“One of the ugliest and cruelest decisions ever made by a president.” That was one-time president hopeful Bernie Sanders’s reaction last Sunday to Donald Trump’s then-impending plan to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
Other Democrats have weighed in with similar condemnations of the decision, which became a reality on Tuesday. No one was more apoplectic than the man who greenlighted the program in the first place. That was Barack Obama, whose Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, introduced DACA in a policy memorandum sent from various immigration enforcement agencies on June 15, 2012. The memo directed agency heads to exercise their enforcement discretion on behalf of individuals who met the requirements laid out in the memo.
The same day, Obama, who had received a copy of the memo, delivered a speech in the Rose Garden announcing the “new policy.” In it, Obama said:
Let’s be clear: this is not amnesty, this is not immunity, this is not a path to citizenship. It’s not a permanent fix. This is a temporary stopgap measure that lets us focus our resources wisely while giving a degree of relief and hope to talented, driven, patriotic young people.
Precisely because this is temporary, Congress needs to act. [Emphasis added]
The name of the initiative made the highlighted words plain: Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. Under the policy, illegal immigrants who entered the country as minors would receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation, as well as eligibility for a work permit.
By Obama’s own lights, a bill from Congress that would permanently address the problem of lax border enforcement and the influx of immigrant minors never came. Now he is bemoaning that fact that the policy has been sunsetted, when in fact his successor has done exactly what he himself set out to do. Pres. Trump has given Congress six months to untangle the mess that led to DACA in the first place. Why is everyone on the Left so aghast at that?