By: Sam Jones, Columnist
During the 1995 State of the Union Address, President Bill Clinton stated “…we will try to do more to speed the deportation of illegal aliens who are arrested for crimes [and] to better identify illegal aliens in the workplace.” President Barack Obama and the Democrats had a majority in both the House and Senate for two years of his presidency. Immigration was never prioritized under these administrations.
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) was started under President Obama via executive order. It granted immigrant children brought here by their parents legal protection from being detained or deported. However, the protection was not permanent.
March 5, 2018 was the end of protection for DACA recipients. Some still qualify for a two-year renewal; however, the issue was pressing in March of 2018 more than ever. President Donald Trump had the choice to continue to kick the issue of unclear citizenship down the road, or force Congress to take action. So, the president announced in September of 2017 that there would be no renewal of DACA.
What this meant, was that Congress had the ability to grant a path to citizenship for DACA recipients. They could change the lives of as many as 800,000 Dreamers, granting them an opportunity to become American citizens through a lawful and democratic process.
Instead, when President Trump proposed a path to citizenship for an estimated 1.8 million young undocumented imigratnts in exchange for his $5 billion border wall, the Democrats rejected his offer. Keep in mind that this $5 billion only makes up 0.5% of the government’s discretionary spending each year, and 0.1 percent of the nation’s total annual budget.
Trump forced Congress to do their jobs, and they failed the DACA recipients, not the President. The only way to fix DACA permanently is to do it though Congress, and it makes things quite difficult when one party refuses to work with the other on immigration.
Congress has also failed to act on the visa lottery immigration system, which randomizes which immigrants are granted citizenship. Some can be in the visa lottery for years, while others can be rewarded in weeks to months. President Trump tweeted in 2017 “We are fighting hard for Merit Based immigration, no more Democrat Lottery Systems.” The lottery system was first created to help Irish citizens fleeing an economic crisis, and now does not fit that purpose.
Republicans are generally in favor of Merit Based immigration because it allows for sponsorships, such as an employer or relative, unlike the current visa program.
Australia operates a point-style system, that awards potential immigrants points based on several factors dealing with merit. For example, speaking the native language, having sufficient work experience, and certain educational qualifications are prioritized when granting citizenship. However, refugees and relative sponsorships are also prioritized. This way, Australia receives a healthy mix of immigrants that will immediately contribute to the economy, while still taking in refugees seeking safety or a better life. Many republicans are in favor of adopting a similar plan in America, myself included.
No, I am not calling for mass deportations, and I am not calling for deportation of Dreamers. The leftist media will paint all Republicans as racists who do not want to let anyone into the country. This is simply not true. They claimed that President Trump wanted to end DACA, which is true. However, ending DACA and forcing Congress to do their job would be a good thing for all DACA recipients and Dreamers.
Immigration policy can be lawful, and humane. Yes, the topic is a hot one with many emotional ties on both sides of the isle. And yes, there are children locked behind fences at and around our southern border. However, the permanent solution must come from Congress. And before any progress can be made, both sides have to agree to come to the table, and negotiate comprehensive immigration reform.