On Politics: DACA negotiations likely to continue
January 18, 2018
Wow. President Donald Trump utters a relatively normal (for Trump), factually accurate characterization in a closed, private meeting with a few Senate leaders and everyone comes unglued.
World leaders elbowed their ways to microphones to condemn Trump's "racist" remark about the lack of sanitary sewers in many third world nations. Well, actually, it wasn't "world leaders."
According to USA Today, it was former world leaders, such as Vicente Fox of Mexico and Laurent Lamothe of Haiti. French spokesman Benjamin Grivaux wisely said: "Silence is the preferable reaction." My advice: follow the French. This will blow over just as Trump's remark to Billy Bush about treatment of women did.
The permanent damage emanating from the event was caused by the only Democrat in the room at the time, Sen. Dick Durbin (D – Ill.). The purpose of the meeting was to try to craft compromise legislation that would protect some 800,000 undocumented children of illegal aliens who were brought to the United States by their parents.
Legal scholars on both the left and right have condemned Judge Alsup’s decision as judicial activism. For you non-legal scholars, this ruling could be compared to a judge overruling the Emancipation Proclamation.
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Durbin could barely wait for the meeting to end so he could tattle to the Washington Post about Trump's "vulgarity." He was so anxious to score cheap political points that he betrayed the delicate camaraderie of the bipartisan meeting. Having lost his colleagues' trust, it is unlikely that he will be invited to any future such negotiations if, indeed, there are any.
Sound and fury by political blowhards and leftist media over Trump's comment nearly drowned out news of a far more consequential occurrence.
Here's the background: In 2012, President Obama tried to get Congress to enact protections for innocent children of illegal aliens. In doing so, he told many Latino audiences that he could not constitutionally take such action by presidential executive order, only Congress could because it would require an amendment to the Immigration and Naturalization Act.
When his effort to generate legislation failed, he went ahead and issued an executive order (called "Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or "DACA") that he earlier said he couldn't. He claims it was grounded in the presidential authority to issue pardons . . . in other words, he "pardoned" 800,000 individuals who had not even been charged with a crime.
Then Trump got elected. His attorney general researched Obama's "DACA" and concluded that it was unconstitutional because it conflicted with existing federal law and because presidential pardon authority applies individually to convicted criminals, not masses of people not even charged with a crime.
So Trump rescinded Obama's DACA order effective 6 months hence, keeping the program in place so Congress could amend the conflicting law. Simple, right?
Well, nothing's simple these days. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, at taxpayers' expense, filed a challenge to Trump's action in federal district court in San Francisco (in the liberal Ninth Circuit). Not surprisingly, he found Judge William Alsup, a Clinton appointee, who enjoined Trump's action because one of Trump's 2016 election campaign remarks "raised a plausible inference that racial animus towards Mexicans and Latinos was a motivating factor in the decision to end DACA."
Legal scholars on both the left and right have condemned Judge Alsup's decision as judicial activism. For you non-legal scholars, this ruling could be compared to a judge overruling the Emancipation Proclamation because Lincoln was a "racist," who only freed slaves in the Confederate states, not Maryland, Kentucky and Missouri. Of course the government will appeal Alsup's decision and it's a foregone conclusion that the Supreme Court will overrule it.
What's next? The Trump administration could simply retract its rescission of DACA and reissue it using a different legal basis. However, legislators from both sides of the aisle recognize the need for congressional action to fix the problem so negotiations are likely to continue. They probably will not include Senator Durbin.
Jim Clark is president of Republican Advocates. He has served on the Washoe County and Nevada GOP Central Committees. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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