Tag Archives: DACA

DACA gets new life

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

President Biden got right to work today.

He pulled out his pen and began signing executive orders that sought to reverse some of the policies enacted by his predecessor. So it begins.

I want to talk briefly about one of the issues that Biden deems critical to the nation: immigration.

He has breathed new life into the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals program nixed by the 45th president. The axing of DACA didn’t quite take hold, as the courts have intervened to keep it alive, albeit on life support. President Biden signed it back into the real world today while sitting in the Oval Office.

DACA, of course, is the program initiated by President Obama that granted a form of temporary amnesty to those U.S. residents who came to this country illegally as children. Their parents brought them here to seek a better life; they did break the law by sneaking into the country illegally, but the children who came with them didn’t deserve to be deported because of something their parents did.

Obama sought to grant them a reprieve from deportation. His successor nixed that notion. Now comes President Biden to revive DACA once again. Moreover, he is planning to introduce a comprehensive immigration reform package that seeks to fast-track citizenship applications for millions of immigrants who want to become U.S. citizens.

We are a nation of immigrants, for criminy sakes! Our founders all came here from across The Pond. The rest is history. We have welcomed immigrants through the many decades since. Then came a president who immediately characterized those seeking to come here from Latin America as “murderers, rapists and drug dealers.”

Do I want to enforce immigration laws? Of course I do! Those who sneak into this country to do harm should be arrested, prosecuted and kicked out. However, those who come here because they happen to be children of those who came here illegally deserve some compassion and understanding.

The U.S. of A. is the only nation they know. DACA seeks to give them a chance to seek permanent legal resident status or citizenship.

President Biden seeks to give them that chance.

DACA recipients get a boost from judge

(Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)exe

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Hundreds of thousands of U.S. residents have gotten a welcome boost from a federal judge who has informed the Homeland Security department to start accepting applications to become involved in a program established during the Obama administration.

These residents are those who came here illegally as children, brought to the United States by their parents. They’re called “Dreamers,” and the Obama administration shielded them from deportation through the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals act. President Obama established DACA by executive order; Donald Trump rescinded that order, seeking to end the DACA initiative.

Federal Judge Nicholas Garaufis’ ruling restores DACA for those Dreamers, giving them a chance to seek citizenship or legal resident status.

Indeed, as I’ve noted already on this blog, DACA recipients need some compassion from the U.S. government. Many of them came here as children, some as toddlers or infants. They know no other country than the United States. They have no connection to their country of birth. The Trump administration sought to round them up and send them packing to their birth country, which to my way of thinking is absolutely cruel in the extreme.

President-elect Biden is vowing immigration reform legislation in his first 100 days in office. It must include a permanent restoration of DACA for those who are willing to do what they must to become citizens or legal residents.

They have been given another reprieve from a federal judge to start that process once again.

As CNN.com reported: “Immigrant youth have resisted this cruel administration’s continuous attacks, and once more we have won,” said Johana Larios. “Now, first-time applicants like me will be able to have access to the DACA program and current recipients will be able to breathe a little easier as DACA is restored to its original form. I am now able to look forward to returning to school, and feel safe that I won’t be separated from my community.”

I am hoping for a return to humane immigration policies.

Immigration reform on tap

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

I want to look ahead to the new year, as I cannot wait for this one to disappear in the distance.

President-elect Biden got a question the other night from NBC News anchor Lester Holt: What do you want to accomplish in the first 100 days of your administration?

The new president’s answer? Immigration reform.

Biden said he intends to submit to Congress a detailed immigration reform package that he said must be done soon. It is time, he said, to improve an immigration system that has produced some horrific results, such as the separation of children from their parents when they are caught entering the United States illegally.

The president-elect already has declared his intention on Day One to sign an executive order that rescinds an earlier order that Donald Trump issued regarding the “dreamers” who live in this country. These are the individuals who came here illegally as children when their parents sneaked across the border.

Biden’s order would in effect restore an even earlier executive order that President Obama signed to protect those brought here under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. DACA recipients were protected from immediate deportation. Trump wiped that order off the books and then threatened to round up hundreds of thousands of DACA recipients and send them back to their birth country. He didn’t care that DACA recipients have no memory of their country of origin; they have become de facto Americans.

Whatever immigration package the president-elect presents to Congress should contain a fast-track provision for DACA recipients to (a) seek U.S. citizenship or (b) seek some form of legal resident status.

Donald Trump has been listening to dark advice given him by senior (anti-)immigrant adviser Stephen Miller, a young man who appears to have little tolerance for any immigrants of any kind. Being the grandson of immigrants, Miller’s point of view offends me greatly, as does the attitude that Trump adopted during his term in office.

President Bush wanted to reform immigration policy. As did President Obama. The reform effort stalled during the Trump era.

I welcome President Biden’s effort to deliver on his 100-day vow.

Yes, on DACA order

(AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

President-elect Biden has made clear his intention to walk directly into the Oval Office when he takes office and get right to work.

