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DACA: Should the children of illegal immigrants be deported?

Photo from MPR News

I spoke to Doualy Xaykaothao, a reporter for MPR News yesterday about the President’s decision to cancel President Obama’s executive action known as DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). DACA was an attempt by Obama to thwart laws that could lead to the deportation of young people who came here illegally as children, and offered accommodations that allow them to work, go to school and so on. There are an estimated 6,000 people with “DACA” status in Minnesota and 800,000 around the country. You can listen to the report here.

Most legal experts agree that Obama’s executive action was illegal, a flagrant abuse of the office of the president. The president does not have the authority to amend laws made by Congress. In fact, the president is tasked with carrying out the laws made by Congress. As a result, it was widely expected that DACA, which was facing legal challenges from at least ten states, would be found unconstitutional. The Supreme Court upheld an injunction against a twin order regarding the parents of children in the U.S. illegally, but only narrowly (you can read about it here).

Doualy Xaykaothao had a tough assignment for me, but a good one. After I explained that the constitutional problem presented by DACA in lawyer-speak, she asked me to explain this to non-lawyers.

I said something like this: The president is not a King (or Queen). We get to elect people to represent us, to make the laws we live under. This is the great American experiment. This is what created the prosperity and stability that attracted your parents—and that without the rule of law, none of this works.

I would add today that illegal immigrants who want to find a way forward would be wise to avoid—even denounce– extremists who do not love America, our Constitutional system or way of life.

A good example of people to avoid is an immigration attorney from Mexico named  Susana De Léon, who reluctantly calls Minnesota her home, and does not conceal her contempt for America. Yesterday she was pushing the idea that American citizens do not have the right to be in North America because it really belongs to Mexico: “We are the original inhabitants of this land … deport Donald Trump … deport the colonizers,” De Léon said at a Minneapolis rally.

In the MPR report, De Léon also refers to the President as “the occupant of the White House.” And said that “Somebody pushed us here…I didn’t want to come to Minnesota, Minnesota is cold, it’s difficult.” She wants general amnesty for the 11 million illegal immigrants in the country.

Ms. De Léon? That kind of rhetoric may keep your law business bringing in the bucks from scared illegal immigrants, but it will not help their case in the court of public opinion. If you do not like it here, I would be happy to buy you a one-way ticket back to Mexico.

(By the way, Ms. De Léon’s own immigration story is featured on the Minnesota Historical Society web page “Becoming a Minnesotan”   She came here from California and went to the UofM–no one forced her. What a fraud. We probably paid for that project with Legacy Amendment funding.)

I also suggested that people brought here as children should sit down and write to Congress, and copy the President; tell your story, tell Congress why you want to be an American. If you want to be a citizen, then act like one!

This is good news: The President is trying to prompt Congress to solve this problem rather than leave DACA up in the air. Most Americans agree that this is a unique situation; and although there are no guarantees, I hope that Congress creates a path of citizenship and ends the uncertainty and fear for people who came here through no fault of their own.

Mark Kirkorian from the Center for Immigration Studies agrees—and points out that it is important that Congress not to reward their parents or offer a general amnesty that undermines legal immigration and the rule of law. Americans have had it with illegal immigration but most people recognize that when you are brought here as a child, and this is the only country you know, Congress should figure out a way for these young people to stay even if it means their parents have to leave the United States.

I also told her I thought the media is purposely whipping up hysteria around the issue of illegal immigration and that it was irresponsible.

You can listen to the report, including my interview, on MPR today here.

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