President Barack Obama handed many problems over to President Donald Trump, including Obama’s Oval Office amnesty, the “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.”
The fast-growing amnesty is very unpopular in the GOP’s base and is being used by Democrats as a club to bash Trump. It likely cannot withstand a promised lawsuit in the fall, but it will cost Americans a huge amount of money if it keeps going.
Moreover, Obama’s decree is a standing insult to the nation’s republican vision of constitutional, divided, limited and elected government. Congress had rejected his amnesty plans, so Obama simply launched his huge amnesty — almost 900,000 illegals were enrolled by March 31, 2017 — via a presidential decree to his deputies.
GOP candidate Trump promised in 2016 to tear up Obama’s decree, but back-pressure by his business-boosting aides and by the media have kept the painful problem stuck in his inbox. So Obama’s DACA amnesty continues to expand — 10,000 new illegals got enrolled from January to March — and President Trump has not decided how he should clean up Obama’s mess.
Here are Seven Painful Things about Obama’s “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” amnesty that Trump already knows.
DACA Is Still Growing
Obama’s deputies low-balled his election-campaign giveaway by initially predicting it would only reach about 560,000 younger illegals who were supposedly brought into the United States by their parents before they turned 16.
But the amnesty has already provided almost 900,000 work-permits and Social Security cards to illegals who say they are aged 36 or less. More than 92 percent of the applicants got their DACA approvals, with a rejection rate of only 7 percent. The amnesty is expected to rise above 1.9 million people as additional younger illegals become adults and try to enroll in Obama’s giveaway.
Unless corrected, the DACA amnesty will expand further as the DACA recipients avoid repatriation, and then gradually legalize themselves by marrying Americans, giving birth to children on U.S. soil, and finding good lawyers and friendly judges. Once a DACA recipient wins a legal foothold this year or 10 years from now, they can eventually get Green Cards, become citizens, and then they can sponsor their illegal alien parents — the very people who brought the child or youth across the border.
That is a long process, but Obama’s decree effectively puts roughly 2 million young illegals plus 1 million parents on a long path to legalization. That path will eventually give them full access to the nation’s welfare, medical and retirement programs.
DACA Is Not Sending The Best and Brightest
In 2014, fewer than one-in-ten of the 850,000 adult illegals then potentially eligible for DACA had two-year vocational college qualification or better, said a 2014 estimate by the pro-DACA group, the Migration Policy Institute.
Only 1 percent, or 9,000 of the 850,000 younger adult illegals, had an advanced degree — while 60 percent only have a high-school exit credential. Only 1 percent, or 9,000 of the 850,000 younger adult illegals, had an advanced degree in 2014, while 60 percent only had a high-school exit credential.
Even the most flattering study of 1,472 young illegal migrants paints a disastrous picture. Three-in-four earned less than $25,000 a year, and only one-in-four earn enough to cover their monthly expenses, said the study, which was prepared by a former illegal immigrant who is now an advocate for amnesty and who works with the left-wing Center for American Progress.
Another study by the same activist — Tom Wong of the University of California, San Diego — showed that half of 467 DACA recipients were earning less than $15 per hour. Worse, Wong’s study is not even an accurate sample of the DACA people — roughly 83 percent of people used in the study were from the tiny percent of DACA people had college degrees or were enrolled in college.
The Department of Homeland Security is withholding a lot of data about the DACA applicants. For example, outside researchers do not know how many DACA recipients have college degrees, how many speak English or how many have criminal records. Obama’s deputies declined to release the data, which suggests the numbers are not flattering.
DACA Will Cost Americans And Their Government A Huge Amount of Money.
On average, people with college degrees pay more in taxes than they receive in government benefits. People without a degree consume more taxes than they pay to federal, state and local tax officials.
In 2013, a Heritage Foundation study showed that amnesty for 11 million illegals would spike federal spending by $6,300 billion over the next five decades. That is roughly equivalent to $550,000 per illegal, or $10,000 per illegal per year, much of which will be spent when the immigrant becomes eligible for Social Security and Medicare. That cost estimate does not include the extra costs created when immigrants use their new legal powers as a citizen to bring in more low-skilled migrants.
