Immigrant Jose Montes attends an event on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, DACA and Deferred Action for Parental Accountability, DAPA, part of the immigration relief program, downtown Los Angeles Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2015. The White House promised an appeal Tuesday after a federal judge in Texas temporarily blocked President Barack Obama's executive action on immigration and gave a coalition of 26 states time to pursue a lawsuit aiming to permanently stop the orders. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)

The DACA Dilemma: DACA II, III, IV…

This past Tuesday, the Department of Homeland Security rescinded DACA, which was a policy directive issued in 2012, by then DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano. On June 15, 2012, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Act was announced by President Obama, and primarily consisted of criteria contained in the 2010 Dream Act which failed passage in the Senate twice.

Although DHS has rescinded DACA, it did suspend implementation for 6 months, allowing for both an orderly withdrawal process and giving time for Congress to address the issue legislatively.

Legislative success is by no means assured, and it is highly probable the 6-month window will close without DACA being written into law. However; if passage of a DACA styled bill does become reality, it is a safe bet it will contain the same criteria as the 2012 DHS directive.

If Republicans allow passage of a new bill containing old DACA criteria, they will have once again proven themselves to be strategically inept. Inept because as written DACA is obsolete. At least this will be an continual claim by liberals.

The current criteria for DACA eligibility is as follows:

  1. Must have come into the US before their 16th birthday.
  2. Must have lived continuously in the US since June 15, 2007.
  3. Were under 31 years of age on June 15, 2012.
  4. Were physically present in the US on June 15, 2012.
  5. Had no lawful status June 15, 2012.
  6. Must have a high school diploma or GED, or honorably discharged from US military, or are currently enrolled in school.
  7. Have no felony convictions or serious misdemeanors, do not have 3 or more misdemeanors and do not pose a national security threat.

It is estimated 800,000 illegal aliens are registered in the current DACA program, but perhaps as many as 1.7 million are eligible.

It would be the height of naïvety to not consider the fact that thousands of children have illegally entered the US since June 15, 2012, which is after all a totally arbitrary date. It would be similarly naive to not believe additional children continue to flow across the border every year. Obviously, if a new Dreamers bill becomes law using current DACA language, these children would not be covered.

The primary reason Republicans feel the urgent need to address Dreamers is emotion. The Dreamers issue is almost always discussed in terms of compassion, grace and love. According to the MSM and liberal politicans, opposing DACA/Dream Act shows a lack of compassion for those who didn’t overtly commit the illegal immigration act.

True or no, the most important follow-on question has not been addressed. To wit: Can any DACA/Dreamer’s Act truly be a one-time legislative event?

The liberal spin writes itself: How can you be compassionate about one group of children, but not the next group?  Republicans must be craven and hypocritical if they voted for the first Dream Act because of political pressure but not additional add-ons.

This is the trap liberals are setting for Republicans. For liberals, this is not about those initial 800,000 illegal alien children. Those were merely paving the way for total family amnesty. Realizing discussing amnesty at a macro level was more dispassionate than personal, Obama’s administration moved the discussion from blanket amnesty to an amnesty intended to tug at our heart strings. Children brought here by their parents. The “not their fault” mantra is used daily, and in reality, no one wants really wants to argue it. Bottom line: the child angle is a winner.

This angle gives liberals ample room to imcrementally push the amnesty envelope. What about their parents? What about DACA registered adults who have children born here? What about grandparents who depend on DACA adults…ad infinitum.

Without shrewd strategic thinking and good solid long-term planning, Republicans will be drawn into the DACA sequel saga for years to come. Picture Chuck Schumer grabbing the microphone and serenading Mitch McConnell with “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling” every 30 months or so. The MSM would eat this up, and positively pummel Republicans time after time after time.

DACA doesn’t have to be a continued sequel nightmare, but will be if Republicans don’t do the heavy lifting upfront. Right now, it remains to be seen if they are even capable or even care that much.

About the author

Wm. P. Fitzhenry

5th generation Texan, 2nd generation reformed Presbyterian, a twin and a serial entrepreneur.

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