Immigration is a tough thing to talk about.
On one hand, there are humanitarian causes: families looking for a better life, refugees fleeing from a war-torn country or a young student aspiring to bigger things.
On the other hand, there’s respect for institutions: rule of law, national security and tradition. The balancing act between these two values always has been a tense one, but in recent years, the act seems like magic trick, with no one sure how it’s to be done.
President Trump’s recent decision to rescind the Obama-era policy Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, highlights the tension surrounding immigration. While I support the spirit of DACA, I also support the president’s decision.
People who came to this country illegally, but did so under their parent’s will, hold a unique spot in the immigration talks. Who can blame them for their actions? But the fact nonetheless remains: their status is an illegal one.
DACA helped to relieve this difficult fact by allowing these young people who had been in the U.S. illegally before a certain time to remain in the country.
There’s a fundamental problem with DACA, however — it isn’t federal law, but tries to be. When former President Obama created the policy, it was a direct subversion of Congress’s authority. While, in detail, it may have been constitutional, in spirit it was undermining the separation of powers so essential to our government.
Congress should create the law: it’s how our system was set up and we should be faithful to it, even when our personal feelings demand something else.
Trump’s decision to rescind DACA helps restore respect for the separation of powers. I don’t believe it’s out of hatred that he committed this action, rather, he was respecting the spirit of the Constitution. The fact that he gave Congress six months to make DACA into federal law gives credence to this position.
Furthermore, Trump has expressed his support for the DREAM Act and his willingness to help Congress pass it.
I sincerely hope Congress passes the act and Trump signs it into law. Not only would it bring about a refreshing sense of good governance, but it may also be the right policy for these young people. This series of events represents how great our system can work when those in power respect the institutions and their given powers.
Perhaps it even represents a crack in the infuriating grid-lock that has gripped Washington for what seems forever.
Perhaps the balancing act can become something we can casually walk rather than wobble through.
Gerberding is involved in the mathematics club, speech and debate team and student ambassadors.