Tyler is the Chairman of the Republican National Lawyers Association, Ohio Chapter.
President Trump’s decision to end DACA is the correct one.
“With respect to the notion that I can just suspend deportations through executive order, that’s just not the case… There are enough laws on the books by Congress that are very clear in terms of how we have to enforce our immigration system that for me to simply, through executive order, ignore those congressional mandates would not conform with my appropriate role as President.”
As Obama himself conceded, enacting DACA with an executive order was illegal and outside the constitutional authority of the president. Liberal leaders have universally condemned Trump’s decision, calling it cruel and cowardly. I argue that Trump’s decision to end the program through a gradual phase-out was an act of compassion deserving praise. At least 10 states planned to challenge DACA in court if the administration hadn’t taken action by September 5th. It’s almost certain that a DACA challenge would have succeeded and it’s unlikely a court would have put such a generous phase-out process in place.
There are those who claim that DACA is a permissible exercise of “prosecutorial discretion.” But prosecutorial discretion is supposed to be applied on a case by case basis after consideration of the facts and circumstances. In this case, more than 800,000 people were offered protected status without any sort of individual review. Would DACA defenders support Trump’s use of prosecutorial discretion if Congress fails to enact meaningful tax reform and he simply directs the IRS not to enforce the tax code? If not, would they be able to explain why one scenario is appropriate and the other is not? I doubt it.
“As Obama himself conceded, enacting DACA with an executive order was illegal and outside the constitutional authority of the president.”
Claims of cruelty on the part of Trump are also unfounded because, in addition to providing a gradual phase-out of the program, the president encouraged Congress to take action. President Trump should be commended for respecting the constitutional limits on his authority while also advocating for congressional action.
As Barry Goldwater said, we should “not attempt to discover whether legislation [or executive action] is ‘needed’ before [first determining] whether it is constitutionally permissible.” When it comes to DACA, there is no doubt that Congress has the authority to implement the program through legislation. Trump’s decision had nothing to do with the wisdom of the policy objectives behind DACA, and everything to do with respecting the constitutional separation of powers. Rather than criticize the president for his decision to restore the rule of law, those in favor of DACA should reach out to their congressional representatives and demand action.
For far too long, the Executive Branch has been quick to step in and fill the role reserved for the legislature. I am encouraged by this president’s willingness to accept his constitutional limitations.
Follow the author on Twitter: @tylerjherrmann