Is there more than meets the eye on DACA?
An editorial from the Hamilton Spectator, published Sept. 7: .S. President Donald Trump is being widely thrashed for his decision to end the program that allows 800,000 people brought to the U.S. as children to stay in the country. The anger is understandable.
These are people who have done nothing wrong. They arrived on U.S. soil with parents or relatives. They had no choice. They went to school and many went on to post-secondary education. Many have good jobs. They are contributing Americans. So why kick them out?
That may be what’s happening here. If so, Trump deserves the condemnation. But there may be more to this.
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program was an Obama-era executive order put in place when the U.S. Congress couldn’t come to a resolution on the issue. Critics charged it was unconstitutional. Supporters said the ends justified the means. Given that the alternative was ongoing instability and uncertainty for innocent victims, the latter would be our view. But given that Trump ran on a platform that included lower immigration levels, it isn’t surprising that he targeted DACA. And it’s not clear his goal is actually to see so-called Dreamers deported.
Trump has expressed his affection for DACA participants. But he remains convinced the executive order was bad policy. By ending DACA he put a resolution in the hands of Congress, giving them six months to reach consensus. Given their recent history, particularly on the deeply divided Republican side, that seems unlikely. But Trump has said, via Twitter, that he would revisit the matter if Congress cannot find a solution.
He should. Stepping in if Congress fails would give Trump a public relations win, and it’s the right thing to do. There is no good reason for Dreamers to be evicted from their adopted homeland. They are precisely the kind of immigrants the U.S. should welcome. And so, for that matter, should Canada.
Toronto-area Senator Ratna Omidvar wants Canada to welcome 30,000 to 40,000. She says: “They speak fluent English, they’ve been educated in the U.S., most of them have been to college or university, some of them have work experience. They understand the North American working culture.”
It’s a good point. There may be a time for Canada to reach out in some way, but not yet. Dreamers don’t face immediate deportation. There isn’t yet a need to poke another stick at Trump, especially during NAFTA negotiations. For now, let this play out. Dreamers can apply to come to Canada through regular channels if they want to, and no doubt they would be welcome. But for now, let Congress do its job, and give Trump a chance to do the right thing in the end. That would be a pleasant and welcome surprise.