Immigration Group: Donald Trump’s Credibility Is on the Line with DACA Repeal

US President Donald Trump arrives for a 'Make America Great Again' rally at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, Kentucky, March 20, 2017

Ira Mehlman, a media spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform or FAIR, spoke with Breitbart News on President Trump’s complicated history with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, considering potential state litigation against the controversial program.

He told Breitbart News:

Trump made immigration a center piece of his campaign. One of the big reasons he was able to shake up the establishment and take the party away from insiders was that he made significant promises related to immigration. Immigration laws were not being enforced, immigration policies were not being carried out in a way that benefited the American people. Trump’s credibility is on the line to follow through with his promises including ending DACA.

Texas, along with 9 other states, issued an ultimatum to the Trump administration to rescind DACA by September 5 or have the program face a legal challenge from these states.

He furthered that ending the program which shields from deportation those who arrived in the country illegally as children did not entail a repeal. Instead, he argued all Trump needed to do was, “stop taking applicants for the program. Allow those with DACA statutes to have their two-year status to lapse. They won’t be targeted. Their immigration status will just revert to where they were before.” 

President Obama rolled out the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program in 2012 as a means to protect from deportation and grant work permits to around 765,000 young illegal immigrants who entered the country as young children.

Mehlman added that, “since Trump has been president, his DHS still processes applicants for DACA and issues renewals for individuals when their 2 years of DACA ends. The DHS is still accepting new people into new program despite Trump’s repeated promises on the campaign trail to do away with executive order. He still hasn’t done that yet.”

From January to June, 125,000 illegal immigrants have received work and residency permits through the DACA program.

Mehlman stated that FAIR’s opposition to DACA rested on both a constitutional basis and real-life consequences that can be traced back to the controversial policy.

He said:

We opposed DACA when it was first announced on the grounds that the president didn’t have constitutional status to simply declare entire classes of immigrants off limits from immigration enforcement and work authorization law explicitly says illegal immigrants are barred from employment. In fact, Obama himself said on 22 occasions before announcing DACA that he had no constitutional authority to ever sign such an amnesty, and he was right those 22 times.

In terms of how DACA has played out, Mehlman argued that:

The results of DACA included a surge on the southern border in 2014 of unaccompanied minors from Central America who expected that we now had some obligation to let minors remain in country if they arrive as kids. This happened even though nothing significant changed in the countries from which these kids were coming.

Mehlman argued that FAIR was not entirely pessimistic on the prospects of Trump following through with his campaign promises to rescind DACA. He saw Trump’s promotion of the RAISE act, proposed by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-ARK) and Sen. David Perdue (R-GA), as a welcome sign of the president’s commitment to seeing the immigration debate through the question of benefiting American citizens first and foremost.  

“Immigration is a public policy; therefore, it should be meant to serve the public good. Canada, Australia, and New Zealand use a points system to score applicants for citizenship on their ability to contribute economically. I am glad to see that Trump wants to reform immigration in that context,” he said.

FAIR describes itself on its website as, “a non-partisan, public interest organization of concerned Americans united in the belief that our immigration policies and laws should again serve the nation’s future needs. This means better border management, lower levels of overall immigration, and a greater focus on highly skilled immigrants.”

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