To Preserve the Constitution, Trump Must End DACA Program

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President Trump is expected to decide in the coming days whether or not to continue the controversial Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that was begun under President Obama in 2012. The program, which was rightly called “executive amnesty” by Obama’s critics, paved the way for hundreds of thousands of young illegal immigrants to stay in the U.S. without fear of deportation. Not only that, it conferred a kind of quasi-legal status on the immigrants, angering anti-immigration advocates who argued it sent the wrong message to others who would try their luck crossing the border.

Trump, who can only be described as a hardliner on illegal immigration, has been uncharacteristically open the idea of extending Obama’s program. Having promised to deal with those protected by DACA with “heart,” Trump has faced criticism from some of his own supporters for what they see as a betrayal on one of his core campaign promises.

“It’s a decision that I make and it’s a decision that’s very, very hard to make. I really understand the situation now,” Trump said in July. “I understand the situation very well. What I’d like to do is a comprehensive immigration plan. But our country and political forces are not ready yet.”

That decision may need to be made sooner than later. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has issued an ultimatum to the administration: End support for DACA by September 5 or face litigation. Texas, which is already embroiled in a lawsuit against Obama’s later DAPA program, has declared its intentions to go after DACA in the same manner. If a judge issues an injunction against DACA similar to the one issued against the president’s later order, it would immediately remove any protections currently enjoyed by nearly 800,000 illegal immigrants enrolled in the program.

While Trump’s reluctance to end the DREAMers program is understandable from the natural standpoint of human sympathy, this should not be a difficult decision. As president, Trump has sworn an oath to protect and defend the Constitution, and he must take that oath seriously in a way his predecessor never did. If he can convince Congress to extend permanent protections to DREAM Act beneficiaries, that’s another matter. We still have our reservations, but at least we would be back underneath the umbrella of lawful legislation. Any other attempt to extend Obama’s protections via executive order would only solidify that man’s contempt for the law into a matter of tradition. No matter what your view may be on these young illegal immigrants, that’s something that cannot stand.