GOP Leaders Reverse Course on President Obama’s DACA

hatch Ryan

Regardless of what Republicans said and how much they bemoaned and criticized President Barack Obama’s agenda and policies, they know he was fundamentally right nearly all the time because he governed from a centrist position and always for the benefit of the people; it is why he easily won two consecutive presidential elections. Interestingly, Republican leaders are now supporting an Obama immigration policy they screamed like banshees was an atrocity, and an abuse of his executive power, and they are using Obama’s reasoning to convince their racist hero Trump to preserve the immigration executive order protecting the so-called “Dreamers.”

Americans have been hearing that Trump is on the verge of canceling President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. DACA allows “undocumented” immigrants who were brought to America as children avoid deportation and acquire work permits. A move by Trump to end DACA will not go over well with the public, or the business community, and now it is not going over well with leading Republicans. Most Americans believe that undocumented children who were hauled over the border by their parents through no fault of their own and have no legal or criminal issues in their records should be shown compassion and allowed to stay, work and thrive in America.

In fact, the business sector employing roughly 800,000 people authorized to work through DACA are opposed to Trump ending DACA, and it is most likely that they are putting pressure on “business friendly” Republicans to rein in Trump’s threat to end the program. On Friday, the business sector pressure to save DACA apparently inspired two “prominent Republican” legislators to publicly appeal to Trump to allow Congress to come up with a long-term resolution to DACA instead of canceling it unconditionally.

One of the prominent Republicans was House Speaker Paul Ryan who, after criticizing President Obama for initiating the program, actually used President Obama’s exact reasoning for creating it in the first place. Ryan said regarding Trump’s threat to eliminate DACA and deport at least 800,000 people:

“I don’t think he should do that. This is something Congress has to fix. President Obama did not have the authority to do what he did. Having said all that there are people who are in limbo. These are kids who know no other country, who were brought here by their parents and don’t know another home. So I really do believe there needs to be a legislative solution, that’s one we’re working on, and I think we want to give people piece of mind. I think the president Trump ‘mentioned’ a humane solution to this problem, and I think that’s something we in Congress are working on and need to deliver on.”

Now, if Ryan really believes his own sophistry about DACA being something Congress has to fix, then why did Republicans in Congress throw a fit when President Obama appealed to them to “do something” to fix the problem? And why did they work tirelessly to defeat “the Dream Act” that would have eliminated any need for a Presidential executive order? For dog’s sake, President Obama’s executive order creating DACA was in June 2012 and Republicans have had over five years to “do something to fix” it with a permanent solution; including re-introducing and passing the Dream Act.

Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) reiterated Ryan’s appeal to Trump, and used President Obama’s reasoning for “providing a workable path forward for the ‘Dreamer’ population.” Hatch said in a statement:

“I’ve urged the president Trump not to rescind DACA, an action that would further complicate a system in serious need of a ‘permanent legislative solution.’ Like the president Trump, I’ve long advocated for tougher enforcement of our existing immigration laws. But we also need a workable, permanent solution for individuals who entered our country unlawfully as children through no fault of their own and who have built their lives here. And that solution must come from Congress. Over the coming months, I’ll be working closely with my colleagues in Congress to pass meaningful immigration reform … that will provide a workable path forward for the Dreamer population, and ensure that employers have access to the high-skilled workers they need to succeed.”

The same question that Paul Ryan must be compelled to answer applies to Orrin Hatch; why did Republicans in Congress vote against the Dream Act on at least three separate occasions over several years? Nothing changed for the undocumented immigrants who were brought here as children “through no fault of their own, are in limbo, know no other country, and don’t know another home.”

It is noteworthy that Hatch was a co-sponsor of the bill’s first iteration in 2001, and that five Democrats joined Republicans in voting against the last version in 2011. But the point is that if it is so important to Republicans now for Trump to allow Congress to pass a version of the Dream Act as a permanent solution to DACA, it is glaringly apparent that the only reason Republicans opposed it when President Obama appealed to their compassionate side was because it was President Obama.

It was also reported that Tennessee’s Republican Attorney General, Herbert H. Slavery III, had signed on to an “ultimatumletter with nine other GOP attorneys general and one Republican governor warning Trump that if he failed to kill DACA by September 5, they would “sue to block it in court.” However, yesterday, Friday, Slatery “publicly withdrew his demand” and urged Trump to not only keep DACA in place, but to work with Congress to protect young undocumented immigrants.

In a letter to Tennessee’s two Republican senators, Slatery wrote, in part:

Many of the DACA recipients, some of whose records I reviewed, have outstanding accomplishments and laudable ambitions, which if achieved, will be of great benefit and service to our country. They have an appreciation for the opportunities afforded them by our country. There is a human element to this …  that is not lost on me and should not be ignored.”

It is nearly impossible to imagine Republicans have had a change of heart, and are serious about “the human element” in seeking a permanent fix for Dreamers; these are Republicans and they are bereft of compassion as a matter of course. It is more likely they were pressed by the business sector to publicly appeal to Trump to let them resolve the issue for the sake of profits, not compassion. They had several stellar opportunities over the course of several years to pass the Dream Act and avoid this DACA controversy altogether, particularly in 2011 when Barack Obama appealed to something they never display for the people, but have in abundance for their business special interests – compassion.

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