Opinion

DACA: A Rare Opportunity For Unity

People march outside the White House Aug. 15 at a rally calling on President Donald Trump to protect the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA. (CNS photo/Joshua Roberts, Reuters) See WASHINGTON-LETTER-DACA Aug. 18, 2017.

In this wildly conflict-ridden post election political landscape of conservative and liberal and a seemingly infinite number of other names, one notion that people appear to agree on is that the nation is divided. Various media outlets continue to promote this division with recent misleading and pessimistic headlines such as from the Washington Post: “Trump’s Heartless Decision” and the New York Times: “Trump’s Cowardice on ‘Dreamers’.” These articles contain the dangerous and divisive rhetoric of unsubstantiated inferences on the goals and motives of the current administration with regard to DACA. The authors’ extremism espouses the idea that one if one does not endorse the manner in which the program was passed they also do not support the protections DACA enforced. By putting this proverbial line in the sand, and “if you’re not with us you’re against us” mentality, the authors are only further pushing the left and right apart.

Yet, amidst this chaos arrives an opportunity for both the Republican and Democratic Parties to take a step towards getting meaningful bipartisan legislation similar to DACA passed through legal and constitutional methods. A POLITICO poll found that only 15% of Americans believe that these Dreamers should be deported. Thus, a majority of Americans, on both sides of the aisle, believe Dreamers should legally be allowed in the country. President Trump sides with the majority having said in various interviews such as one in 2012, “How do you tell a family that has been here 20 years get out?” The administration was left with two options due to a lawsuit against DACA. One they could immediately shut down the program and strip the protections or two, protract DACA’s existence for a further six months during which time Congress can pass legislation that gives a permanent and legal standing for this group of people. The “heartless” Trump Administration chose the latter. Nonetheless, with the fate of such a large group of people now resting in uncertainty the fear is natural and understandable.

The passage of a Pro-Dreamer immigration bill is a crucial step in the right direction for repairing a frayed relationship between Americans on the right and left, and is the correct way to ensure Dreamers have a place in America.

What must also be realized is Trump ending DACA is a pathway, albeit a rocky one, towards a solution towards permanently achieving the Dreamer’s legal status within the Country. When Obama enforced the DACA program he recognized that this policy was a stop-gap for larger and more permanent legislation stating, “lets be clear: this is not amnesty, this is not immunity, this is not a path towards citizenship, it’s not a permanent fix.” The reality is DACA was indeed set to expire in 2017, regardless of Trump. Obama’s program was a goodhearted and moral action; however he merely placed a Band-Aid on a wound that requires stitching. It is now up to Congress to pass the measure that the majority of Americans want.

Trump’s actions have brought immigration to the forefront of thought and public debate, possibly even eclipsing his plan for tax reform. He has done what an executive ought to do and set a deadline for a solution and spurred action. Despite the ineffectiveness of Congress the past 8 months to pass meaningful legislation, hope must be had that both sides of the political spectrum can form a measure that supports an institution that the majority of us Americans agree on. The country should be heartened to look and see a President that recently went across the political wall and sided with Democrats, not simply his native party, regarding raising the debt ceiling. Similarly in a demonstration of unity he brought a North Dakotan Democratic Senator (up for reelection in a fiercely Republican state no less) on stage during a rally and in front of the crowd, recognized her good work. The passage of a Pro-Dreamer immigration bill is a crucial step in the right direction for repairing a frayed relationship between Americans on the right and left, and is the correct way to ensure Dreamers have a place in America.

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