Many reports back up this pessimistic Heritage statement. For example, the 2016 report by the National Academy of Sciences showed that each legal immigrant costs roughly $1,600 in state and local taxes (not federal taxes) above the taxes paid by immigrants. Overall, the annual cost of each immigrant is roughly equal to tax surplus created by each native-born American, which ranges from $1,300 to $1,700, says the report, titled “The Economic and Fiscal Consequences of Immigration.”
If those 3 million DACA people and their parents soon become legal residents or citizens, then Obama’s DACA will cost Americans roughly $1,700 billion over the next 50 years, according to Heritage Foundation’s numbers.
Moreover, the DACA migrants add to the flood of illegal labor that has driven down wages for ordinary Americans, including urban youths and recent immigrants. Currently, Americans lose roughly $500 billion a year from their salaries because of the “immigration tax” caused by cheap labor, according to the academies’ report.
Whenever wages are kept down, employers can profit from cheap labor, so they don’t have a reason to buy high-tech labor-saving robots from American manufacturers. That drop in investment reduces the nation’s long-term productivity — and it invisibly cuts the government’s future tax receipts which are needed to pay for the growing wave of retirees and healthcare patients. That unseen process ensures that Obama’s DACA amnesty is the opposite of Trump’s popular plan for a productivity-boosting “merit-based” immigration reform.
DACA Encouraged More Illegal Immigration
Obama declared his DCA amnesty in 2012. Central Americans saw the announcement, read the details — and roughly 400,000 people headed north during the next four years.
Obama welcomed this northward migration by “Family Units” and supposed “Unaccompanied Alien Children” from Central America to Texas and then to every other state. To help them, Obama reinterpreted a 2008 law to let them file lawsuits in the United States. By 2016, his migration included a growing flow of people from Cuba, Africa and Asia who were hoping to use Obama’s migration-friendly border policies to let more people apply for asylum.
Part of what’s wonderful about America is also what makes our democracy hard sometimes, because sometimes we get attached to our particular tribe, our particular race, our particular religion, and then we start treating other folks differently. And that, sometimes, has been a bottleneck to how we think about immigration. If you look at the history of immigration in this country, each successive wave, there have been periods where the folks who were already here suddenly say, well, I don’t want those folks. Even though the only people who have the right to say that are some Native Americans.
But Trump believes Americans are allowed to have borders, and so he almost entirely stopped the migration by simply promising to enforce existing law.
However, the 11 million resident illegals in the United States, plus the new migrants from Central America, have created new political facts on the ground in the United States. For example, these cheap-labor migrants are employed by many service-sector businesses in affluent Democratic cities. Their importance prompts Democratic governors and mayors to create “Sanctuary Cities” to shield their donors’ cheap labor from federal law. In turn, those cheap-labor states and cities become the destination for more migrants.
In May, for example, the number of border crossers jumped by 31 percent from April.
DACA Imports Crime
DACA has kept a population of roughly 900,000 young adult illegals in the United States and also encouraged 400,000 Central American migrants into Americans’ neighborhoods and schools.
Some of those young illegals and migrants have drifted into various criminal gangs, such as MS-13. Obama’s deputies even sent some known MS-13 members into the United States. The inflow of gang-bangers is causing a growing pile of dead teenagers and youths in New York, Texas, Virginia and several other states. MS-13 members are also facing rape charges. Other non-DACA young migrants add to the background level of crime. In June, for example, a young migrant from Central America was charged with killing an American girl on her way to a mosque in Virginia.
Even if the rate of crime by the illegals is lower than similar-aged Americans, Obama’s inflow has killed a few handfuls of Americans and immigrants. Each of those additional dead Americans is dead, regardless of the relative crime rate.
The federal government has yet to release data about the numbers of crimes by DACA-approved people.
DACA Helps Democrats
Obama created DACA to help the Democratic Party, and the resulting group of DACA-approved ‘Dreamers’ is an important element in the Democrats’ diverse coalition.
The young illegals got that media-approved signature soon after Democrats filed a pro-amnesty bill, the “Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors.” Ever since, the establishment media has helped rebrand the young illegals as ‘Dreamers.’ That U.S. media does not similarly reward young Americans by favorably portraying them, for example, as aspiring ‘Doers.’
