When U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Tuesday that the Trump administration intends to rescind DACA – the Obama-era program that allows immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as children to remain in the country, he cited the manner in which President Barack Obama created the program – without the approval of Congress – as a reason for rescinding it. There are currently 689,000 DACA recipients. President Donald Trump has said that he wants Congress to propose an alternative to DACA.
Charles “Rocky” Rhodes, constitutional professor of law at South Texas College of Law in Houston says the administration’s argument that creating DACA by executive order made it invalid cuts both ways – Trump is using the same method to rescind the program.
Congressman Henry Cuellar (D-Laredo) says giving Congress an opportunity to weigh in on a DACA alternative presents a challenge to moderate Republicans who had urged the president not to rescind the program. Cuellar predicts a “civil war” between moderates, and conservatives in the Republican House caucus who oppose any form of DACA.
“I’m ready to work in a bipartisan way to address this issue,” Cuellar says “but if history is any indicator of what’s going to happen, I’ve seen easy things – especially when it comes to immigration – turn into something very difficult. I’m hoping that I’m wrong.”
Cuellar says House Speaker Ryan will be the key figure in passing a DACA alternative. Cuellar suggests that Ryan could set aside the “Hastert Rule” under which only measures supported by the majority of Republicans can go forward.
“If the Speaker is willing to set aside that rule…which means you need Democrats and Republicans to get it done, I will tell you that the votes are there,” Cuellar says.The Standard reached out to several Texas House Republican for their thoughts on the possibility of a bipartisan agreement.
“These children who were brought here illegally through no fault of their own continue to make positive contributions to Texas and the nation, and it’s important for us to achieve a long-term resolution,” Senator John Cornyn said in a statement Tuesday,
“The administration’s announcement today restores the rule of law.. Congress is already taking steps to improve our immigration enforcement and border security…” Congressman Michael McCaul said.
Written by Shelly Brisbin.