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Sunday, March 24 , 2019, 1:06 pm | A Few Clouds 60º


Joe Guzzardi: After Flip-Flop on DACA, Great ‘Dealmaker’ Donald Trump Comes Away with Zilch

On his way to the White House, President Donald Trump forgot all he knows about negotiating. Author of the best-selling book, The Art of the Deal, Trump reneged on his important campaign promise to end the deferred action for childhood arrivals, or DACA, amnesty without getting a whit in return.

Back in 2011, then-citizen Trump bemoaned that Washington is full of politicians, but not a single negotiator could be found among them.​

After telling The Associated Press that DREAMers can “relax” and that they’re not a target for deportation, but without leaning on Congress for something in exchange, Trump can include himself among the missing dealmakers.

Trump gave Democrats a gift-wrapped prize they coveted, a continuation of new work permits and renewals for illegal immigrants, without asking for anything — American job saving E-Verify, for example — in return.

At various times since his inauguration, Trump has referred to DACAs as exceptional kids whom, because he loves children, he’ll treat with great heart and compassion. Apparently, he not only doesn’t know how to cobble together a deal, he doesn’t know much about DACA either.

First, DACA permits were granted based solely on the applicants’ claims. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services never conducted face-to-face interviews, so no one really knows whether the minor aliens’ claims were fact or fiction.

DACAs had no burden of proof; USCIS accepted any and all claims. Came as a young child, went to high school in the United States, have a GED, lived in the United States for two years or more? All sounded good to USCIS.

Second, if the illegal immigrants were employed pre-DACA, they’re identity thieves. Identity theft is a felony punishable by a jail sentence and/or fines.

In the millions of words written since President Barack Obama’s 2012 executive action that created DACA, little has been said about identity theft. In fact, the USCIS DACA application specifically instructed candidates not to list fraudulent Social Security numbers they may have been used on employment forms.

Third, speaking of crimes, DACA permits were granted to candidates that may have had three misdemeanors. To unplug the huge court backlog, many misdemeanors were pleaded down from felonies. Most people don’t include multiple misdemeanors and felonies in their definition of exceptional kids.

Fourth, Obama’s DACA wasn’t approved by Congress, the only branch of the government that can write and pass immigration legislation. Trump surely knows this, just as he knows that with a simple one-paragraph memo to USCIS that would take 60 seconds to draft, he could end DACA.

Standards for DACA eligibility are so lax that, according to Chris Crane, head of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement union, having any criterion at all is pointless. Crane said that the Homeland Security Department ordered his agents to release anyone who said they qualified for Obama’s DACA.

Nearly 800,000 DACAs have been issued. Those who are truly exceptional could be handled on a case-by-case basis, instead of granting a blanket amnesty that includes work permits and other affirmative benefits.

Trump’s flip-flop on ending DACA, a cornerstone of his campaign promises to make immigration policies work for Americans, bodes poorly for other more restrictive reforms his base hoped for when they voted for him.

As of today, Trump owns DACA, and may have to suffer the consequences in 2020.

— Joe Guzzardi is a senior writing fellow for Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS) who now lives in Pittsburgh. He can be reached at [email protected], or follow him on Twitter: @joeguzzardi19. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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