Trump’s DACA Dalliance: Incoherent, Infuriating, Unnecessary
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Adapted from the September 15 Radio Derb, available exclusively on

DACA, DACA, DACA. Now, when I see or hear that acronym DACA, I just start to seethe.

DACA [Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals] should have been scotched with a forked stick, like a snake on your patio, eight months ago, as Donald Trump promised would be done. Instead we're stuck with the damn thing apparently for ever, the Main Stream Media periodically whipping up their progressive followers into frenzies of compassion over picturesque little kiddies being ripped from the arms of their wailing mothers, hustled into cattle wagons, and shipped off to starvation and misery in Mexico.

  • First off, as I've pointed out before, DACA recipients have a median age somewhere in the high twenties, and a highest age—given the reliability of public record-keeping in rural Central America—very likely in the mid forties. The way we're going, those older recipients will be drawing Social Security before we've heard the last of DACA.
  • Second, there's no danger of starvation. Mexico was ranked ninth fattest country in the world in a report last year. Per capita GDP in Mexico is $19,000: not fantastic, but above the middle of world rankings, better than Brazil or China.
  • Third, moving from one country to another is no hardship. I myself have done it half a dozen times. It's a nuisance, fussing with visas and moving companies; but it's also interesting and stimulating, settling in to a new environment. Or, in the case of those forty-something DACA recipients, a not-very-new environment.
  • Fourth, the propaganda about breaking up families is just that—propaganda, of the shallowest and emptiest kind. Of the many, many people I know who favor enforcing the laws against illegal aliens, not one has any objection to families going back home together. Since Mom and Dad are mostly illegal too, it is in fact what the law requires.
Well, what's new this week is that President Trump had dinner Wednesday with Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi. They came to some kind of agreement, or semi-agreement, that there'd be a move towards amnesty for the DACA people in return for something or other on border security.

We don't know much more than that. Schumer and Pelosi said the something-or-other specifically excluded any funding for a border wall; but the White House Press Secretary disagreed and the President himself was incoherent.

Who knows? The main takeaway is that there seems likely to be another push to give Amnesty to illegal aliens.

Reaction among National Conservatives ranged from clutching at straws to blind fury. Here at we are mainly straw-clutchers, having weathered the three previous pushes for amnesty—in 2004, 2006-7 and 2013—when the occupant of the White House was himself pushing much harder than Trump is likely to.

And when you can peer through the murky, contradictory fog of Trump's spoken (or tweeted) statements, there's a core of awareness there of central issues relating to the National Question that you just don't see elsewhere in our senior national leadership.

This came out Friday morning, when he tweeted out of the blue that, tweet: "CHAIN MIGRATION cannot be allowed to be part of any legislation on Immigration!"

The media folk handled that as if it were written in ancient Sumerian. Ch-a-i-n mi-gra-tion? What is this Ch-a-i-n mi-gra-tion?

The Yahoo news service had had to call in Heidi Beirich [Email her] of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an expert on the arcane jargon of hate-filled haters. Chain migration, Heidi explained, was Hatespeech for bringing "undesirables" to the U.S.A.[ Trump abruptly attacks 'chain migration,' a term that worries immigration advocates, by Michael Walsh, Yahoo News, September 15, 2017]

Meanwhile we National Conservatives were exulting that, hey, we have a President who understands what a huge negative chain migration is for the nation's demographic future!

As veterans of those immigration wars, we are not much disturbed that Trump is dealing with the Democratic congressional leadership. On our issues, Republican Party congressional leaders are well-nigh indistinguishable from their Democratic counterparts.

Whether it's better, on matters of immigration, to deal with Schumer and Pelosi or with McConnell and Ryan, brings to mind Dr. Johnson's reply when someone asked him which of two mediocre poets he thought was better: "Sir, there is no settling the point of precedency between a louse and a flea."

That said, I return to my original point that it's all been so unnecessary. Why is DACA still in the headlines? It should have been a fading memory by now.

This has been a failure on Trump's part, there's no way to deny that.

All that was necessary was to let the law take its course. If Trump couldn't bring himself to rescind by Executive Order what Obama had imposed by executive order, he just had to let the legal case by state Attorneys Generals, challenging the constitutionality of DACA, proceed.

Even if, by a fluke, SCOTUS decided DACA is constitutional, Trump could still rescind it. It's still just an Executive Order, not a law.

That's what generates so much of the anger, certainly in the precincts of my desk: the neglect of the law in favor of compromising and deal-making. As one of Steve Sailer's commenters observed: We're supposed to be a nation of laws, not a nation of deals.

Deal-making is of course a normal and necessary part of our politics. A lot of us voted for Trump in the hope that this would be a particular strength of his administration. That hope has lost considerable luster this week.

Setting that aside, though, what about the law? What about the people's laws, passed by the people's representatives in solemn conclave, when all the deal-making's been done? Why aren't those laws enforced—fairly and humanely, but firmly?

The Romans had a phrase that someone should embroider on a couch cushion and send to the White House as a gift: Fiat justitia ruat cælum— "Let justice be done though the heavens fall."

Dealing, equivocating, and compromising are all very well, and certainly have their place in politics. A nation of laws, though, should enforce its laws, or change them by properly constitutional procedures. Sometimes enforcing the laws will have undesirable political consequences, but it should be done regardless. To shy at enforcing the law because you don't like the political consequences, is just cowardice.

Fiat justitia ruat cælum Enforce the damn law, somebody. Then turn to cutting deals.

Footnote: thing I haven't seen commented on, but I believe is true, is that DACA is an act of racial favoritism. The beneficiaries of DACA, in the minds of progressives, are small brown people. That makes them sacred objects, or at least precious objects, in a way that wouldn't apply otherwise.

Do you think we'd be going through all this sturm und drang about DACA if the recipients were 800,000 Germans or Russians or—heaven help us! —white South Africans? Do you think?

2010-12-24dl[1]John Derbyshire [email him] writes an incredible amount on all sorts of subjects for all kinds of outlets. (This no longer includes National Review, whose editors had some kind of tantrum and fired him. ) He is the author of We Are Doomed: Reclaiming Conservative Pessimism and several other books. He has had two books published by com:FROM THE DISSIDENT RIGHT (also available in Kindle) and FROM THE DISSIDENT RIGHT II: ESSAYS 2013.

For years he’s been podcasting at Radio Derb, now available at for no charge.His writings are archived at

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