ACRU

Trump Right That Congress, Not President, Should Decide on DACA

White House - Sunset

This column by ACRU Policy Board member Hans von Spakovsky was published September 7, 2017 by The Daily Signal.

Many have been criticizing President Donald Trump for ending the DACA program, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, that was implemented by President Barack Obama back in 2012, but it was the right thing to do under what we are, which is a constitutional republic.

Why? Because the president doesn’t have the authority to decide who should be in the United States legally when it comes to immigrants. That power resides entirely in Congress.

Why do we know that? Well, the Constitution says it, plus Obama himself admitted it. On numerous public occasions, before he put this provision in, he complained about the fact that he was not a king, that he didn’t have the power to do this, that this was a congressional responsibility, and yet he … then did it anyway, I think because it was an election year.

The point here is not to … discuss whether this is a good policy or a bad policy or what we should do for individuals who were very young when they came to the United States. The point here … is that the president doesn’t have the power to do this. This is something that only Congress can do, and the president acted in a way that he’s not allowed to under our Constitution.

Not only did Obama admit that, but we also know it’s true because, remember, there was a federal court case filed when he tried to put in a second program, the DAPA program, which applied to individuals who were adults when they came here illegally. The federal courts enjoined that plan, didn’t allow the president to put it in, ’cause they said, “He doesn’t have the power to do this.”

The debate about what to do about individuals who were very young when they came to the United States belongs in the halls of Congress, not in the White House.