On Monday, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden wrote in a newspaper op-ed that one of the first things he would do if he were elected would continue former President Obama’s efforts in granting citizenship to more than 800,000 Dreamers.
ABC News reports Biden, in the op-ed, blasted Trump’s handling of the immigration crisis happening at the southern border. The former vice president called Trump’s actions as an “assault on the dignity” of immigrants designed to “scare voters.”
“Trump repeatedly invokes racist invective to describe anyone south of the Rio Grande,” Biden continued, claiming he is committing “actions that subvert our American values and our ability to lead on the global stage.”
And, from ABC News:
Biden, who launched his 2020 campaign in April, calls for streamlining the asylum system for migrants and spending more on electronic security at borders instead of building Trump’s proposed U.S.-Mexico border wall. And he blasts Trump’s latest threats of mass deportation and his decision to cut aid to El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, three Central American nations that are sources of the increasing wave of migrants to the U.S. border.
Trump, a Republican, maintains that his immigration policies are necessary to keep the country safe. He also has made clear that his 2020 reelection strategy is focused squarely on his base, which since his 2015 campaign launch has embraced his hard-line nationalism and economic protectionism.
Biden’s op-ed is published in the Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald, with Biden using the English and Spanish versions to praise the diversity of the surrounding city where 20 Democratic candidates will take the debate stage in two heats Wednesday and Thursday.
More than 800,000 Dreamers were first allowed temporary legal residency when former President Obama executively enacted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). During his first year in office, President Trump allowed DACA to expire and thus ended the administrative amnesty. Several legal injunctions by federal judges have since put the Dreamers in legal limbo.
“On January 9, 2018, a federal judge in California blocked the Trump administration’s termination of DACA and continued to allow renewal requests,” the American Immigration Council reports. “Similarly, on February 13, 2018, a federal judge in New York issued a preliminary injunction preventing the administration from abruptly ending the DACA program. As of June 2019, individuals with DACA or those who have had DACA in the past can continue to renew their benefits on a two-year basis. However, first-time applications are no longer being accepted.”
Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle then pushed their own respective Dream Acts—which would grant these people permanent legal status—but no such bill was ever passed.
The unconstitutionality of Obama’s actions were confirmed when Obama tried to implement a second, similar program in 2014 called the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents program, or DAPA. Like DACA, DAPA provided an administrative amnesty for illegal aliens who came to the U.S. as adults and gave them work authorizations and access to government benefits.
The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a nationwide injunction against DAPA, which the Supreme Court allowed to stand. As the Fifth Circuit said, the fact that the president declined to enforce the law and remove illegal aliens “does not transform presence deemed unlawful by Congress into lawful presence and confer eligibility for otherwise unavailable benefits based on that change.”
Under our Constitution, Congress has plenary authority over immigration. The president only has the authority delegated to him by Congress – and Congress has never given the president the power to provide a pseudo-amnesty and government benefits to illegal aliens.
The DACA program suffers from exactly the same constitutional infirmities as DAPA. A number of states have threatened to sue the administration to stop the DACA program. In the face of that threat, Trump really had no choice. General Sessions’ legal conclusion was that DACA “is vulnerable to the same legal and constitutional challenges that the courts recognized with respect to the DAPA program.”