Rule of law v. human toll: The diction behind Ga. lawmakers’ DACA responses

A group attends a rally to defend the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in front of the MDC Freedom Tower in Miami, on Tuesday Sept. 5, 2017. President Donald Trump on Tuesday began dismantling the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, program, the government program protecting hundreds of thousands of young immigrants who were brought into the country illegally as children. (Pedro Portal/Miami Herald via AP)

WASHINGTON — Georgia lawmakers’ responses to the Trump administration’s decision to end deportation protection for nearly 800,000 young immigrants Tuesday fell along the predictable partisan lines. Even more fascinating were the very words the officials used to voice their opinions.

The Republicans used terms like ‘unconstitutional’ to describe their opposition to former President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program. They said President Donald Trump was adhering to the ‘rule of law’ and ‘separation of powers’ by phasing out the executive order and lobbing the issue to Congress.

Not included in most of the formal statements released by those Republican lawmakers, though, was any mention of the so-called Dreamers themselves, the young people the DACA program was designed to protect.

Juxtapose that with Georgia’s Democrats, who almost exclusively focused on the human aspect of Trump’s decision and not the constitutionality or legality of his or Obama’s choices. They used words like ‘despicable’ and ‘unconscionable,’ and highlighted the contributions of those undocumented youngsters to American society.

The differences show just how challenging it will be for congressional leaders to find a legislative path for saving the program in the months ahead.

It does, however, look like they have somewhere to start. Nearly all the lawmakers said Congress should act.

Take a look for yourself:

Rep. Rick Allen, R-Evans:

“It is the job of Congress to write our laws, and President Obama’s DACA program was a clear example of executive overreach. I look forward to working with my colleagues in Congress to find a feasible permanent solution.”

Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Lithonia:

“By rescinding DACA, President Trump is sending a clear and unambiguous message to his Steve Bannon-alt right supporters that they have a friend in the White House…President Trump did the wrong thing in failing to protect our DACA youth, and history will judge him harshly.”

Rep. Doug Collins, R-Gainesville:

“President Trump’s decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals memo demonstrates his understanding of the law, to which we are all bound. Unfortunately, the previous administration disregarded the law in a 2012 decision that remains unconstitutional.”

Rep. Sanford Bishop, D-Albany:

“These individuals include talented students, hard-working high school graduates, and veterans who pose no threat to public safety. Going after these individuals would consume much-needed resources needed by law enforcement to target those who would do America harm.”

Rep. Barry Loudermilk, R-Cassville:

“Tweaks by Congress, and executive orders by various administrations, have created an immigration policy that favors illegal immigration and punishes those who want to legally come here to work. President Barack Obama’s executive order was outside the constitutional authority of the executive branch, and I agree with President Trump’s decision to reverse the order and call on Congress to fundamentally reform our immigration policy.”

Rep. David Scott, D-Atlanta:

“These are children and young adults who were brought to the U.S. as small kids, and they know no other home but here in America. They attend schools, hold jobs and are valuable members of our communities across the nation.  They are American through and through, and deserve the same respect, dignity and chance to succeed that the rest of us hope for ourselves.”

Rep. Buddy Carter, R-Pooler:

“We are a nation of laws and we must enforce our immigration laws. This is one way we uphold our greatest responsibility of providing for the common defense. It is in the best interest of the citizens of the United States and our homeland security that we ensure that all those wishing to come and stay in our nation not only contribute in a positive way to our American society, but also come here in the proper and legal way. Amnesty should never be the answer.”

Read more about Trump’s DACA moves: 

The Trump administration is rescinding DACA

What is DACA and why does President Trump want to end it?

DACA supporters march in Atlanta as President Trump’s decision looms

Reader Comments 0


@weetamoe: The question whether or not the Executive Branch can unilaterally choose not to deport certain individuals (deferred action) is allowed in the broad discretion exercised by immigration officials, and, as a practical matter, they must determine whether or not the removal of said individuals is a sensible decision. Moreover, Congress appropriates only enough money to annually deport fewer than 400,000 individuals. Surely if the intent of Congress were to execute wholesale deportations and not defer action on some, it would provide the money to do so.

Obama created DACA by combining the authority of the executive branch and the powers delegated to it by Congress.

The other benefits bestowed upon DACA recipients are based in 1981 federal regulations, ratified into law in 1986, that place aliens who have been granted deferred action on a list of the kinds of immigrants who may apply for employment authorization.

While the intent of the 1986 law was to prohibit the employment of illegal aliens in the U.S., the law includes an exemption that applies explicitly to non-citizens authorized to be employed in the U.S.  Those would be the ones covered by deferred action in this case.  All perfectly legal and constitutional.

So, no there is no "DACA executive ukase" or unconstitutionality, only the lack of understanding as to how government works.

BTW: Hey, both Obama and McCain are politicians. There never was a serious agreement between Obama & McCain on preserving the public financing system for the general election. McCain used his wife's corporate jet, and while technically legal, it exemplifies a broken public system that bestows advantage on the wealthier candidate or the candidate with a wealthier spouse.  And, you are really stretching the limits of credibility as far as the rest of your hyperbolic remarks are concerned.


Obama put his hand on some historically  symbolic bible and vowed to protect and defend  the Constitution.He in his own words violated the Constitution by his DACA executive ukase. Obama shook hands with MCCain (what was once considered a "gentlemen's agreement" )    and promised to abide by the McCain/Feingold campaign financing rule. He reneged on the agreement because he claimed he needed a lot of money to win the election. Obama promised that Obamacare would save every American family $2.500 in their health insurance costs and that all could "keep their doctors." Obama's "legacy" is one of mendacity, deceit, and betrayal.


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