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Immigration Politics

Biden’s ‘day one’ declaration is more hollow pandering

After four years of Trump Derangement Syndrome — best characterized by the progressives’ mindless reflexive opposition to anything President Donald Trump says or does — Democrats cannot be blamed for being stumped by the latest work of the Republican-majority Supreme Court.

In recent days, the nation’s highest court has opened a Pandora’s box of litigation by rewriting the Civil Rights Act to placate LGBTQ activists, frustrated gun owners by refusing to support clear Second Amendment rights, and opened the door for an amnesty program for illegal immigrants. 

The latter was enough for presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden to emerge from his basement — and immediately show how hypocritical our politics are.

First, the backdrop. On Thursday, the Supreme Court ruled that Trump erred in pulling the plug on the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program. 

The regulation implemented by the Obama administration eight years ago allowed up to 800,000 illegal immigrants who were brought to America as children to avoid deportation. To do so, they had to meet certain conditions, such as enroll in school, get and keep a job, or serve in the military — and stay out of legal trouble.

DACA was dubious from the outset, because President Barack Obama created it out of whole cloth legally. He even admitted as much. Before signing the executive order establishing DACA, Obama acknowledged nearly two dozen times that he lacked the authority to do what he eventually did in June 2012.  

A 1950s law gives the president broad latitude on immigration policy, but Congress did not allow the president to ignore laws that called for removing people who are in the country illegally, which is what DACA did.

Trump promised to rescind the program, and eventually did, which invited legal wrangling from liberals. But Trump also had extended a hand. In 2018 he essentially offered amnesty for DACA recipients in exchange for Democratic support to beef up border security. Last year he again offered leniency for DACA enrollees by extending the time allotted for their protection from deportation in return for $5.7 billion in border wall funding. 

Congressional Democrats balked each time.

The Supreme Court on Thursday, by a 5-4 margin, found Trump did not follow federal law in unwinding the program. “The dispute before the Court is not whether [the administration] may rescind DACA. All parties agree that it may,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote with the support of the court’s liberal bloc, Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. Rather, he added, “The dispute is instead primarily about the procedure the agency followed in doing so.”

That procedure, the majority held, required Trump to provide a fuller, more “reasoned” explanation for the administration’s decision, and to identify how it would affect DACA recipients.

The ruling prompted some crowing from Biden.

“The Supreme Court’s ruling today is a victory made possible by the courage and resilience of hundreds of thousands of DACA recipients who bravely stood up and refused to be ignored,” the former vice president said. “As president, I will work to make it permanent by sending a bill to Congress on day one of my administration.”

Biden added, “For over eight years, DACA has given hundreds of thousands of young immigrants who came to this country as children the chance to contribute to the country they know as home. And with that opportunity, they have shown the incredible capacity of the immigrant spirit.”

“The joy of today’s victory does not erase the difficult road ahead. We know that much work remains to be done,” Biden concluded. “But I will continue to stand with DACA recipients, their parents, and their families at every step, and in November, joined by millions across this country, we will reject the president who tried to rip so many of our family members, friends, and coworkers out of our lives.”

“Day one?” OK, sure. 

Since Biden’s memory is often foggy, let’s review.

Last December, the libertarian Cato Institute issued a report called “The Trump Administration’s Deportation Regime Is Faltering.” In short, Cato found that Obama, once dubbed the “deporter in chief,” deported at least 350,000 illegal immigrants each year between 2009 and 2013 — a level Trump has yet to reach in any year.

It was Obama who first put “children in cages,” Obama who refused to work with Congress on DACA and Obama who ultimately went the tyrant’s route.

In other words, Joe Biden stood idle while Obama shipped people out of the country at a pace never seen before and then had eight years to advocate for and work with lawmakers on the change he now intends to propose on “day one,” if elected. 

He accomplished nothing.

Wherever you stand on immigration, the bottom line is that Trump has done more to bolster border security and aid DACA recipients within the bounds of the Constitution, while Biden accomplished nothing and panders in a way that is as hollow as a light bulb, and not nearly as bright.  

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