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  • Norman Young

Trump's New Deal on Immigration


“Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)” is an executive order issued by President Obama. It directed the executive branch to indefinitely “defer” enforcement of immigration laws against those who illegally entered the United States as a minor.

Was DACA Constitutional in the first place? To answer this question fully, we must start at the beginning.

The first thing to remember is that latitude is given to the executive branch in determining how best to enforce laws. It is often the case that some laws are not completely enforceable.

Take, for instance, drug laws. There are good reasons why the federal government spends most of its resources targeting drug dealers rather than drug users. Hunting down every last drug user would be impossible given the resources available to the federal government, so concentrating enforcement on dealers makes sense. “Deferring” enforcement against users in this way is within the scope of executive discretion consistent with the Constitution.

Immigration laws are likewise impossible to fully enforce. The government does not have the resources to summarily deport millions of people. Therefore, the executive branch must use its discretion on where best to concentrate enforcement efforts.

That said, a President cannot simply refuse to enforce a law. Doing so would usurp the role of Congress as Legislature. If the President can choose not to enforce any law he dislikes, then his veto power becomes unlimited. The Constitution clearly limits the President’s power, gra