Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) has been a main subject of Republican political discussion since its inception in 2012. Although the DACA executive action, as well as the program it created, will in all likelihood be gone before the end of the Trump administration, the dilemma regarding what to do with the Dreamers, a specific class of young aliens DACA aimed to help, will for the time being go unsolved. Many Republicans are ardent opponents of DACA, but there are several high profile lawmakers in the Republican party who are not as opposed as others: these lawmakers are referred to commonly as immigration doves. DACA is a contentious issue within the Republican party, largely because it has to do with the subject of illegal immigration, which the vast amount of Republicans are fundamentally against. While most Republicans are opposed to the DACA executive order, there are some who believe the Dreamers should be allowed to stay because they contribute in many ways to American society. In the following sections, a brief history of the DACA executive order will be outlined, followed by a few brief summaries of where high profile Republicans stand on the issue of DACA.
What is DACA?
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals was regarded by many Democrats to be a hallmark of the Obama administration’s second term in office, but most Republicans felt otherwise. The DACA executive order intended to aid the Dreamers, undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children. Under DACA, migrants had to apply in order to receive protected status, and records indicate that about 800,000 did so while the program was in operation; at the moment, close to 690,000 people are enrolled in DACA, and most of these people, about 80 percent, come from Mexico.
In early September of 2018, the Trump administration ended the DACA program after 11 states threatened to sue the government, and in the following month the renewing of permits ceased; those who already have protected status, however, will keep this status for two years. The first group of Dreamers are slated to lose their protections by March of 2019, which means they will become subject to deportation thereafter. A California judge temporarily blocked all deportation of Dreamers, but this injunction is likely to be lifted within the near future. Pew Research found that the majority of polled Americans (74 percent) are in favor of granting some legal status for the Dreamers, and many leaders from the business community have been vocal about their support as well. Republicans have by and large been critical of DACA and the protections it gives undocumented immigrants, but there are a few figureheads in the party who have spoken up on behalf of the contrary position.
Paul Ryan on DACA
Although former Speaker of the House Paul Ryan will be giving up his leadership position in the beginning of 2018, he was one of the loudest Republican advocates for the DACA program, and his arguments garnered a lot of bipartisan support. Mr. Ryan and President Trump butted heads over the issue of DACA, and Mr. Ryan and other Republicans promised to push legislation in order to protect the Dreamers, through legislative means, if the Trump administration was unwilling to do so from the executive branch. Back in September of 2018, Mr. Trump said at a meeting inside the oval office, while being flanked by young illegal immigrants, that: “We love the Dreamers. We think the Dreamers are terrific.” Mr. Trump and Mr. Ryan both agree that former President Barack Obama was wrong to create the DACA program in the first place, but where their opinions differ is on the subject of what to do with the program now: Mr. Ryan is against killing it while Mr. Trump is not opposed if it means he will not have to face backlash from a large segment of immigration hardliners within the Republican party; Mr. Trump opposed the program on the 2016 campaign trail, but he allowed it to continue until doing some became an unpopular position. Back in 2018, Paul Ryan said this about the Dreamers: “These are kids who know no other country, who were brought here by their parents and don’t know another home. And so I really do believe there needs to be a legislative solution.”
Senator Lindsey Graham on DACA
Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina has been a longtime supporter of the Dreamers, and his advocacy for DACA is in part what garnered the support of other Senate Republicans. “How would you feel if you were one of those Dream Act kids knowing the only thing between you and certainty is Congress?” Mr. Graham asked administration officials at the Senate hearing back in October of 2018.
Senator Charles Grassley on DACA
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Senator Charles Grassley (R., Iowa) has been a supporter of DACA for awhile, and this support largely comes from his belief in the e-Verify system. Mr. Grassley has said that all employers should be required to use the E-verify system in order to check on a potential employee’s working eligibility, for a system like this would make deportation of criminals easier and it would as well speed up deportation of asylum seekers who are unable to support their claims.
Senator John Cornyn on DACA
Senator Cornyn of Texas is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and he is as well a Rebpublican supporter of DACA: Mr Cornyn said at a Senate hearing in late last year: “[We] should not be penalize [young people] for being brought here illegally through no fault of their own.” Following this statement though, he offered this caveat: “Before we provide legal status to these young people, we must reassure and actually regain the public confidence that we’re serious when it comes to enforcing the law and securing our borders.”
Issues regarding DACA and the Dreamers the program aimed to serve will continue to go unsolved until legislation is passed through Congress, and this is a point that virtually every branch of government, as well as large segments of the population, have come accept for the time being.
- The Dreamers and DACA, Explained – Wall Street Journal
- Paul Ryan Urges Trump to Keep ‘Dreamers’ Program – Wall Street Journal
- Senate Republicans Signal Support for ‘Dreamers,’ With Conditions – Wall Street Journal
- What Are DACA And DAPA? DACA And DAPA Definition
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- What Is The DREAM Act? DREAM Act Definition
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