DACA: What Are We Even Fighting About?

Regardless of how you feel about President Obama’s 2012 policy Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, better known as DACA, it in all likelihood would be struck down by the Supreme Court as unconstitutional.

Earlier today President Trump Tweeted:

Before that the President Tweeted:

So while Republicans and Democrats have to do the WWE routine of putting up a fake fight for the audience, at the end of the day it doesn’t appear that many actually disagree on the ultimate outcome, and the roll back of the program in its current form would likely have been inevitable regardless of actions taken by the Trump administration.

Prior to President Trump taking up the issue of DACA, Texas along with a number of other states were in the process of suing the federal government over the program. Because of the Trump administration’s recent actions, the Attorney General of Texas announced that they would be dropping that lawsuit. Had that lawsuit been allowed to move forward, it is quite likely that DACA would have been struck down on constitutional grounds.

The main indicator of how the Supreme Court would vote on the issue of DACA is the ruling from the United States v. Texas case where The Court was asked to weigh in on DAPA or Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents which was essentially a program designed to protect the parents of those folks covered under DACA. Lower courts issued preliminary injunctions blocking the DAPA program which went on to be affirmed by an equally divided Supreme Court. With Neil Gorsuch sitting on the bench and a Trump administration that would be unlikely to put up much of a fight defending the program in court, much like how the Obama Administration refused to put up a fight for the Defense of Marriage Act, I would have been very surprised to see DACA withstand a constitutional challenge at the Supreme Court.

Oregon with a number of other blue states have already filed lawsuits against the Trump administration for rescinding DACA, but this seems to be more of a political stunt than anything. The case seems to rely heavily on implying that President Trump’s motivation for scaling back DACA is primarily driven by racial animus towards people from Mexico. The state AGs wrote:

“As President Trump’s statements about Mexico and those with Mexican roots show, the President has demonstrated a willingness to disparage Mexicans in a misguided attempt to secure support from his constituency, even when such impulses are impermissible motives for directing governmental policy,”

All that being said, now it seems like the fate of DACA will be decided in the halls of congress. With the President’s latest tweets it seems like he is signaling that he would be willing to sign some form of a bill that would enshrine DACA into law. Democrat’s support for the program seems to be almost monolithic and quite a few Republicans appear to be willing to support the program if it goes through the legislative process. So what are we all really fighting about here? With this latest compromise regarding the debt ceiling President Trump has shown a willingness to work across the aisle with Democrats at times, so why not on this?

At the end of the day, I don’t believe a large portion of the American population, including President Trump, want to see the mass deportation of those protected under DACA. Maybe Jeff Session, Stephen Miller, and other immigration hardliners around Trump would be okay with that, but lately, President Trump has seemed more in step with the “Jared and Ivanka” faction of his White House than with the formerly named “Steve Bannon” Populist faction anyway. With a court decision looming over the future of the program kicking this fight to Congress where it belongs was not only inevitable but constitutionally proper. So let’s all keep our fingers crossed and hope that congress does its job and finds a solution.

So in the words of President Trump: