As the dust settles on a dramatic week, one thing is crystal clear: the decision regarding the fate of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, rests with one man, and one man only: President Donald Trump.
DACA came about in 2012 as a result of an executive action. It can be continued or ended by executive action. If President Trump wants to show “great heart” then he can and should keep DACA in place.
He can and should spare Dreamers who are American in all but paperwork. He can and should spare members of Congress from having yet another urgent challenge heaped onto an agenda already brimming with urgent challenges. He can and should spare employers from losing hundreds of thousands of valued employees. He can and should spare universities from losing some of their best students. Perhaps most importantly, he can and should spare the nation from yet another emotionally-charged debate that pours more salt into our nation’s wounds.
President Trump, in July on his way back from Paris, said that the decision regarding DACA’s future “is a decision that I make and it’s a decision that’s very, very hard to make.”
That is correct. It’s his decision, and his decision alone.
He can and should announce on Tuesday that DACA will continue, and he can and should call Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton to tell him to back off his threatened legal action. This will keep DACA in place until Congress has a chance to enact the bipartisan Dream Act.
Will Paxton back off his threatened legal action and his September 5th deadline? Only if Trump requests that he step back. With Texas experiencing a crisis of biblical proportions, the President can and should say to Paxton that together they should stay focused on responding to and recovering from the Harvey superstorm, rather than getting distracted by a manufactured crisis based on an artificial deadline.
This will allow Dreamers to work, study and contribute. This will allow Congress to focus on Harvey relief and reconstruction, raising the debt limit, and keeping the federal government open. This will allow the nation to avoid yet another racially-charged battle.
It’s up to you, Mr. President. One decision plus one call is all it takes. Surprise the nation and do the right thing.
Frank Sharry is executive director of America’s Voice Education Fund, which advocates on behalf of immigrant rights.
The opinions expressed in this commentary represent those of the author. EdSource welcomes commentaries representing diverse points of view. If you would like to submit a commentary, please review our guidelines and contact us.