BPC's Immigration Task Force Releases Statement: Expanding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program Will Undermine Reform Efforts

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Thursday, October 10, 2013

Washington, D.C. – The following is a statement by the members of the Bipartisan Policy Center's (BPC) Immigration Task Force about recent calls for the president to extend DACA through executive powers:

"Some immigration reform advocates, frustrated by the slow pace of congressional action, are suggesting that President Obama use his executive authority to extend the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to all of the estimated 11 million undocumented individuals residing in the United States. Under DACA, certain DREAM Act-eligible individuals have been granted temporary permission to stay in the country.

"Beyond just legal concerns, we believe expanding DACA in this manner would be unwise for several reasons.

"First, extending DACA through executive action is not a permanent solution to our immigration system’s shortcomings. It is a temporary device, wholly dependent on the desires of whoever is president at a particular moment in time. What one president may accomplish today through executive action, another may undo tomorrow using the same authority. Our country needs a durable solution that only bipartisan legislation, supported by majorities in both houses of Congress, can provide.

"Second, for immigration reform to be successful, it must earn the trust of the American people. Using the president’s executive authority to sidestep Congress would undermine that trust and confirm the fears of those who believe the government is not serious about upholding all elements of reform, particularly the implementation of stronger border security measures and workplace screening of undocumented individuals.

"Third, such a move would preempt the legislative process that is unfolding in Congress. The process can seem long and unwieldy, but let’s not shortchange the substantial progress that has already been made a mere nine months into a two-year Congress. The Senate passed a comprehensive reform package and the House’s Judiciary and Homeland Security committees have cleared several reform bills. With these building blocks in place, our energies should be focused on encouraging Congress to move forward with the legislative process rather than trying to circumvent it through preemptive executive action.

"With immigration reform in sight, our nation’s leaders must put aside partisan, political considerations and work diligently to narrow their differences. There are plenty of good ideas on the table from members of both parties. Now is not the time to give up on the legislative process, but rather to engage it with renewed vigor and determination."