In 2012, President Obama stood before the Washington press corps in the White House Rose Garden and announced the creation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. At the time, he called it a “temporary stopgap measure.”
What President Obama didn’t mention during that Rose Garden press conference is that he did not have the authority to take this action. It was one of many examples of his executive overreach and circumventing Congress to implement his policies without the support of the Senate and House of Representatives.
When President Trump announced last year that his administration was taking action to end the DACA program, he rightfully returned the power back to Congress to restore the integrity of our nation’s immigration system. We now have an opportunity to address this issue in the proper manner. It is an opportunity that Congress should not squander.
We can create a permanent solution, one that resolves the status of DACA beneficiaries with a long-term fix, but also ensures we do not find ourselves facing this same situation in the future.
It doesn’t make sense to treat one symptom without addressing the root causes of our broken immigration policy. We cannot continue to take a patchwork approach to solving these issues.
For months, Congress has been working very hard to try to help individuals who were brought here as minors through no fault of their own. Since we agree that reforms are needed to secure our borders and improve security inside our borders, it makes sense to address these issues simultaneously.
President Trump presented a thoughtful framework to accomplish these shared goals. The framework was based on four pillars: securing our borders, resolving the status for DACA-eligible individuals, eliminating the diversity visa lottery program and limiting chain migration.
Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, turned the President’s framework into legislation that could become law. Given our mutual goals, it should be able to pass the Senate in a bipartisan manner.
Unfortunately, it, along with other well-meaning but flawed attempts address these concerns, failed to receive enough votes to move forward in the Senate. The difference between what Senator Grassley proposed and the other options put forward by my colleagues, is that Senator Grassley’s proposal has a chance to become law. The other proposals simply do not.
It is my hope that my colleagues, who I know care about resolving the plight of DACA beneficiaries, recognize that a solution is more important than a political message. We have an answer. It’s one that the President has indicated he would sign into law. My colleagues should not turn their backs on our best chance to solve these issues.