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DACA lies cloud immigration debate

Ruben Navarrette Jr. on

The moment that the administration made the announcement to end DACA, Team Trump essentially conceded that Obama had the power to launch it in the first place.

That was a smart concession to make. There's a simple reason why no court ever declared DACA unconstitutional. It's because -- despite all the smoke and spin from the right -- it's likely that the program was lawful all along.

A different program -- Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA), which was aimed at the parents of U.S.-born children -- was successfully challenged in court. But DACA is not DAPA.

More importantly, in that case, United States v. Texas, U.S. district judge Andrew Hanen ducked the issue of whether either program was constitutional.

DACA's critics also insist that Obama overstepped his bounds because a president doesn't have the power to make laws.

But this wasn't a case of Obama making his own law. It was merely an instance of a president doing what he is empowered to do by the Constitution: executing the law. In this case, that meant deciding who gets deported and when.

You see, Republicans are defending a Constitution they apparently haven't read. The legislative branch makes the laws but the executive branch decides how and when those laws are enforced. In this case, that means deciding who gets deported and who doesn't, and in six months, who gets deported again.

The GOP can't have it both ways. Either a president -- any president -- has the power to stop and restart deportations or he doesn't. Which is it?

If you don't like DACA, and you're glad that Trump killed it, that's fine. But don't lie about the program or its recipients to make yourself feel better about your position.

This just amounts to more deception. And the immigration debate has enough of that already.

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Ruben Navarrette's email address is ruben@rubennavarrette.com.

(c) 2017, The Washington Post Writers Group

 

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