Commentary: Americans Won’t Let Democrats Weaponize Compassion on DACA

Jeffrey A. Rendall


It’s not a stretch to claim Americans are a compassionate people. From an early age we’re schooled by parents, pastors and teachers to look kindly on our neighbors, help them in a pinch and give regularly to churches and charities to aid the less fortunate in their time of need.

Beyond taking these basic personal moral lessons to heart we’re required by law to contribute to government safety net programs such as state worker’s compensation pools and federal Social Security and Medicare funds. These programs are so ingrained and visible that everyone sees how much their paychecks are reduced every pay period to pay for them – and they’re okay with it.

Politicians struggle with the percentage of every dollar that should automatically be allotted to these essentially charitable purposes, but few would seriously suggest eliminating them entirely. Privatizing federal entitlement programs is one solution but politically we’re nowhere near taking such a bold step.

No one wants to see others living on the edge of life and death. Americans’ compassion is boundless…but is it endless?

The Democrats must think so because they appear willing to shut down the government over the controversial Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program begun under Obama in 2012. Everyone’s aware of what DACA is so we don’t need to rehash it here. But followers of American politics should be cognizant of the lengths Democrats are willing to go to codify an unconstitutional executive action that essentially granted temporary amnesty to illegal aliens.

Time is running out, too. Word came this week that President Trump can’t legally extend DACA beyond its scheduled termination date – even if he wanted to.

Pete Kasperowicz of the Washington Examiner reported, “There were some indications last year that Trump would be willing to extend DACA if Congress were unable to agree on how to legislate the program that until now was a unilateral plan put in place by former President Barack Obama.

“But in a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, [Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen] Nielsen said she doesn’t believe Trump has that option to help younger immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children.

“’I believe the Attorney General has made it clear that he believes such exercise is unconstitutional,’ she said after Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., asked her if Trump has the legal authority to extend it. ‘It’s for Congress to fix.’”

That’s a scary proposition these days, hoping for Congress to “fix” anything. Obama was more than willing during an election year to create this ticking time bomb of a program knowing full well once government “compassion” was extended to someone that it would almost be politically impossible for future Congresses to rescind it no matter how unreasonable it was to sanction DACA in the first place.

DACA has been front and center ever since, so much so that last fall Trump decided to give the policy a little extra life in order to force Congress to deal with it one way or the other. The fate of DACA was to be the ultimate bargaining chip to bring Democrats and Republicans to the negotiating table since all Democrats and a good number of Republicans expressed support for keeping it.

What seemed like a good idea back in September doesn’t look so promising these days, however. Trump campaigned on a platform of restructuring the hopelessly broken American immigration system and clearly figured six months would be more than enough time for even a snail-like Congress to plot out solutions to problems that have been discernible for decades and are already addressed through numerous federal statutes.

At the time Trump probably also thought the Democrats would be so grateful for his goodwill gesture of extending DACA until March (instead of cancelling it outright as he’d hinted he’d do during the campaign) that they’d be more willing to make concessions on his promised border wall and internal enforcement measures in exchange. Instead, Democrats are now looking to shut down the government.

If it wasn’t evident before it’s crystal clear now — Democrats have no intention to bargain on anything much less their prized illegal immigration non-system which promises to provide them with the votes necessary to become the permanent majority party.

Sadly, too many Republicans appear disposed to help them get it. But will these GOP fence-sitters go along with Democrats shutting down the government over DACA?

The minority party is wagering a shutdown is a political winner for them. David M. Drucker wrote in the Washington Examiner, “Democrats don’t have the votes to block a spending bill in the House. But in the Senate, where a 60-vote supermajority is required to approve appropriations, the Republicans are nine votes short, and that’s if they are unanimous, which on fiscal issues is rare.

“The issue is whether the voters will reward the Democrats if they use the power of the 49-seat Senate minority to block the majority party in Congress and the White House. In the past, when Republicans prosecuted a similar challenge, voters deemed them unreasonable…

“If Republicans have a concern, it is that Trump’s occasionally undisciplined, erratic communications style will allow the Democrats to dominate the debate. That, and the president’s low job approval ratings and a possible midterm backlash against the GOP, is keeping the Republicans on edge.”

