A warning to readers: This column will contain several sports metaphors.
The failure to reach a permanent solution on DACA during the latest government spending bill negotiation is the policy equivalent of a blown save.
The chance for a win was there. But Congress and the White House couldn’t get a deal done.
I’ve written previously about my belief that the need to solve the DACA issue once and for all is not only possible, but essential.
Hundreds of thousands of young people are ready to contribute to our society in the workplace, in the military, and in higher education. But being in a state of perpetual legal limbo makes real upward mobility difficult.
Congress and the White House seemingly never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity when it comes to DACA, though.
I was on Capitol Hill last week with a coalition of business leaders and immigration reform advocates, including groups like the LIBRE Initiative and leaders like Chicanos Por La Causa President David Adame, a longtime voice for the need for a permanent DACA fix. We were urging Congress to seize the opportunity to bring a permanent, positive resolution on behalf of DACA recipients.
Despite bipartisan support from congressional leaders like Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas) and Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-Wash.), the Dreamer issue remains the same as it was pre-shutdown.
The president last Friday signed a spending bill to keep the government open for the duration of the fiscal year. The bill contained $1.4 billion for border fencing, which is nowhere near what the president was demanding during the government shutdown.
The Democrats may consider the result a win. It’s not.
The opportunity was ripe to solve the DACA puzzle, including establishing a path to citizenship.
Instead, what does Congress have to show for its efforts? Funding for 55 new miles of physical border barriers and an estimated increase of 5,000 detention beds per day for ICE.
And what else? Now we have a declaration of a national emergency on the border by the president, a dangerous precedent and a bad outcome for both parties.
Now, both DACA and the wall are the result of the use of executive authority without congressional approval, and the courts will be forced to weigh in now absent any new policy moves from the Article I branch of government.
For both parties, there was a real chance to achieve the permanent DACA conditions they claim they want.
For Republicans, they risk the national emergency card being played on them the next time the Democrats take over the White House. Think a national emergency on climate change or access to Medicare for all.
And so, the DACA recipients remain a political football, with both parties acting like it’s Super Bowl LIII; punt after punt after punt.
The government will remain open for the rest of the fiscal year. That we consider that an accomplishment is a sad commentary on the state of federal politics.
There was a chance to deliver for the thousands of young people who are American in every sense of the word–30,000 in Arizona—but whose path to a prosperous future is clouded by the possibility of deportation.
Congress and the president could have done something to fix the problem. They didn’t, which means it will only get worse.
A deal on DACA makes too much sense. We have to keep pushing. Here’s hoping next time both parties will take yes for an answer.