time to even tell a lot of them. To some, not being a citizen came as a shocking teenage surprise when they tried to get a drivers’ license or sign-up for school or the military. I’m for amnesty for them because the United States has long been contributorally negligent in handling this situation. Much like a landowner allowing an easement to be tacitly overused, our non-action in this matter would render us a significant part of the problem and not able to win a judgment in a court of law.

We, as a country, are not blameless in the creation of this problem, and officially admitting these 800,000 as naturalized citizens tomorrow would change or cost nothing for the rest of us. In fact, it would be a moneymaker.

That said, I’ll settle for a real, voted upon Congressional law that secures the Dreamers in this country and gives them a clear path to citizenship–even over time. See? I’m not that hard to deal with. What I won’t settle for is yet another creation of a second-class citizen group who will have to be satisfied to stand on the outside and look in.

We are better than that and now would be a good time to prove it.


  1. Harold White says:

    The DACA executive order by Obama was unconstitutional anyway. The Presidennt is not given the authority to write law, that’s the legislators job.

    • Terry Donnelly says:

      Mr. White, Executive orders are law until they are negated by passed law from Congress, ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, or overruled by a president. You may not agree with Mr. Obama’s EO, but it indeed is law until one of the three branches of government decides to vanquish it. The clock is ticking on this EO but it is still established law until the clock on Mr. Trump’s words toll.

  2. Jeanne O'Malley says:

    Donnelly for President. Or I would settle for Prime Minister.

  3. Herb Calhoun says:

    Mr. Donnelly we do have “a for real, voted upon law”. DACA was a great vote getting executive action that choose to look the other way rather than upholding the law of the land as sworn in the oath of office
    I also would like to see congress act in a responsible manner and update our immigration laws but until that is done we must follow the rule of law. For eight years we had a justice department that did not do their job and enforce our laws. They used WHO you are or how much money you have rather than follow the laws. It is time we get back to the “Rule of Law” applied equally to all citizens.

  4. Wayne Benenson says:

    Aren’t we all Dreamers (except Native Americans) though that label didn’t exist for my generation. My grandfathers were immigrants to this country. They did all the things necessary to become a citizen. Both my mother & father became model citizens, contributing economically and politically (voting & jury duty) to this country. Ditto for me and my sibs. We are part of that 88% who agree that DACA is insurance to a bright future for this country. Maybe my math is rusty, but I thought 88% represented the opinion of a majority of citizens. When did the support of 12% become the basis of a new political norm? Did I miss the memo?

  5. Connie Foust says:

    Where did the 88% come from. All polls are suspect because of the way the questions are asked to skew the outcome, so I do not put a lot of stock in that number Terry.

    If perhaps you ever were at the border and were involved in situations of abuse from coyotes leaving the weak behind to die in the desert you could get on board with border security. If perhaps you found Quran’s and prayer rugs on the desert, you would support border security. If perhaps you had ever seen a rape tree you would help build that wall.

    I have seen all of these things and so much more. We need to secure the border and assist DACA recipients in getting square with the government. However, we should not give them more than we give our own children, who also have dreams. We should insist on English only and assimilation, and if they commit a felony they should be subject to immediate deportation.

    Common sense needs to be used and not the heart wrenching bloviating of someone who has never really done more than hire a guy with a rake for cheap wages. Driving down wages for American dreamers.

    It really gets more than annoying listening to progressive’s or reading their diatribes on issues where they get their information from liberal news sources who are pushing a destroy America agenda.

    • Terry Donnelly says:

      Ms. Faust, I used a few polls to extrapolate my data. I agree there is a margin of error. Most margins are plus or minus three to five percent, but even if I give you 20% those numbers are still overwhelming that Americans want Dreamers to stay.

      We could certainly have a discussion about border control, but I didn’t speak to that issue in this column. I’m not sure what border security has to do with Dreamers. Most of those families came across legally with work visas and overstayed. Even if they did walk across with their families illegally, that was so long ago that the original reason has been lost: hence my comments about the U.S.’s contributory negligence.

      They are called Dreamers because they officially qualify. They all speak English because it is their native language. They are assimilated because they have no recollection of ever living anywhere else. They are not felons as a condition of being sanctified a Dreamer. We are not giving them any more than we give our own children who grew up here just like the Dreamers.

      Don’t confuse Dreamers with seasonal or undocumented workers. These young people tend to have education and jobs that benefit the country. They are not anything like the drain on the economy you’d have readers believe.

      Wherever you are getting your information about Dreamers, it has let you down. They are none of what you describe. Before criticizing me for my research ethic, you may need to broaden yours.

  6. Sometimes we have to follow the Constitution of the United States of America. Not a presidents reelection stunt that was unconstitutional when DACA was put in place. When this executive order was put in place it had to be renewed every 2 years this president followed the law.

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