Cartier: No need to panic about DACA (column) |

Cartier: No need to panic about DACA (column)

Jacqueline Cartier
Special to the Daily |

Editor’s note: Find a cited version of this column at

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is, by its very name, an action that was “deferred” by Congress; basically doing what they do best — passing the buck.

It was deferred in 2012, and President Donald Trump is saying that after five years, defer no more, and passing it back to the hill, demanding that they arrive at a solution. He’s giving them six months and placing a hold on further action until it is resolved, protecting the security of current DACA immigrants during this process. The truth is that leaving millions of people in limbo about their future is downright cruel; it’s time for Congress to do their job and create a permanent solution.

Obama put DACA in place to address concerns over the consequences of inaction, not because he supported illegal immigration. However, that deferment allowed Congress to ignore the issue until forced to handle it last week. It is a difficult and sensitive issue that no one wants to touch, but Trump won’t let them off the hook, and he is willing to take a heavy political hit to arrive at a resolution.

Contrary to partisan rhetoric, DACA is not a Republican issue. In fact, both Obama and Hillary Clinton were outspoken in their stance against illegal immigration, even as it related to children, but there is a logistic reality that must also be faced.

The United States is not going to deport millions of people, yet we must have elements in place to legalize the process, just as there are in every other country, including Mexico, where you’ll be jailed if you remain in-country, unauthorized.

DACA requires application every two years, and while people assume that the acceptance and renewal is automatic, it was not. In fact, the ability to secure this exemption was quite subjective.

According to an official Obama press release, “The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will begin accepting requests for consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals. Deferred action is a discretionary determination to defer removal action of an individual as an act of prosecutorial discretion. Under this process, USCIS will consider requests on a case-by-case basis.”

This level of uncertainty leaves entire families at risk about their futures. Yet we must also consider, to what degree of certainty should those who have broken the law expect to be waived from its enforcement or prosecution?

All agree that those who stay in violation of their visas, and particularly, those who arrived outside of border security, did so unlawfully; of that there is no dispute. So, should a person be exempt simply because they hid from law enforcement for an extended period and misrepresented their status to other family members (children)?

We all understand the reasons why so many across the globe want to live in the United States. For all our faults, it is still the envy of the world, and even its harshest critics admire their ability to express those concerns in a country without persecution. While we detest hate speech, we fight with our lives to protect a person’s right to exercise it. Recent events are a harsh reminder of that privilege. Yet there are realities that we must face.

When dealing with the potential of deporting millions of people, the challenges to enforcement are immense. Just the cost of return transport alone is unsustainable, but the real expense comes from due process. Everyone, not just citizens, is entitled to legal representation within our justice system. That many people in our courts would overwhelm the process and generate years of delays, cost millions of dollars and, given its unlikely outcome, render the law virtually ineffective.

Immigration laws have been ignored for decades, leaving new arrivals the impression that they can stay without consequence. Thus, as a nation, we must also accept some responsibility for the extent of the current situation. Responsibility comes at a cost.

This issue is too important (and potentially illegal) for it to be mandated by just one person in the Oval Office. It needs the debate and judgment of an entire Congress. Let’s secure a permanent solution and move forward; millions of people are depending on it.

Jacqueline Cartier, of Avon, is a political and corporate consultant in Colorado and Washington, D.C. For further information, visit She may be contacted at

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