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  • Article: DACA and What lies Ahead By Alan Lee

    DACA and What lies Ahead

    by


    President Trump’s ending of the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program on September 5, 2017, was hardhearted in act and tone. Given a choice between fighting to preserve the program in court against an alliance of 9 attorney generals threatening to sue to end the program or caving in to his Attorney General Jeffrey Sessions who would not defend against a suit and pressure from his white nationalist base, Mr. Trump chose the latter. Although the ending of the program provides 6 months for Congress to pass legislation to save the Dreamers and work permission (those expiring by March 5, 2018, have one month until October 5, 2017, to apply for a new two-year permit), Mr. Trump clearly put the onus on Congress. His later day vacillating tweet that if Congress could not legalize DACA in 6 months, “I will revisit this issue!” appeared to be another of his empty threats as he already gave up his authority to continue the program. It remains to be seen how enthusiastic he will be in fighting for saving legislation, but early indications are that he will do little for the Dreamers. Instead of conciliatory expressions of regret and hope, the President took the opportunity to slam former President Obama for creating the program through executive authority; emphasized that he stands by his “America First” agenda; stated that “We must also have heart and compassion for unemployed, struggling and forgotten Americans”; called the program an “amnesty first approach”; and his press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that Mr. Trump would support Dreamer legislation, as long as Congress passed it as part of a broader immigration overhaul to strengthen the border, protect American jobs and enhance enforcement.

    In other words, the chances of Dreamer legislation passing unscathed and alone are not good as the Republicans can be relied upon to hold the bill hostage for other items on their anti-immigration wish list. Mr. Trump himself in his official statement on the ending of DACA put forth his views:

    Before we ask what is fair to illegal immigrants, we must also ask what is fair to American families, students, taxpayers, and job seekers.

    Congress now has the opportunity to advance responsible immigration reform that puts American jobs and American security first. We are facing the symptom of a larger problem, illegal immigration, along with the many other chronic immigration problems Washington has left unsolved. We must reform our green card system, which now favors low skilled immigration and puts immense strain on U. S. taxpayers. We must base future immigration on merit – we want those coming into the country to be able to support themselves financially, to contribute to our economy, and to love our country and the values it stands for. Under a merit-based system, citizens will enjoy higher employment, rising wages, and a stronger middle class. Senators Tom Cotton and David Purdue have introduced the RAISE Act, which would establish this merit-based system and produce lasting gains for the American People.

    The RAISE legislation would chop off family-based immigration for parents of U. S. citizens, adult children of U. S. citizens and permanent residents, and brothers and sisters of U. S. citizens, as well as terminate the visa lottery program. Its effect would be to lower U. S. legal immigration by half within 10 years.

    There is less incentive for Congress to act within the 6 months because of Mr. Trump’s vacillating tweet. Democrats would be harder pressed to agree to significant anti-immigration measures given the justification that the President would take up the topic again anyway. Mr. Trump can also justify to himself a Pontius Pilate washing of the hands attitude having given his empty threat instead of taking a leadership role and working with Congress to ensure the passage of Dreamer legislation. For without heavy pressure from above, even the heavy to-do list of Congress may stymie the passage of Dreamer relief as Congress must deal with the consequences of Hurricanes Harvey and now Irma, Mr. Trump’s repeated sorties in resurrecting repeal and replace of the ACA, tax legislation, infrastructure spending, and stopgap measures to fund the federal government if a compromise cannot be reached by the end of September.

    While expressing great sympathy and empathy with the DACA recipients, immigration proponents and all those opposed to the Trump agenda should look hard to establish the tone for elections in 2018 and 2020. The 2018 midterm elections provide an opportunity to stymie Mr. Trump’s rogue style of governing if one or both houses of Congress can be regained. 2020 presents the chance to rid the nation of his presidency. The difficulty is that while Mr. Trump’s popularity is sagging tremendously according to the polls, many of his supporters decry or say nothing about him in public and vote for him in private. They see the choice as clinging to the lifestyle of conservative and/or center values that they were born with and going with a Pied Piper promising to take them back 20 years ago when their lot was better or looking with horror at a future of liberal values including rebellion against the police and other authorities, gender bending, attacks against the establishment, gay rights, the expansion of blacks and other minorities’ rights, and global trade agreements enhancing the fortunes of many in the nation but not them.

