Many issues lead to the government shutdown, but DACA is the issue perpetuating the impasse. This gives us an opportunity to look at DACA and explore a potential compromise.
At the beginning some full disclosure:
- My family consists of 2 citizens and 1 lawful permanent resident.
- I am being harmed by the shutdown.
The short version of why DACA is an issue is President Obama implemented it via executive order. This was doubtless an illegal order, and states indicated they would file suit. When time came, President Trump reversed the order to make the suit moot, and delayed implementation of the order to afford Congress an opportunity to address the issue before DACA was officially revoked so the resolution could be orderly with the possibility of continuing to protect the dreamers.
Although I draw a different conclusion than the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, they give a good summary of the debate positions in their concise explanation on the Catholic Social Teaching regarding immigration. The teaching states:
- The first duty is to welcome the foreigner out of charity and respect for the human person.
- The second duty is to secure one’s border and enforce the law for the sake of the common good.
If anyone is an innocent party to the immigration debate it is the dreamers. So the thought of punishing them with deportation seems harsh. However, not punishing the dreamers does not extend to rewarding them for their parent’s misdeeds.
Removing the fear of deportation is not punishing. A grant of citizenship is a reward. So how do we balance these two positions into a solution? The answer is simple. When Congress finally addresses the issue create a new immigration category for the dreamers: lawful permanent resident without possibility of citizenship subject to deportation for criminal offense.
This would meet both the moral requirement to “welcome the foreigner out of charity and respect for the human person” while maintaining law enforcement “for the sake of the common good.” The dreamer can stay, but they cannot vote or sponsor family members for immigration. However, if they commit criminal acts, they are subject to deportation for the sake of the common good.
So, whose fault is the shutdown? The above reasoning isn’t novel/creative thinking. The insistence on a pathway to citizenship makes clear that the democrats are seeking voters rather than humanitarian good. To that end, the shutdown falls on their shoulders.