Despite the best efforts of President Trump, Stephen Miller and Jeff Sessions, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program still lives. A series of legal rulings allow renewals to continue, including the recent surprising ruling from the notorious anti-immigrant Judge Andrew Hanen.
A strong editorial from Sunday’s Houston Chronicle takes stock of the DACA debate and calls on Congress to finally do its job and deliver a solution for Dreamers and America. Below are key excerpts with the full editorial available online here:
… On Aug. 31, the immigration hardliner [Judge Andrew Hanen] refused a request from nine states, led by Texas, to destroy DACA, the Obama-era policy that grants temporary lawful status and work permits to thousands of young migrants brought to this country through no choice of their own. Hanen wrote that he agreed with a federal court in Maryland that said the question of whether to allow DACA recipients to “continue contributing their skills and abilities to the betterment of this country is an issue crying out for a legislative solution.”
It’s not that Hanen liked DACA any more than he liked DAPA — he expects the U.S. Supreme Court eventually will declare it unlawful — but, unlike Paxton and young Stephen Miller, the cruelly anti-immigrant nativist who has Donald Trump’s ear in the White House, the judge was willing to acknowledge reality. DACA has been in effect for six years, he pointed out, and those young people the policy protects are even more rooted than they were before its implementation.
“Here, the egg has been scrambled,” he wrote. “To try to put it back in the shell with only a preliminary injunction record, and perhaps at great risk to many, does not make sense nor serve the best interests of this country.”
… Fix it, a Dreamer urges Congress. Fix it, a federal judge urges.
Approximately three-quarters of the American people, according to most polls, echo their call. So does a coalition of border mayors and business groups, including Southwest and United Airlines. Filing an amicus brief in the case before Judge Hanen, the coalition argued that ending DACA and forcing thousands of young workers out of the economy could cost $460 billion in economic activity during the next decade.
Meanwhile, a craven Congress dithers — and, we hate to say, will continue to dither until voters decide, perhaps in a few weeks, that enough’s enough.
Assuring the legal status of Dreamers and allowing them to get on with their lives in this country is a relatively easy task, particularly if a new crop of conscientious lawmakers arrives in Washington next January. It may be a dream too far, but resolving the Dreamer dilemma might even clear the way for a new Congress to tackle the more complex task of comprehensive immigration reform. We can hope, although fixing DACA is the more immediate task.
“DACA is a popular program and one that Congress should consider saving. . . . If the nation truly wants to have a DACA program, it is up to Congress to say so.”
So wrote Judge Hanen. So say we.