“President Donald Trump has decided to end the Obama-era program that grants work permits to undocumented immigrants who arrived in the country as children, according to two sources familiar with his thinking. Senior White House aides huddled Sunday afternoon to discuss the rollout of a decision likely to ignite a political firestorm — and fulfill one of the president’s core campaign promises.”
Elana Johnson, Politico, September 3, 2017
Yes, it will probably ignite a firestorm but Trump will not be the one burning, rather it will be a conflagration over the capitol building. In a clever move, Trump put the onus on where it should have always been when it comes to writing immigration legislation – on Congress.
The Deferred Action Against Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was introduced as an executive order by President Obama in June 2012, when it should have been left to Congress to write the legislation and send it to him to sign or veto. However, with a Republican House dedicated to deadlocking the White House on any matter, and fueled by executive hubris, the President overstepped his authority.
This decision by the President is a surprising display of clear mindedness: Trump could have simply rescinded Obama’s order, but he opted to let it expire and put it on Congress to write immigration legislation. Moreover, he essentially placed a six-month moratorium on deportations for Dreamers while Congress works on a bill. This demonstrated both guile and compassion. Trump will also avoid a tense game of chicken with several republican states, including Texas, which pledged to fight DACA tooth and nail in court.
Some, such as Senators Dick Durbin and Lindsay Graham, have proposed that the DACA immigrants should be granted citizenship in exchange for a bill restricting immigration, such as the Raise Act, but that remains to be seen. The challenge now is for congress to come up with a bill or bills that will reform immigration in a way that puts citizens first and eventually works well for immigrants and native born alike.
Below is an overview of several bill currently in the House and Senate that may make it to the president for signature in whole or in part:
H.R.392 – Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act of 2017
Drafted by Rep. Jason Chaffetz (UT), this bill amends the Immigration and Nationality Act to: (1) eliminate the per country numerical limitation for employment-based immigrants, and (2) increase the per country numerical limitation for family based immigrants from 7% to 15% of the total number of family-sponsored visas.
H.R.2724 – Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Act of 2017
Introduced by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (CA), in order to amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to replace the diversity visa program with a new program under which an immigrant visa can be obtained by paying a fee of $1,000,000, and for other purposes.
H.R.2751 – U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Authorization Act
Introduced by Rep. Clay Higgins (LA), to amend the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to establish U.S. Immigration and Customs and Enforcement, and for other purposes.
H.R.2752 – United States Citizenship and Immigration Services Authorization Act
Also drafted by Rep. Higgins, To amend the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to establish United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, and for other purposes.
H.R.3647 – To amend the Immigration and Nationality Act comprehensively to reform immigration law, and for other purposes.
Introduced by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (TX), the details of which are currently limited.
S.1757 – A bill to strengthen border security, increase resources for enforcement of immigration laws, and for other purposes.
By Rep. John Cornyn (TX).
S.1615 – Dream Act of 2017
Introduced by Sen. Lindsay Graham (SC) and sponsored by Sen. Durbin (IL), Sen. Jeff Flake (AZ), and Sen. Chuck Schumer (NY), the bill would authorize the cancellation of removal and adjustment of status of certain individuals who are long-term United States residents and who entered the United States as children, and for other purposes. This is in reference to the recipients of the DACA program, who have previously been referred to as the “Dreamers.”
S.1560 – Integrity in Border and Immigration Enforcement Act
Drafted by Sen. Dick Durbin (IL), to ensure the integrity of border and immigration enforcement efforts by requiring U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to administer law enforcement polygraph examinations to all applicants for law enforcement positions and to require post-hire polygraph examinations for law enforcement personnel as part of periodic reinvestigations.
S.354 – Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment
Co-sponsored by Republican senators Tom Cotton and David Perdue, the bill seeks to reduce levels of legal immigration to the United States by 50% by halving the number of green cards issued. The bill would also impose a cap of 50,000 refugee admissions a year and would end the visa diversity lottery.
We strongly urge our readers to research these bills and learn whether or not your representatives support or oppose these pieces of legislation. An important column of our democracy is to remain informed on the actions of our government, and to ensure that our representatives are true to their word.