Since Donald Trump was sworn in as president of the United States in mid-January, we have had precious few opportunities to agree with his decisions. That string ended last week.
President Trump, while as mercurial as ever, seemed to back down a little on his adamant insistence on the dismantling of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals executive order by former President Obama, and instead tossed the hot immigration-policy potato into the laps of members of Congress — where it should have been from the start.
The part we agree with Trump on is his telling Congress to do its job. Because if Congress does its job as it should, without members prostituting themselves for votes, the DACA program or something very much like it will allow about 800,000 children of illegal immigrants to breathe a little easier, keep their jobs, stay in school, and someday become very productive, tax-paying, model citizens of this great nation.
If Trump gets what he’s asking for, Congress will approve legislation legitimizing those young people, America will have a fresh crop of highly energized new citizens, and we can all move on to more important things.
We also hope that’s what members of Congress are thinking, because there are a lot of important matters to be cleared up in the next few weeks, including raising the federal government’s debt ceiling, and providing enough funding to keep government agencies in operation, which contrary to what many Americans believe is absolutely necessary if we are to move forward as the world’s greatest economic and policy-making superpower.
To that end, Trump surprised us again last week when he struck a deal with congressional Democrats to keep government in business and raising the debt limit. Democrat leaders were as surprised as every one else at the president’s willingness to meet on middle ground.
We aren’t exactly sure what’s going on — and congressional Republicans must be just as confused — but it’s a welcome change from the bombast that has defined this presidential administration thus far.
We are especially pleased about Trump’s brow-beating Congress to get something positive accomplished with regard to the DACA situation. It’s very important to a lot of people and their families.
It is doubly important for Californians and residents of Santa Barbara County. There are an estimated 800,000 DACA young people nationwide, and about a quarter of those DREAMers live in California. Local officials reckon there are more than 6,000 Santa Barbara County residents under DACA’s protective umbrella.
Finding a middle ground on DACA policy may prove more difficult than deals made on the debt ceiling and government operations funding. Congressional Republicans are already putting conditions on their votes as the majority party in both the House and Senate.
Whatever lawmakers decide to do, they must do it quickly by congressional standards. President Trump gave DACA a six-month grace period, during which a replacement plan must be agreed upon. If it is not, there could be mass deportations early next year — of kids who have known only their lives in America, as Americans.
There will have to be compromises on the part of both parties, and the nation will be watching Congress’s actions closely and will not tolerate political grandstanding, which generally is short-sighted, self-interested and counter-productive in the context of our elected representatives working in the best interests of the entire nation.
A few rays of sunshine at the end of an extremely trying week — especially for those 800,000 DREAMers. Now, if only we could get Congress to do something about violent weather.