This is a very bad idea.
Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., who at one point was said to be writing his own immigration overhaul legislation and this week is at the Texas border visiting detention centers, has sent President Barack Obama a letter calling for an end to the 2012 executive order granting stays of deportation to children brought into the country illegally by their parents.Reversing the president’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals order, known as DACA, would “send a clear signal to all individuals that our immigration laws will be enforced,” the California Republican and thirty-two House GOP cosigners wrote.
Remember, the deferred-action policy doesn’t actually relate to the ongoing humanitarian crisis along the Southern border – none of these unattended children who crossed the border illegally recently will be able to stay under DACA.
But Issa, who found 32 other House Republicans to sign onto his letter, believes more deportations will send a “signal” to families in countries like Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador.
In other words, nearly three dozen House Republican lawmakers have a message for Dream Act kids: “Sorry, but if some Central American families have been misled by unscrupulous smuggling groups, the appropriate solution is to deport young people from the only home they’ve ever known.”
There’s simply no way the White House would ever consider such a move, nor should it – the recommendation is absurd.
It’s worth backing up and considering some context.
Every year, tens of thousands of young, undocumented immigrants graduate from American high schools, but they’ve quickly found themselves stuck. They can’t qualify for college aid, and they can’t work legally. America is the only home they’ve ever known – in most cases, they were, at a very young age, brought into the country illegally by their parents – but upon turning 18 and graduating, they’ve faced the threat of deportation.
The proposed solution used to be the Dream Act (Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act), which used to enjoy bipartisan support. The legislation would provide a path to citizenship for these young immigrants – graduate from high school, get conditional permanent residency status, go to college or serve in the military, pay some steep fees, and become eligible for citizenship. The Pentagon enthusiastically backed the proposal, the CBO found it would lower the deficit, and advocates for the immigrant community saw it as an obvious, humane idea.
Republicans, including some of the GOP lawmakers who helped write the legislation, turned on the bill and killed it.
This led President Obama to adopt his deferred-action policy through an executive order. Undocumented young immigrants who were brought into the U.S. before they turned 16, who’ve been here for five or more years, who have no criminal background, and who got their diploma can apply for a work permit and stay.
Issa and his far-right allies believe it’s time to start deporting these young people, in order to send a “signal.” By some measures, the real signal is the one GOP policymakers are sending to Latino voters.
Indeed, Republicans now appear to be going out of their way to become the Deportation Party, or perhaps more accurately, “the party of ‘get the hell out.’”