Column by Representative Steve King of Iowa, September 1, 2017
News outlets are reporting that President Donald Trump is considering ending DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). The unconstitutional Obama-era executive action granted amnesty and work permits to approximately 800,000 illegal aliens on the condition they attest they illegally entered the United States as minors. This potential action to end DACA is welcome news, and if it happens, it would represent the fulfillment of another of President Trump’s campaign promises to the American people. I encourage the President to keep his promise by ending President Obama’s illegal “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” (DACA) program immediately.
During the campaign, President Trump made an unforgettable appearance in Des Moines, Iowa. Many Americans will remember his appearance at the Iowa State Fair as a day hallmarked by then-candidate Donald Trump’s use of his personal helicopter to give rides to many lucky children in attendance. However, I remember his trip to Iowa primarily for another reason.
What I remember was a solemn promise that then-candidate Donald Trump made to the American people. When asked by NBC’s Chuck Todd what he would do about illegal aliens amnestied under the DACA program, Donald Trump minced no words: “They have to go,” he said. “Chuck, we either have a country or we don’t have a country.”
With this one phrase, Candidate Trump distilled the crux of the matter into an argument everyone understands. “We either have a country or we don’t have a country” is exactly right. We are either a nation defined by its borders, its culture, and its adherence to the Rule of Law or we aren’t. We either recognize that United States citizenship is intrinsically meaningful, or it isn’t. We either place America and Americans First, or we don’t.
I stand alongside Americans who want their laws respected, who want their borders enforced against those who would make breaking our law their very first act, and who want the economic interests of American citizens prioritized over those of illegal aliens. I believe that President Trump does too, and that ending DACA works hand-in-glove with his promise to build a border wall: both acts would stand as monuments (one intangible and one physical) to the Rule of Law.
President Obama, by his own admission, violated the Constitution when he suspended deportations of illegal aliens with his DACA executive action. As documented by Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, on 22 separate occasions former President Obama stated that he couldn’t grant the kind of amnesty that DACA recipients later received from Obama. Here is a typical Obama quote on the subject: “With respect to the notion that I can just suspend deportations through executive orders, that’s just not the case, because there are laws on the books that Congress has passed . . . Congress passes the law. The executive branch’s job is to enforce and implement those laws. And then the judiciary has to interpret the laws.” And, yet, the lawless Obama suspended deportations of illegal aliens under the guise of ‘prosecutorial discretion.’
To add insult to injury, Obama’s DACA executive action even lawlessly gives the executive branch the ability to issue work permits to illegal aliens, too. Like most liberals, President Obama thought nothing of degrading the value of American citizenship in furtherance of his global vision of a world without borders. Not only did Obama grant an amnesty which serves to embolden and encourage others who might come here illegally, but he even rewarded those who did break our laws with a work permit so they can compete with American workers for American jobs.
Allowing 800,000 illegal aliens to stay and compete with our citizens for jobs can be called a lot of things, but it cannot be called a policy which places America First. If the President fails to act, his hand may be forced anyway: States have lined up to challenge DACA in court and they will very likely prevail. President Trump should keep the promise he made in Iowa. Doing so would restore respect for the Rule of Law, and would serve as a reminder to all that, under President Trump, the Constitution, the Supreme Law of the Land, will be honored and the security and economic interests of American citizens will be protected.
Congressman Steve King represents Iowa’s 4th District. He is a member of the House Judiciary, House Agriculture, and House Small Business committees.