President Trump on Tuesday called for an end to the Obama-era executive action that protects young undocumented immigrants from deportation, urging Congress to replace it with legislation before it begins phasing out on March 5, 2018. So after months of publicly agonizing over the fate of the so-called Dreamers, the Trump version of “agonizing” seems to follow a recognizable process:

  1. Bring the subject up at rallies and media interviews for months, either promising to dismantle something or simply responding with “We’ll see,” depending on the venue.
  2. Set a date to announce a decision, usually calculated to keep those who will be most affected by it in a state of continuous anxiety until the date arrives. If appropriate, schedule the announcement for the Rose Garden with lots of press and those who can be counted on to applaud the decision.
  3. On the designated date, announce the end or the dismantling of the issue at hand.
  4. Leave Congress to clean up the mess.

“I do not favor punishing children, most of whom are now adults, for the actions of their parents,” Mr. Trump said in a written statement. But, he said, the United States is a “nation of opportunity because we are a nation of laws.”

All this keeps the spotlight where it rightfully belongs: on the messenger, rather than the message. And, if higher ratings are desired (or lesser press coverage, whichever is the greater advantage), schedule a major hurricane to accompany the drama.

What other group of children is punished for the actions of their parents? We don’t jail the children of convicted felons, so why are the children of undocumented immigrants being punished? They had no choice when their parents brought them here. Minors under the age of 18 are banned from applying for citizenship without parental consent.

Most of these kids haven’t been back to the countries they were taken from, they don’t speak the language and know nothing of whatever relatives they may have there. Deporting these kids will be like taking our own children and deporting them. These kids are illegally in the US through no fault of their own. It is barbaric to punish the children for the sins of their parents.

No lessons learned

Apparently Trump didn’t learn anything from his healthcare debacle.

You can’t first ask the American people to hire you for the most powerful job on earth, telling them, moreover, that you “alone can fix it”, but then once you arrive in the White House refuse to engage in any serious negotiations with Congress and just threaten to actively (ab)use your power as head of the Executive Branch of government in order to hurt the American people if Congress refuses to pass a bill that the majority of the American people reject.

This is no longer about being “presidential” or not (although using America as a bargaining chip rather than making it great(er) cannot possibly be seen as “presidential”), but about being competent and getting something done in DC or not.

Trump caved entirely to the GOP on healthcare, and started supporting Ryancare, a bill less than 20 percent of the American people support. When he saw that the Senate refused to sign such a horrible bill into law, he threatened to sabotage the current healthcare system in order to hurt as many citizens as possible. Of course, that didn’t go well, so he ended up with no bill at all.

Then he wanted $2 billion for the wall, although only a minority supports the wall and only 18 percent support the idea that taxpayers, not Mexico, pay for it. If Congress refuses, he threatens to shutdown the government; in other words: sabotage the US economy.

And now, he threatens to destroy the lives of a million Americans although a majority supports DACA.

An issue for Congress

Trump is right about one thing, at least: this is an issue for Congress. While we may not trust Congress do to the right thing, we need to stop moving toward a system where important policy decisions are made and implemented through executive fiat. It violates the principle of separation of powers, a bedrock of our democratic system.

While you may have enjoyed the accretion of executive policymaking power during the Obama years, it’s really pretty scary under Trump. We need checks and balances. If you’re intellectually honest with yourself, you know throwing DACA back to Congress is the correct decision.

Congress should grant citizenship to DACA enrolees as part of a legislative package designed to stop future illegal immigration. The package should also:
1. Authorize state, county and city police to enforce federal immigration laws;
2. Empower states, counties and cities to make it unlawful for unauthorized immigrants to reside within their jurisdictions;
3. Make E-Verify mandatory nationwide;
4. Change asylum laws to deny asylum to anyone who enters the country illegally; and
5. Provide funding for an enhanced border fence.

As a separate measure, Congress should initiate a process to reinterpret ort amend the Citizenship Clause to grant birthright citizenship only to children born to parents who are U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents.