​DACA - The Mother of All Carve-Outs

​Congress has six months to come up with a DACA replacement or DACA look-alike. And they may not be able to do it. The GOP majority in the Senate is possibly too slim and we’re about to find out how truly deep the divisions are in the GOP over immigration policy.

This is a disaster right?

If you're looking for a quick legislative solution that ends debate on immigration, then yes, this is a disaster for you. Because there is no such thing.

This is an issue that covers what citizenship means and how one acquires it; what a nation state is and how it defines and defends its borders; and how one thinks of citizenship itself. These are not small issues. So while everyone can blame the political theatre in Washington D.C. the reality might be that Congress is doing what the framers intended:

Deliberating. Rather than just being a legislative factory adding to the mountains of laws, rules, and regulations that govern everything from the paving on your driveway to the size of your toilet tank.

Yes, the manner in which Congress deliberates - sound bites aimed at target audiences rather than coherent persuasion; hardening partisan policy positions that play to the radical base on both sides of the aisle; corporate lobbying that often cuts against the wishes of those who voted for this administration - might be less than edifying. But maybe what is and has been happening is a long and big and messy battle on immigration that precedes meaningful legislative solutions.

Aside from the obvious solution of upholding the existing law. But that's seen as heartless in today's world.

This is not necessarily an optimistic view. It's hard to predict what that future immigration reform will look like. And it may very well be that Congress will be unable to pass anything for far longer than the 6 months the administration has given them. And more than this is the fact that borders themselves - that is, America's borders - are being philosophically deconstructed by a good swath of academia and the political class, along with employers and a large percentage of liberal and independent and even some conservative voters.

So billionaires like Soros and academics like Ilya Somin and politicians like Andrew Cuomo - who has threatened to sue the administration for enforcing the law - may very well get their way and ensure that America's borders become even more porous, until they are truly wide open.

Ah, but wait.

The fight is really over America's Southern border. Not it's maritime borders, like Italy's and Spain's say, who have to deal with boatloads of illegals fleeing war and hunger in Africa and the Middle East. Not it's Northern border with Canada where you will get busted if you try to head across the frontier. Ditto for the border between Alaska and Canada.

DACA is all about the mother of all carve outs on immigration policy. For Central Americans and mostly Mexicans. And it will almost surely remain carved out as the grand exception to upholding the law in America.

But if this long, drawn out and increasingly divided immigration debate does end up creating a huge precedent-setting amnesty (many argue it already has), then what of the rest of America's borders? What do you say to guards in Alcan, Alaska? Just wave a white flag at the Canadian border folks over in Beaver Creek Yukon? Or the harbor officials in Miami? Or airport customs officials at Logan International?

Keeping a slightly reformed DACA on perpetual life-support will not end this debate. It still has a ways to go, even if Congress doesn't really want the ball in its court. And one hopes that the fact that America has to, and has had to, defend its borders, remains relevant to what has become a radicalized, identity-politics slug-fest.

Posted by Keeley at September 6, 2017 7:31 PM
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