Biden’s transition team has announced the president-elect’s intention to sign several executive orders on Day One. One of them speaks directly to an issue that interests me greatly: restoration of the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals order that Donald Trump revoked not long after he took office.

Former President Obama issued the DACA order initially, intending to shield from deportation those U.S. residents who had been brought here illegally by their parents; most of those DACA recipients have lived in this country since they were babies, infants, toddlers. They know no other country than the United States of America.

Obama sought to give them a fast track to seeking permanent legal resident status or citizenship. Trump wasn’t having any of it. He revoked his predecessor’s executive order. Now Trump’s immediate successor wants to restore the DACA program.

Good for you, Mr. President-elect!

I haven’t yet come to grips with precisely why Trump targeted DACA recipients in that manner. I wonder if he did it because he truly believed that they were lawbreakers as young children/toddlers because they came here illegally under the care of their parents. Or did he do it just to wipe away a vestige of President Obama’s time in office, which seems to have rankled Trump to no end.

I’m going to go with the latter rationale.

Indeed, many DACA recipients have carved out productive lives as U.S. residents. Many of them have achieved academic excellence and success in their chosen profession. They pay their taxes and they have become de facto citizens simply by virtue of their ability to live by the rules of the land to where they were brought.

DACA recipients don’t deserve a free ride. Nor do they deserve permanent amnesty. They should be allowed to seek legal resident status without fear of imminent deportation to the land of their birth, but a land with which they have zero familiarity.

That, I trust, is President-elect Biden’s goal by restoring DACA status to hundreds of thousands of U.S. residents.

Count the ‘persons in each state’

It’s a given that Donald J. Trump doesn’t know the U.S. Constitution, the document he swore on oath to defend and protect.

With that established, let’s understand that when Trump says that census counters are not to count undocumented immigrants as part of the 2020 census, he is violating the Constitution … which he doesn’t understand.

Trump wants to limit the count of those who are living here to just citizens, actual Americans. No can do, Mr. POTUS. That 14th Amendment to the Constitution, the one that talks about equal protection under the law, has this to say about how states must be represented in Congress:

“Section 2: Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States, according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State … “

If you look throughout the 14th Amendment, you will not find a word in it that stipulates that only citizens can be among the “whole number of persons” counted in each state. The framers threw open the counted to be “persons.” Citizens or non-citizens, documented or undocumented immigrants. They all count the same, according to the U.S. Constitution.

That is the basis for progressive groups complaining about the restrictions that Trump is seeking to place on the census takers.

This kind of ham-handedness would have an impact on Texas, which stands to gain as many as three new representatives once the census is taken. The state also is home to quite a large number of undocumented immigrants, which you know about already. Many of those immigrants happen to be “dreamers,” the folks brought here as children when their parents sneaked into the country to pursue a better life for themselves and their families.

Trump is trifling with the Constitution in a way that is going to do harm to communities and to states. He must not be allowed to get away with this attempt to pilfer power from states that deserve a loud and clear voice within the halls of government.

POTUS’s petulance on full display

“These horrible & politically charged decisions coming out of the Supreme Court are shotgun blasts into the face of people that are proud to call themselves Republicans or Conservatives. We need more Justices or we will lose our 2nd. Amendment & everything else. Vote Trump 2020!”

“Do you get the impression that the Supreme Court doesn’t like me?”

Come on, Mr. Crybaby in Chief. You should know better than that, but you don’t.

The U.S. Supreme Court performed its duty in accordance with the U.S. Constitution, which you and the justices all took an oath to uphold, to protect and defend.

The court’s 5-4 ruling on the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals is a victory for reason, for humanity and for sane public policy. Its ruling is clear: You didn’t follow the law when you rescinded the order that kept DACA recipients from being deported to countries they never knew, as they were brought here as young children illegally by their parents.

And if you would read the Constitution, Mr. President, you would understand that the court’s decision isn’t about “liking” you. It has nothing to do with what the justices think of you personally … although I can deliver a fairly educated guess on how most of them might think of you. They keep those thoughts private, unlike you, who continues to blast out those idiotic tweets bitching about this and/or that policy matter that doesn’t go the way you prefer.

I’ve been watching politics for a long time, Mr. President, and I do not recall a president as thin-skinned and as churlish as you. I do remember that moment in the House of Representatives when President Barack Obama scolded the Supreme Court — whose members were sitting in front of him — during a State of the Union speech about its Citizens United campaign finance decision. I didn’t think that was appropriate, either … and I said so at the time.

However, President Obama didn’t blather on via Twitter the way you have done and you continue to do. Other predecessors of yours have taken their lumps like grownups.

Good grief, dude. Suck it up.

SCOTUS scores a win for DACA recipients

It looks for all the world as if the U.S. Supreme Court has been smitten by a case of humanity along with a touch of compassion.

The court issued a ruling, albeit a narrow 5-4 decision, that upholds the Obama administration’s executive order protecting the residency status of hundreds of thousands of folks who came here illegally, many of whom as children brought to the United States by their parents.

President Obama issued the order called Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. It protected about 650,000 immigrants from deportation. Donald Trump rescinded that order. The high court, though, today said “not so fast.”

