Saturday, September 23, 2017

Trump Must Keep His Promise: Repeal DACA - By Spencer P. Morrison

Both the president and Congress are struggling to commit to a stable course of action regarding President Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.  Do they scrap it or keep it?  Although there are legitimate arguments favoring either option, DACA should nevertheless be repealed.
Very quickly, what is DACA?  It is an executive order signed by President Obama in June 2012 that allowed all illegal aliens who arrived in America before they were aged 16 to apply for legal work permits, Social Security numbers, and driver's licenses and made them eligible for earned income tax credits.  Enrollment must be renewed every two years.  Since 2012, nearly 800,000 illegal aliens have taken advantage of DACA – most of them adults.  Essentially, DACA grants participants the rights and privileges normally associated with legal entry into America.  It is renewable amnesty.
There are three main problems with DACA.  The first is that it undermines the rule of law in a fundamental way.  In signing DACA, President Obama overstepped his authority and violated the division of powers as laid out in the Constitution.  DACA was and is a usurpation of legislative power; it is a knife in Congress's back.  This republic was constructed according to a number of axioms, one being that different arms of government have different parts to play and that each arm checks and balances the others.  Congress is the seat of legislative authority.  Representatives make, amend, and repeal laws and have power over the purse.  The office of the president is the seat of executive authority: the president enforces the law and serves as our commander-in-chief.
President Obama signed DACA because Congress was unwilling to legislate on the subject – as was Congress's prerogative.  The president does not have the right to create stopgap legislation like DACA, and the fact the DACA has remained this long is a testament to Congress's weakness.  Ironically, even Obama was, at least theoretically, aware of this.  In 2011, Obama himself said, "For me to simply through executive order ignore those congressional mandates would not conform with my appropriate role as president."  America agrees.  Trump must scrap DACA to restore some semblance of balance to government.
The second problem with DACA is that it created an enormous incentive for people to enter America illegally – as might be expected with any other form of amnesty.  DACA sent a clear message to the millions or poor who would migrate to America: beat the border patrol, and you will (eventually) be allowed to stay.
Amnesty is not a solution; it is part of the problem – it transforms America into a giant lure.  The evidence for this is overwhelming: it is no secret that DACA caused an unprecedented spike in youth migration into America.  Likewise, consider that Reagan's 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act, which granted 2.7 million people legal status, sparked the beginnings of the greatest tidal wave of illegal immigration in this nation's history.  Now compare this to the approach President Eisenhower took when he deported nearly 3 million illegal migrants: no more came for some thirty years.  Incentives matter.
Lastly, President Trump is right to scrap DACA on economic grounds.  Why?  It boils down to supply and demand.  Consider the apple market: if the supply of apples increases, what happens?  The price of apples goes down.  What happens if a stiff frost kills off most the apples, leading to a shortage?  The price of applies rises, since there are fewer apples to go around.  Labor markets work the same way: more workers means lower wages, while fewer workers means higher wages.
DACA adds some 720,000 legal workers into America's market.  These people compete with American workers, driving down wages and increasing unemployment rates.  This is axiomatic: even the pro-DACA Cato Institute acknowledges this fact, saying American companies will begin "recruiting, hiring, and training" Americans to fill the void.
Theory aside, there is ample evidence for this fact.  For example, before Hurricane Harvey, President Trump's crackdown on illegal aliens had already caused wages for construction workers to rise by 30 percent (half of Texas's construction workers were illegal aliens).  In light of recent events, their wages will likely rise even higher – but we can still attribute a significant portion of said rise to labor market constrictions.  Likewise, towns in Maine were forced to hire American workers after the availability of visas for temporary foreign workers declined.  What happened?  Unemployment decreased, wages increased, and working conditions improved in order to attract American workers.
Illegal workers have thoroughly distorted America's labor markets and hurt the bulk of her citizenry.  Illegal immigration is bad for the economy.  This is an empirical fact, not a point of contention.
For five long years, DACA has enshrined the rights of illegal aliens and put them above those of American citizens.  It is a slap in the face to Congress, the rule of law, and the common man.  President Trump must scrap DACA – and if he will not, Congress should.