The DACA population includes a subset of well-educated, clever, English speaking, and attractive activists. Understandably, rationally, reasonably, they want to stay in the United States, so they work hard to win the sympathies of Americans and the votes of legislators. That task is made relatively easy because Americans want to like hard-working immigrants — even as they also want reductions in the large-scale legal immigration which is making life difficult for themselves, their kids and their neighbors.
The Democratic Party uses the DACA immigrants to present an attractive picture of illegal immigrants. In the 2013 and 2014 fights over the “Gang of Eight” amnesty-and-cheap labor bill, the DACA recipients were used to keep the media focused on the desires of would-be immigrants — and not on the needs and preferences of actual Americans.
If the DACA people are ever allowed to become citizens, it will be a huge ballot-box gain for Obama and his allies — and a hit for Americans who prefer smaller government: Only 2.3 percent of ”undocumented millennials” are pro-GOP, according to a survey by Wong.
Moreover, that same survey also shows that just 28 percent of young illegals would be satisfied by an immigration-reform compromise which allows them to work and stay in the United States without becoming citizens. In contrast, 70 percent want citizenship, partly because that’s how they can get Green Cards for their parents. That 70 percent means the most of the “Dreamers” will oppose any compromise that doesn’t also amnesty their parents.
DACA Is Fundamentally Illegitimate
Congress has rejected DACA-type laws many times, even when the Democrats were in charge of Congress. Yet Obama created the DACA amnesty by simply telling his deputies to stop enforcing the nation’s law against a huge group of illegal immigrants who are favored by the Democratic Party.
Legally speaking, there would have been little difference between Obama’s stand-down order to immigration officers and an order by President George W. Bush telling the IRS officials to stop collecting taxes owed by his circle of Texas Republicans.
So far, Obama and his allies have managed to head off any lawsuit against DACA.
But the U.S. courts have condemned and blocked Obama’s expanded 2014 version of DACA, called the ‘Deferred Actions for Parents of Americans,” which would have provided work-permits to roughly 4.5 million illegals. Many Democrats admit the 2012 DACA has the same legal flaws as the illegitimate 2014 DAPA. Trump’s deputies know this — and they are now watching a group of GOP Attorneys General promise to file a killer lawsuit against DACA in September.
The civic harm created by an illegitimate or flawed government can expand, echo and continue for decades. Consider New York’s wartime rent controls which were established 74 years ago. That 1943 market intervention is politically entrenched by subsequent updates, so it still benefits the well-connected and the lucky, and it still harms many Americans who are forced to pay more for smaller apartments further from their work. It also harms many more unseen Americans who never move to the city because of apartment shortages and high rental costs.
If left untouched, Obama’s don’t-enforce-the-law DACA precedent could become the model for future Presidents.
Can President Trump declare that the Department of Homeland Security is not allowed to deport illegals who are employed at hotels or resorts? Perhaps he could simply allow his fellow real-estate developers to opt-out of IRS audits? Should the President 2026 direct the Environmental Protection Agency to stop enforcing pollution laws in swing-state Ohio? Maybe a future chief executive in 2045 could tell the FBI to ignore arson attacks against churches?
Every day that DACA exists, it mocks the fairness, uniformity, and equality of U.S. immigration laws. It refutes the civics textbook claim that the President is bound by the nation’s laws. It stands as a proof that favored groups can simply ignore the written law when either political faction is on their side and tells disfavored groups that they have no rights that the powerful need respect.
One of today’s unfavored groups are the Americans whose job prospects and wages have been reduced by Obama’s open-arms welcome for illegal immigration.
But the Constitution grants those Americans recourse to the ballot box, and so they elected the nation’s 45th President to ensure their equal treatment under the law.
President Trump is now deciding whether their legitimate demand is to be recognized or ignored.
Bonus Point: The population of 2 million young people who are either in DACA, or potentially eligible for DACA, would be a boon to the poorly educated workforce of Mexico and Central America. Their population’s English language skills, familiarity with U.S business practices, and their expectations of low official corruption would help Mexican companies improve their productivity — and also help American companies sell more goods and services in Mexico’s fast-growing economy. In short, the return of DACA people would be a large economic aid program for Americans’ neighbors south of Texas.