Immigration remains a highly volatile issue and the odds of finding common ground on any meaningful reform seems less and less likely as the nation heads into a presidential election year.
Immigration was also front and center at the Supreme Court Tuesday, as justices heard arguments concerning President Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, better known as DACA.
DACA was created by the Obama administration in 2012 to grant legal status and work permits to people brought to the U.S. illegally when they were small children. Roughly 700,000 people enrolled in the program.
But Center for Immigration Studies Executive Director Mark Krikorian says Americans need to understand what the court is actually deciding here.
“This case is not about whether DACA is a good idea or not or whether it will cause people hardship to have their work permits not be renewed,” said Krikorian. “This is purely about whether a president has the authority to end a program that a previous president made up.”
Krikorian says that question is a constitutional no-brainer in Trump’s favor and he is appalled that the matter even reached the Supreme Court.
Krikorian, who is firmly in favor of lowering the number of legal immigrants, believes keeping DACA could be useful if the accompanying legislation limits practices such as chain migration.
However, he places the odds at any significant immigration reform in the next year at zero. Krikorian says election year politics and the leftward lurch of many Democrats in this debate make common ground hard to find.
Recently, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, said if elected he would move to abolish Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Patrol. He would also decriminalize illegal immigration, making it a civil offense. In addition, Sanders would suspend deportations and allow 50,000 climate migrants into the U.S. in his first year in office.
Krikorian says those are quickly becoming the standard positions inside the Democratic Party.
“It has become truly radicalized on immigration and I don’t use that word lightly,” said Krikorian. “That fringe perspective on immigration, that immigration control of any kind is illegitimate, that borders are illegitimate, that’s not fringe anymore in the Democratic Party. That is the basic mainstream position of Democratic elected officials.”
Listen to the full podcast to hear Krikorian’s full breakdown of the Supreme Court arguments and the dwindling prospects for any constructive immigration reform.