Trump puts issue to legislators

Trump puts issue to legislators

Congress is the policy-making branch of the federal government. So let it make policy on illegal immigration rather than dodging the issue.

President Donald Trump finessed the issue, but not the controversy, this week when he called on Congress to address the vexing issue of nearly 1 million illegal immigrants who were brought to this country by their parents.

Trump announced that he intends to reverse his predecessor's executive order allowing the young people in question to seek legal status and work permits. President Barack Obama's order blocked illegal immigrants from deportation and allowed them to work if they met age and date qualifications — coming to the United States before turning 16 and before June 15, 2007.

But Trump's decision comes with a six-month delay intended to give Congress the time necessary to work out a legislative solution.

A bipartisan congressional solution, of course, is far preferable to Obama's executive order, particularly since there is widespread concern that Obama exceeded his lawful presidential authority in ruling by fiat.

The big question, however, is what, if anything, Congress will do with the issue given the widely differing opinions among members of the House and Senate.

This issue, of course, is intensely emotional. So it was no surprise that Trump critics were over the top in their condemnation of his decision or that illegal-immigration critics asserted he isn't being tough enough.

"If DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) is repealed and no permanent legislation is passed, they will all be fired and our government will begin the large-scale deportation of people raised in the United States," said Todd Schulte, president of, an illegal-immigrant advocacy group.

That seems like a stretch. There was no such action before Obama issued his DACA order, so why would there be if it's repealed?

This dispute involves an estimated 800,000 children of illegal immigrants who also are illegal immigrants by virtue being brought here by their parents.

Few people are interested in seeing them forcibly returned to their "home country" if the U.S. is the only home they've ever known. But this is not a one-time problem because an effective grant of amnesty sends a message to people all over the world who would rather live here than where they currently do.

The inevitable consequence, obviously, would be more illegal immigration by those who want the same deal, effectively eviscerating this country's borders.

That's not speculation, either. Congress passed a supposed one-time amnesty for illegal immigrants during the Reagan years. But the 1986 Immigration Reform Act, known as the Simpson-Massoli bill, that granted amnesty to illegal immigrants had the unanticipated effect of making a big problem even bigger.

That's why any solution generous toward this current crop of illegal immigrants will have to include credible measures designed to discourage more illegal immigration that will further aggravate the problem.

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