Why DACA is a Constitutional Nightmare

On June 15, 2012, then President Barack Obama signed an executive order that has since thrown the balance of power between the Executive and Legislative branches of government in the favor of the Executive while becoming a major talking point of both parties. While people have recently made posts saying why they support the illegal immigrants who were brought to the United States as children, commonly with the hashtag #IStandWithDACA, there is one idea that has been largely ignored in the “discussion”. This idea is not that the so-called Dreamers should be deported like any other illegal immigrant, though it will garner any person who voices it the same titles of “Nazi” or “racist”. DACA is, in and of itself, a violation of the Constitution and has unofficially granted the President the power to place people outside the sphere of American Law.

Now let me say that I am not a believer in the idea that immigrants, in general, are a detriment to this country. But I am a firm believer in the idea that we, as a people, should never allow any breach of our Constitution even if such a breach is made for a reason that we agree with. DACA is such a breach. The Constitution outlines that it is the role of Congress to create laws and the role of the President to enforce those laws. What many groups, like the ACLU, have said is that DACA is perfectly constitutional because the Executive was given the power to exercise this discretion when it comes to immigration by Congress in the Immigration and Nationality Act. However, President Obama himself has recently said that his legal basis for DACA was prosecutorial discretion, that is, the Dreamers still aren’t considered legal residents in the United States but the Federal Government won’t choose to prosecute and deport them. In essence, DACA is the Federal government looking the other way as it makes it clear that Dreamers are not legally residing in the United States but they’re not going to be treated like other illegal immigrants by Federal authorities. However, DACA is a violation of the Constitution as President Obama himself remarked in an interview he gave to Jorge Ramos at the Univision Town Hall at Bell Multicultural High School in Washington, D.C. Obama’s exact words were:


“With respect to the notion that I can just suspend deportations through executive order, that’s just not the case, because there are laws on the books that Congress has passed — and I know that everybody here at Bell is studying hard so you know that we’ve got three branches of government. Congress passes the law. The executive branch’s job is to enforce and implement those laws. And then the judiciary has to interpret the laws.”Barack Obama

Keep in mind, Barack Obama’s day job was teaching Constitutional Law.



DACA fulfills a purpose that seems great, but only on the surface. Deferred action does not mean that illegal immigrants are given legal residence, it means that they are kept in a legal limbo in which federal law doesn’t apply to them in practice because they are not officially recognized as illegal immigrants, but they are also not legal immigrants. This isn’t governing by executive order, this is putting people into a place where no federal law can apply to them. A place where the Constitution doesn’t apply. That is why DACA needs to go. I’m not saying that we need to deport people, but we certainly can’t allow the President to violate the Constitution and decide whom the laws of the United States apply to without any action from the Supreme Court or Congress. The Constitution is under attack so long as DACA remains an executive order because DACA in effect expands the powers of the Executive to an extreme degree. If the President all of a sudden decided that no member of his party could be put on trial because he commanded the Department of Justice to defer action regarding their case, he could do so based on DACA’s purported basis in prosecutorial discretion. If the President can choose not to enforce federal law for one group of people, what stops him from doing the same for another group? What stops the President from ordering “deferred action” on people who commit hate crimes who are Christian? We have lawsuits and actions taken by Congress, but those are long-term checks on Executive power. We have no short-term check on Executive power for this situation. The Founding Fathers created the Executive branch to be the most efficient of the three branches. This inherently means that we, as a nation, must throw the majority of our effort into making sure such efficient power does not overstep its bounds, even if it is in the name of a cause that we ourselves believe in. We can lose interest in the cause or the problem that began the movement can be solved, but the powers we conferred upon the Executive will remain until we make it a big enough priority to remove those powers. DACA must find new life either as a law passed by Congress or through a verdict from the Supreme Court. The status quo is not and cannot be an option.


One comment on “Why DACA is a Constitutional Nightmare

Leave A Comment