Passing the heat: DACA move puts pressure on Congress

Posted 9/13/17

If you were associated with the City of Westminster and Police Captain Don Hauptmann back in the day, you’ve probably heard of Hauptmann’s Law of Thermal Dynamics.

If not, allow me to explain.

Hauptmann had a wise and catchy saying that is …

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Passing the heat: DACA move puts pressure on Congress

Posted

If you were associated with the City of Westminster and Police Captain Don Hauptmann back in the day, you’ve probably heard of Hauptmann’s Law of Thermal Dynamics.

If not, allow me to explain.

Hauptmann had a wise and catchy saying that is applicable in everyday life and certainly in the political arena, at all levels of government — “When the heat is on you, it ain’t on me.”

For example, when the media is bearing down on the sheriff’s office over some incident, it isn’t focused on other local governmental organizations.

Well, Captain Hauptmann’s Law reminds me of President Trump’s action from last week about the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA. Rather than make the final decision on what would be the fate of the DREAMers, he passed that hot potato onto Congress. I would say that was pretty shrewd!

Two wrongs do not make it right

While I rarely find myself agreeing with positions and actions taken by President Trump, his decision on DACA makes sense. If you subscribe to the theory that then-President Obama exceeded his authority in 2012 when he issued the DACA executive action, you would likely concur with Trump’s approach.

I have contended all along that Obama exceeded his authority on various executive orders which required Congressional legislation including the DACA program. If Trump had issued a new executive order to extend the DACA provisions, it would be a case of two wrongs which do not equal one right action.

More importantly, he had the Texas Attorney General and others threatening litigation if he didn’t act to drop DACA.

His six months proviso seeking Congressional action puts the issue where it belongs as well as shifting the political pressure to Congress.

Process versus content

The original intent of then-President Obama - to allow younger undocumented immigrants who originally came to America with their parents to live in this country without fear of deportation - was and still is appropriate and justified. These children of illegal immigrants came to the United States at an early age in most cases. America is the only country they know. Why punish them and deport them? America has become their country and their opportunity.

Among the 800,000 DACA youth are stellar examples of academic success, ambition to make a better life here and to contribute their talent and skills in the work place. Obama’s intent was right, but his approach or process was unconstitutional and we know why he resorted to executive action. Congress had failed to pass the DREAM Act.

Stay tuned: the outcome is yet to be decided

Now, Congress has the hot potato in their lap and hopefully this time they can achieve bi-partisan support to pass the needed legislation.

It is good to learn that Speaker of the House Paul Ryan is in favor of the DACA program along with our two Colorado U.S. senators as well as Congressman Mike Coffman.

We know from past experience going back to 2010 that it will be a tough fight especially in the Senate to pass some version of DACA. Here’s a point to remember if Congress does pass the necessary enabling legislation — President Trump will either sign the legislation into law or veto it. Ultimately, it will be on his desk if the legislation is successful. As President Harry Truman once said, “The buck stops here.”

One other key point: Either way, the issue of DACA not being renewed by the President is headed to court. While Trump placated the Texas Attorney General and others who were threatening legal action, governors and attorney generals from states on the other side of the issue are in the midst of suing the federal government.

Either way, it looks like this issue will be decided in the federal courts unless Congress shows some leadership and passes new DACA legislation.

Stay tuned, because this issue is bitterly dividing our country.

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