Democrats and their DACA deviousness

  • 12 September 2017
  • NormanL
Democrats and their DACA deviousness

As the controversy over what to do about DACA continues to swirl, it's worth taking a step back to find out how we got into this mess in the first place. According to this item from Carl Cannon, there's a lot of blame to go around...among Democrats. And the finger pointing needs to start at the top, with former president Barack Obama:

It’s not the fault of the “dreamers” that their parents brought them here, without papers, as minors. On that we can agree. But whose fault is it that they are still in limbo? For that answer, Obama needn’t take to social media. He can simply look in the mirror.

Ten years ago, a narrow consensus was forged in Washington, if only briefly. Its architects were Edward Kennedy and John McCain.  Their carefully crafted legislation created a new temporary work visa, established an electronic data base for employers to check employees’ work status, and earmarked money for border enforcement. It also provided a path to citizenship for an estimated 11.6 million illegal immigrants, provided they paid a fine and back taxes, met English and civics requirements, and stayed on the right side of the law.

President George W. Bush signaled his support. But the vote was going to be close, which Kennedy and McCain knew. Conservatives dismissed the path-to-citizenship as a fig leaf for amnesty. Organized labor hated the guest-worker program, known as Y-1. McCain and Kennedy could have overcome that opposition, albeit narrowly, except for one last little group of senators. Call it the Senate Presidential Wannabe Caucus. Its membership included Illinois freshman Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York. That’s only two votes, but it was enough.

On June 6, 2007, Sen. Byron Dorgan, a North Dakota Democrat, introduced an innocuous-sounding rider to the McCain-Kennedy bill. Its official description was “an amendment to sunset the Y-1 non-immigrant visa program after a 5-year period.” As everyone in the Senate understood, this was a “poison pill” designed not to shore up the bill, but sink it. Dorgan got his way, too. The amendment passed 49-48, essentially killing comprehensive immigration reform.

Kennedy was incensed. He’d implored Dorgan and Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid not to do it. McCain felt particularly sandbagged by Obama, who’d inserted himself into the legislative negotiations uninvited, wrangled a concession he wanted, then voted with Dorgan. McCain assumed Obama didn’t want George W. Bush or himself -- the man Obama expected to face in 2008 -- to get credit for immigration reform. Ted Kennedy, who ended up endorsing Obama over Clinton anyway, believed this, too.

Kennedy died in 2009 before he could convince Obama to revisit this issue. It wouldn’t have mattered. The GOP was becoming more nativist, the Democrats more cynical. The chance for a legislative solution had come and gone.

Cannon offers much more historical perspective on the issue, so the peice is worth reading in full...and remembering that there was an opportunity to fix all of this a long time ago. But Mr. Obama, and a handful of other Democrats, preferred to play politics, instead.