A sham in the House, a potential catastrophe in the courts
House Republicans are pretending to care about Dreamers while pursuing Trumpian nativism. This is a bridge to nowhere. Meanwhile, what truly matters is the brazen move by the Department of Justice to end run federal court decisions in hopes of ending DACA in a matter of weeks.
In a piece entitled, Here’s How the Justice Department is Trying to Shut Down DACA, Pete Williams of NBC News writes:
The Trump administration is urging a federal court in Texas to declare DACA illegal, setting up a potential conflict that could allow the government to shut the program down within a matter of weeks.
In a motion filed late Friday, Justice Department lawyers told a judge in Texas that the program violates federal immigration law. Assuming, as expected, that the judge grants the request from DACA opponents and orders the government to stop enforcing DACA, the ruling would conflict with orders from two other federal courts that require continued enforcement of the program.
If faced with competing court orders, the Justice Department said it would then rush to the U.S. Supreme Court and tell the justices that the government would be in violation no matter what it did — keeping DACA going would violate the Texas order, while trying to shut it down would violate the other court orders.
In that event, the government would ask the Supreme Court to put a hold on all the lower court rulings. And if the justices agreed, the Trump administration would be free to shut DACA down immediately, because nothing would be in effect to prevent the government from taking that action.
This is the context for the faux drama on the Republican side of the aisle in the House of Representatives.
According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice:
Originally, so-called Republican moderates proclaimed their heroism as they pursued a discharge petition. They seemed intent on compelling a vote on the bipartisan Hurd-Aguilar bill – which includes the Dream Act and workable border security measures. If they had followed through, moderate Republicans and all Democrats would have approved the bill on a bipartisan basis and put pressure on the Senate and the President to follow suit. It was always unlikely to result in a bill that would have been enacted this year. After all, Trump is President, McConnell is Senate Majority Leader and nativism is the core strategy for the 2018 midterms. But, it would have been a marker that a bipartisan majority exists in the House for a pragmatic, balanced solution.
Now, it’s clear that House Republicans – one and all – have chosen party over country. Despite the fact that more than 8 out 10 Americans support a permanent solution for Dreamers, the GOP clearly is more interested in maintaining its grip on power than in doing what the country wants. Speaker Ryan, in a final act of cowardice, has worked hard to stave off a bipartisan solution. So-called moderates chucked notions of heroism and caved to Ryan. The Freedom Caucus, as always, got what they want – a vote on the radical Goodlatte bill. Note: the Goodlatte bill is to the right of the failed White House proposal authored by Trump aide Stephen Miller. The other GOP proposal, likely to be a terrible bill that is only marginally less radical than Goodlatte’s, will give moderates a show vote and zero bipartisan support.
The bills to be brought to the House floor should be known as Dumb and Dumber. Welcome to what passes as legislative action by the House GOP.
Meanwhile, Attorney General Sessions, fresh off of ripping infants from the arms of parents and denying asylum to victims of extreme domestic violence, murderous gang violence and horrific terrorist violence, is scheming with a notorious federal judge – Andrew Hanen – to put DACA at immediate risk.
Let’s not kid ourselves. What’s happening in the House Republican caucus is a sham. What could well happen in the courts in the coming weeks would be a catastrophe.
We need an act of Congress to protect Dreamers. The only way we are going to have a chance is if Republicans lose control of Congress. We need an administration that treats refugees and immigrants fairly. The only way we are going to have a chance at that is if Trump is defeated in 2020.
Juan Escalante, DACA-recipient and Communications Manager of America’s Voice, said:
Once again, Republicans in Congress are attempting to dress up anti-immigrant legislation and sell it to the American people as sensible reform that would somehow spare young Dreamers who, including myself, have become the next deportation targets of Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions. The immigration legislation that Paul Ryan will put up for a vote next week is nothing short of a package of poison pills, sponsored by Congressman Goodlatte, accompanied by a lighter, yet equally harmful, version of his bill to rival it.
These are not the solutions that Dreamers want, nor the immigration reforms this country deserves. Dreamers are exhausted of seeing political games play out in Washington D.C., which is why the next time any Dream-type legislation is even considered, I suggest it includes a realistic strategy that yields concrete solutions – not half-baked proposals fueled by anti-immigrant extremists that only prey on whatever hope Dreamers have left to see their status adjusted under this administration.