In every state there are laws against theft. Theft is usually described as the taking of the property of another. Similarly there are laws in every state specifying that employees shall be paid a minimum wage for relatively unskilled work. Employees who feel underpaid are free to leave.
Now, let’s suppose that a group of McDonalds, Burger King, Taco Bell, Subway, and Pizza Hut workers get together and they decide that since the companies won’t support a $15 minimum wage, that they are simply going to supplement their wages out of the till. So every night at the close of business they take $100 or more to “compensate” for what they consider “stolen labor.” They are caught on videotape in the act. The thefts amount to more than $500, so they’re felonies. The police take all this to the prosecutor in the belief that he’ll take it to a grand jury.
But the prosecutor says “I know we have laws against theft, but I worked at McDonalds in high school, and I’m sympathetic to these kids. I’m not going to prosecute them.”
What do you suppose would happen with that local prosecutor? If he was in any state other than California, Washington, Oregon, New York or Illinois, my guess is he’d be thrown out of office in a recall election. Laws exist to protect everyone. If employees can steal from Ronnie’s place, they can steal from the Orthodontist, the Ace Hardware Store, and the movie theater too. Lawlessness would abound.
The DACA Debacle
So, let’s see if I get this right.
We have laws that say if you want to immigrate here and work here, you have to come here through our immigration process, wait your turn, learn our ways, support our constitution, and keep your nose clean. Break any of the rules, you go back where you came from.
We have senators and congressman from both parties who say “well, I know we enacted those laws, but they’re so mean, let’s just not enforce them.” Note, they don’t say “let’s change them,” they say that we should not enforce them. So our former president, Barack Obama, did just that. He said he would institute this ridiculous “dreamer” program and just not enforce the law of the land. Not only that, he’d grant them work visas. Why? So they would vote Democratic.
But, there is a problem with that.
The problem is found in Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution which, among other things provides that the president “shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed…” In other words, once a law is on the books, the Constitution requires the president to “faithfully execute” that law. Faithful execution means you execute the law as it is written and interpreted, not on the basis of your individual whims.
But but but…what about discretion?
Now, there is such a thing as prosecutorial discretion. An executive officer can choose which battle he fights. In certain select cases he may forego prosecution of a criminal offender if the law and public policy favor a different approach. Many state prosecutors use this power to do “diversion agreements.” Prosecutors use this where a person like a school teacher who may have driven impaired. The teacher is well respected, everyone knows children can drive you to drink, and the teacher has sought professional help. If prosecuted, she would lose her job if she was convicted. Prosecutorial discretion in a particular case can be a good thing (although it often winds up being a sweetheart deal for the rich and powerful in many jurisdictions). But not for a class of wrongdoers.
Everyone makes the assertion that coming here illegally is a “civil infraction” as opposed to true criminality. The fact is, it doesn’t make any difference. If you do not belong here, we have a right to make you leave.
The Threat versus Reality
The Governor of New York has made the ridiculous statement that if President Trump does not stay with the DACA program, he’ll sue. Perhaps he doesn’t read the papers. A whole bunch of red state governors beat him to it; they already have sued to overturn DACA. This is the argument the red state governors make:
- Congress passed a law
- Presidents must faithfully execute the law
- Not sending illegal aliens packing is not faithfully executing the laws; therefore
- We demand that the president kick the illegals out.
Here is the argument the governor of New York will make:
- Dreamers came here with their parents.
- They had to obey their parents.
- They did not have any choice.
- They are as American as apple pie and baseball.
- It would be so mean to send them back
- Make the president do what I want to or I’m going to cry!
Now, when the left-wing lawyer-zealots get done, there will be a lot of “due process” and “liberty interests” and “detrimental reliance” all woven in there, but the argument will still be that the governor of one state can insist that the federal government not enforce laws validly on the books because “the children” (all of whom are roughly 25) didn’t come here on their own. Oh, and let’s not forget that the end game is to lock in 800,000 additional Democratic voters.
Who cares why they are here? That is not relevant. They only relevant question is “are they here legally?”
They are not here legally. They have no right to be here. They have no right to work here. To obtain those rights, they must return to their country of origin and go about it the right way. I don’t care if they were six months old when they left, and if their younger brother is a citizen by birth. Doesn’t matter. An American in their country of origin would have no right to remain there unlawfully and work unlawfully. Why do we have to accommodate people who are not here lawfully?
I knew a family that came here from a country south of equator. We’ll call them the Smiths so as not to give away their ethnicity. The Smiths had three kids, all born in that far away country. The oldest, we’ll call him Ab, was a stand up guy. Did very well in high school, graduated, and went out west to pursue a life in a state that is very fond of illegal aliens. Ab has never been in trouble with the law.
Ab had a sister, we’ll call her Belle. Belle distinguished herself, became an entrepreneur, and has made a life for herself, albeit outside the ambit of legal immigration. Whether she pays taxes or not, I do not know. I just know she is a good person.
The third Smith child got involved early on with drugs. He involved himself in petty theft initially, nothing that would go outside of municipal court. He had a number of driving offenses because he could not get a license (he was not a citizen). Finally, his interest in drugs eclipsed even his commitment to his family, and after a felony arrest he arranged to have his sister post bail and then skipped on the bail, leaving his sister holding the bag. I never heard what happened to the third Smith child. I assume he is still actively engaged in criminality, or rotting in a prison cell somewhere. It doesn’t matter. It illustrates my point. Even if some of the “dreamers” are good people, all of them are not. And none of them have the right to be here.
Ending DACA is Right
The answer to President Obama’s breach of the constitution is a simple one for the Supreme Court. The courts will simply say “DACA is the textbook example of the president not faithfully executing the laws of the land.” The red state governors will will. Everyone will laugh quietly at New York.
And the rest of us normals will say “thank God for Justice Gorsuch.”