In other words, the Democrats are betting against Trump – again – speculating Americans’ disgust with the president’s non-traditional personality and odd statements will blind them to the reality of what enacting DACA into law will mean to this country.

In his article Drucker insinuates both the 1995 and 2013 government shutdowns were political losers for Republicans because the voting public blamed them instead of Democrats for causing the impasses. This is certainly the conventional wisdom among establishment consultants in the dysfunctional Washington swamp — but didn’t the Republicans enjoy a wave election in 2014?

The truth is Democrats believe they’re on the correct side of every issue and that playing to Americans’ “compassion” on DACA will bring them just rewards at the ballot box because they constantly portray Republicans as “angry” and mean-spirited. Such tactics may work against the ruling class GOP establishment but Trump’s support is broader than the typical Republican base.

The immigration issue is different than the others, too. While in 2013 many people were upset over funding Obamacare it (the government shutdown) boiled down to a dispute over the federal budget. Some Republicans, led by Ted Cruz, argued it would be devastating to the American economy to continue paying for the constitutionally objectionable Obamacare. Cruz’s was an inherently political argument, one that a majority of Americans didn’t understand or adhere to.

Simply put, immigration ain’t Obamacare. Immigration is a multi-faceted issue involving economics, national security, national sovereignty, border enforcement, racial attitudes and perhaps greatest of all, the public’s notion of fairness. This isn’t just a battle over federal spending and the budget like Obamacare turned out to be – immigration policy digs down much deeper to the core of the Republic.

Many see the concept of immigration as the ultimate tug-of-war over the American experiment – do we as a people have the power to determine who comes to this country and who gets to become a citizen? Is it moral to allow people who broke the law (or their parents and relatives) to earn the coveted reward of citizenship ahead of millions of others who are waiting in line to come to America?

DACA recipients are commonly referred to as “Dreamers.” What about the dreams of American children? Couldn’t the billions of federal (and private) dollars being devoted to supporting the “Dreamers” go to furthering the prospects of kids born here and whose families may have been in this country since the Mayflower landed at Plymouth Rock?

And isn’t it racial discrimination to favor one class of ethnicities over another?

Democrats are playing politics with the belief systems of Americans and I can’t understand how they’re assuming they’ll win on these grounds. Do Democrats seriously bet people will suddenly change their minds on immigration and reward them with their votes? Or is it strictly a numbers game?

If so they’re dead wrong and so are those Republicans who are considering caving to the whims of politics on this issue. This isn’t a battle over money and the federal budget this time – it’s the whole shebang for many folks. Republicans need a proverbial “hill to die on” at some point – why not choose immigration, an issue where those with common sense instinctively grasp which party is really in the wrong?

Republicans have to make a stand sometime; the entire party agenda cannot be held hostage to the Senate’s 60-vote filibuster threshold. Now is the time. Pass a budget and let the Democrats vote it down if they dare – and then let the public decide who to punish and who to reward.

As far as Trump is concerned he’s not allowing the Democrats to get to him. Caitlin Yilek of the Washington Examiner reported, “President Trump said Tuesday he wants immigrants ‘from everywhere’ after reports last week said he expressed disdain for immigrants from African countries, Haiti, and El Salvador.

“’I want them to come in from everywhere. Everywhere,’ Trump told reporters when asked if he wanted more people to come from places like Norway.

“Trump did not answer whether he wants immigrants to come from ‘just the Caucasian or white countries.’”

No doubt the questions came from a media bent on proving racism even where it clearly doesn’t exist. Trump continues to deny using the “sh—hole” term and now there are (at least) two people who were in the meeting who said they don’t recall hearing him use the word. It’s a he said/she said situation that can’t be proved either way, but Democrats are sure giving it the ‘ol college try.

Two of them in the House even introduced a resolution to censure Trump last week, more substance-less grandstanding that just distracts from the real debate on immigration.

Americans are compassionate but they’re not stupid; there may be a need to compromise on immigration but it must be a two-way street. Democrats who believe they’ll win the political battle over a government shutdown are sorely mistaken — thankfully they won’t realize it until November.




Reprinted with permission from


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