Chief Justice John Roberts joined the court’s four progressive justices in siding with DACA recipients, writing the opinion that said Trump’s order lacked sufficient legal foundation.

This a good deal. Many, if not most, DACA recipients have known no other country but the United States. Many of them are unfamiliar with their country of birth. They speak English. They attend school here. They work here. They pay U.S. taxes. They live as de facto Americans. Except that they aren’t citizens.

Donald Trump sought to ship them out, send them back to a country with which they have no understanding or familiarity. Politico reports: Roberts, who has emerged in recent years as a semi-regular swing justice on the court, wrote the majority opinion concluding that the decision to phase-out the program was unlawful because it did not consider all the options to rein in the program and failed to account for the interests of those who relied on it.

So the fight continues. It appears that the Trump administration will be unable to craft a new order in time for the November election.

My hope is that if Trump loses the election that the new president, Joe Biden, will scrap the effort to eliminate the DACA program and allow these once-young immigrants to continue to pursue their dream of living in the land of opportunity … provided, of course, that they seek to legalize their standing as U.S. residents.

Undocumented immigrants getting unfair punishment

Oh, if we only could muster up a bit of compassion in this country for U.S. residents who lack proper immigration documents, but who perform “essential” work, pay their taxes and behave themselves.

These folks are being neglected by the “economic stimulus package” that is being sent to millions of Americans. They won’t receive the help that is going to U.S. citizens.

Call me a bleeding heart if you wish. I’m OK with that as it regards this issue.

The Texas Tribune reports that roughly 8.2 percent of Texas’ workforce comprises undocumented immigrants. Yes, they are here “illegally” in the strict definition of the term. They face deportation by the Trump administration.

But they pay their taxes, giving money to the U.S. Treasury. They do not break other U.S. laws. They act as de facto law-abiding citizens. Except they are being shut out of the government’s economic stimulus initiative activated by the coronavirus pandemic.

I do not believe that is fair. It is as unfair as the effort to criminalize the Dreamers who live here “illegally” because their parents brought them to this country as children. They are recipients of the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals measure enacted by President Obama, but which was revoked by Donald J. Trump. The state and nation are full of DACA recipients who have lived as model “citizens,” even as they lack the documentation that grants them citizenship, or even legal immigrant status.

And so the unfairness is now spilling onto those who deserve some economic relief in this perilous time.

DACA appears to be on the ropes at SCOTUS

The word out of Washington, D.C. is out: The U.S. Supreme Court’s conservative majority appears to be readying a decision that will enable the deportation of U.S. residents who were brought here illegally as children by their parents.

Donald Trump sought to have them sent back to their country of origin, even though these individuals know only life in the United States. They are the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals recipients.

DACA might be on the ropes.

The court will issue its decision in mid-2020, at the height of the presidential election. One should be wary of trying to predict what the court will rule.

The president has seated two new members on the court, giving him a narrow but solid conservative majority. I realize that elections have consequences and we well might learn next year just how dramatic those consequences can get.

President Obama issued an executive order that granted temporary amnesty from deportation for DACA recipients. Trump took office and then rescinded that order. Critics, such as yours truly, have called the rescission a heartless act. DACA recipients by and large have grown up as de facto Americans. They aren’t citizens, but they are full-fledged residents of this country. Many of them have become successful in many endeavors.

What would happen to them if they are sent to countries they do not know?

Well, the highest court in America will deliver its decision in due course. The hearing today, according to those who heard it, suggests the court is leaning heavily toward backing Trump on DACA.

This well could be a sad moment for many hundreds of thousands of U.S. residents.

Fix the DACA mess; restore humaneness to our immigration policy

 ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)

A Facebook friend, a man I actually know and respect, brought up a point on an earlier blog post that I want to acknowledge here.

He agrees with my belief that the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency needs to be repaired, not eliminated, but he cautions about the need to deal with the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals matter as well.

He is correct.

DACA recipients are being punished unjustly only because they were children when their parents sneaked them into the country illegally. The Donald Trump administration wants them deported. The president rescinded an executive order that President Obama signed that gave DACA residents a form of temporary amnesty from deportation.

ICE is under orders to find these folks and detain them.

This isn’t right. It’s cruel and it is inhumane to deport DACA recipients, many of whom have excelled scholastically in the only country they’ve ever known.

I should point out as well two previous Texas governors — George W. Bush and Rick Perry, both Republicans — have all but embraced the idea contained in the DACA executive order that Obama signed. They have supported initiatives, for instances, to grant DACA students in-state tuition at public colleges and universities in Texas. Why? Because they recognize the contributions these young students can make if they are allowed to succeed while continuing to reside in Texas.

ICE can do much good for the country as we seek to reform our immigration policy. I also agree with former Vice President Joe Biden, who’s campaigning for president, that the best way to ensure a thorough and lasting repair of ICE is to change presidents. Donald Trump won’t do it.

Indeed, DACA reform must be part of any effort to re-humanize our nation’s immigration policy.