Two California Republicans from heavily-Latino districts in the agricultural Central Valley have written to President Donald Trump to urge him to retain President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
Reps. David Valadao of the 21st congressional district and Jeff Denham of the 10th congressional district joined four other Republicans in asking Trump to keep the program, which many Republicans believe is unconstitutional.
Obama introduced DACA in 2012, during his campaign for re-election, after Latino activists complained that he had not fulfilled his campaign promises on legalizing the presence of millions of illegal aliens in the country. Republicans in Congress were also outflanking the president on the issue, with Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) proposing a more conservative version of the “Dream Act,” which would have allowed some illegal aliens brought to the country as children to stay, provided they met certain conditions, including the option of serving in the military.
Rather than negotiate with Congress, Obama imposed DACA — what critics called “amnesty,” and the “Dream Act by fiat.” Specifically, he used his control of the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security to expand the powers of prosecutorial discretion to apply to millions of people. Essentially, he usurped the role of the legislative branch and exceeded the customary limits of his executive powers.
The result was that hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens applied for deferred deportation status, with 800,000 receiving it — which, in turn, clogged the system for legal immigration, resulting in lengthy delays for those who were trying to enter the country legally.
In their letter, Reps. Valadao and Denham urge President Trump to retain DACA because “Children brought to the United States at a young age did not have a choice in the matter”; because “For many, the United States is the only country they know or remember”; because many are now working and “making immediate contributions to our society and our economy”; and because targeting DACA recipients for deportation would “divert massive resources away from enforcement actions against criminals who pose the greatest threat to law and order.”
They urge that DACA be retained “until we can pass a permanent legislative solution.”
Trump pledged during the 2016 campaign to reverse DACA, but has delayed fulfilling that promise, largely for the humanitarian reasons cited by the members of Congress above. This week, he was reported to be considering ending DACA after all.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named one of the “most influential” people in news media in 2016. He is the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.