    To capture enough votes in this populace, Democrats must go back to center left and not farther to the left. The Party must lower the volume on the left, and Democrats must appear more attuned to the concerns of those in small town America. Statue bashing for one should stop as it leads to confrontation and confuses many who regard the statues only as sign posts to American history. Protest must continue as people must be continually made aware of what is worth fighting for, but unhelpful confrontations like in colleges between students and teachers over professors’ remarks should be de-escalated as they seem to be part of an unwarranted leftist movement against free speech. In the recent cases involving Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, and Yale University, the scenario appeared to be the extreme left attacking the moderate left.

    Although this must seem antithetical to the instincts of many liberals, many must know in their hearts that their stridency is taken with alarm by many in the center and is anathema to them and to conservatives who wonder what and where their place would be in a nation with such values. As for the Dreamers, one hopes that they will continue to dream and work towards a peaceable nonviolent solution to their status. Acts of violence out of frustration would damn them at a time when they have the sympathy and ear of most Americans.

    This article © 2017 Alan Lee, Esq.


    About The Author

    Alan Lee, Esq. Alan Lee, Esq. the author is an exclusive practitioner of immigration law based in New York City with an AV preeminent rating in the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory for 20+ years, registered in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers, on the New York Super Lawyers list (2011-12, 2013-14, 2014-15, 2015-16), and recognized as a New York Area Top Rated Lawyer. He has written extensively on immigration over the past years for Interpreter Releases, Immigration Daily, and the ethnic newspapers, World Journal, Sing Tao, Epoch Times, Pakistan Calling, Muhasba and OCS; testified as an expert on immigration in civil court proceedings; and is a regular contributor to Martindale-Hubbell's Ask-a-Lawyer program. His article, "The Bush Temporary Worker Proposal and Comparative Pending Legislation: an Analysis" was Interpreter Releases' cover display article at the American Immigration Lawyers Association annual conference in 2004; his 2004 case in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, Firstland International v. INS, successfully challenged Legacy INS' policy of over 40 years of revoking approved immigrant visa petitions under a nebulous standard of proof, although its central holding that the government had to notify approved immigrant petition holders of the revocation prior to the their departure to the U. S. for the petition to be able to be revoked was short-lived as it was specifically targeted in the Intelligence Reform Act of 2004 (which in response changed the language of the revocation statute itself). Yet Firstland lives on as precedent that the government must comply with nondiscretionary duties established in law, and such failure is reviewable in federal courts. His 2015 case, Matter of Leacheng International, Inc., with the Administrative Appeals Office of USCIS (AAO) set nation-wide standards on the definition of "doing business" for multinational executives and managers to gain immigration benefits.


    The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.

    Comments 1 Comment
    1. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
      ImmigrationLawBlogs -
      None of the entertaining, but superficial political issues such as Trump's attempts to please his bigoted base (as if he were not tainted with anti-immigrant bigotry himself) or how far to the left (or center) should the Democrats go on immigration etc. should be allowed to obscure or divert attention away from the main point - that Trump's decision to terminate DACA is just one more link in the chain of presidential actions taking America back closer and closer toward the racist, whites-only immigration regime that began with the 1924 immigration law which now Attorney General (and then Senator Sessions) praised so highly less than three years ago, and which Adolf Hitler also had kind words for some nine decades ago.

      How much farther back toward that European immigrants only system will America regress in the "Donald Trump Era"? That is the question.

      Roger Algase
      Attorney at Law
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