When President Donald Trump formally announced his plan to end the Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy, created by former President Barack Obama, it inspired the expected reactions due to a divisive president. While most were outspoken about how ending DACA was cruel to the immigrants protected by the program, others applauded the president for the ridding of a policy they believed to be illegal.
However, in all of the intense reactions that have occurred since the announcement was made, most of the proponents and opponents of the decision have forgotten about one vital aspect of the decision. The President has given a six-month delay to the end of DACA, so Congress can pass a new law that would replace it. President Trump has also stated the possibility of revisiting the issue if Congress is incapable of doing anything about it.
Many people look at this whole situation as just another chapter in a controversial presidency, but I will play the devil’s advocate and look for the silver lining in all of this mess. What President Trump has done here is equivalent to turning up the heat on a tea kettle. When the tea you put in a teapot is ready, the pot usually produces a high pitched whistling sound which tells you that it is time to turn off the tea kettle. Obviously, the teapot does not do this on any sort of command, but you hear the pot whistling and know that you have to do something to stop it.
In this scenario, the DACA policy is the teapot and President Trump has turned up the heat on the teapot. The collective members of Congress serve as the role of the person who has to turn off the heat altogether. If you do not turn off the teapot, things will end badly for the tea inside. If Congress does not act swiftly to pass something to replace the DACA policy, then about 800,000 immigrants protected by the policy are likely to be deported.
It was a rather smart move by the president to come up with the six-month delay because it allows him to pin the blame on Congress if no new legislation gets passed. I am not saying that it is an ethically sound move – it is not – but it is a smart one nonetheless. Republican and Democratic members of Congress now have no choice but to work together to come up with some new legislation that could save as many immigrants as possible from being deported.
I know many people will read that last sentence and laugh it off as some wild fantasy, but failure to act in this situation has guaranteed consequences for hundreds of thousands of people who did nothing wrong. We are talking about people who were brought into the United States due to circumstances beyond their control. These people are hardworking individuals who have done what they can to make a good life for themselves in the only home they have ever known.
Some of those people in danger of deportation are students who go to Montclair State University. It is a fact that there are DACA recipients at Montclair State who work hard to make something of their lives just like every other student. On top of trying to keep up with the duties that come with being in college, some of our fellow classmates now have to worry about all of their dedication being discarded if members of Congress fail to come up with a new plan. One would hope that members of Congress could collectively realize the situation these people are in and use their power to give DACA protected immigrants a helping hand.
Cynicism is understandable given that Congress has failed to unite on potential resolutions to issues such as gun control and health care. However, the difference between those issues and this one is that President Trump has created a scenario where there is only one chance for Congress to unite and come up with a solution. If they can not, hundreds of thousands of people will have to leave the country and can not come back. That is the kind of consequence that can not be swiftly fixed at a later hearing. I want to hold on to the hope that for once, Republican and Democratic members of Congress can put their differences aside and find a way to help DACA protected immigrants who strive, just like legally born American citizens, for a shot at living the American Dream.