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Trump’s Decision To End Dreamers’ Amnesty Creates Dilemma For Florida GOP

| September 5, 2017


President Trump wants her out. (Susan Melkisethian)

President Donald Trump’s decision to do away with his predecessor’s policy that benefited hundreds of thousands of young undocumented immigrants known as “dreamers” has put Florida Republicans in a bind.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Tuesday that the Trump administration intends to do away with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, a policy implemented by former President Barack Obama in 2012 that shields from deportation young people who were brought to the country by their parents as children.

Trump gave Congress six months to come up with an alternative solution before his administration begins phasing out the policy, which affects about 800,000 people.

“To have a lawful system of immigration … we cannot admit everyone who would like to come here. It’s just that simple,” Sessions told reporters.

The announcement from the Trump administration coincided with a deadline in a lawsuit from 10 attorneys general challenging Obama’s executive order that was the basis for the program. Florida is not among those states.

But the Trump administration announcement poses a dilemma for Republican politicians in the Sunshine State, which is home to at least 30,000 people who could be affected and is the base for exponentially more Hispanic voters who could be critical to next year’s elections.

Gov. Rick Scott, a close ally of Trump who is widely expected to run against Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson next year, on Friday issued a statement indicating his support for “dreamers” that stopped short of condemning the president.

Scott said Obama was “wrong to address the dreamers issue by executive order.” But, the governor added, “I do not favor punishing children for the actions of their parents.”

Republicans running for governor were split on the issue, with state Sen. Jack Latvala, who has a long history of supporting “dreamers,” decrying Trump’s policy decision in anticipation of the president’s announcement.

“We must lead with a compassionate heart, not by punishing children. Florida is a diverse state and our economic success depends on a strong diverse workforce. If DACA ends in 6 months, it will have a disastrous impact not only on hundreds of thousands of bright, promising young people but also on our business climate,” Latvala, R-Clearwater, said Monday.

Latvala was a sponsor of a 2014 measure that allowed “dreamers” to pay in-state tuition at Florida colleges and universities.

Meanwhile, House Speaker Richard Corcoran, a Land O’ Lakes Republican who is considering a run for governor, took a more hardline approach in a statement released shortly after Session’s Tuesday’ morning press conference, saying Trump “made the right decision.”

“The rule of law is the rule of law and no one should be above it. Anything less would have been a tacit acceptance of President Obama’s backdoor amnesty plan for illegal immigrants,” Corcoran said. “Yes, this is a difficult decision given those who are involved. But make no mistake, two wrongs do not make a right. This illegal immigration mess we are in today is because of apologists consistently opposing every sensible idea to secure the border and constantly demanding we reward illegal behavior with citizenship. The American people are left with no choice but to enforce the law to its fullest extent.”

In advance of Tuesday’s announcement, U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, a Palm Coast Republican who is also mulling a bid for governor, said in a Facebook post: “DACA is unconstitutional and the president is duty-bound to rescind it.”

The issue could force Florida GOP candidates, trying to appeal to base voters in advance of next year’s elections, to walk a tightrope in a state where Trump handily won the Republican primary and defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton in November’s general election.

Major parts of the business community — a powerful interest group for Republican candidates — support DACA, while Trump’s base voters back the president’s tougher immigration approach, said Florida Atlantic University political science professor Kevin Wagner.

“That’s a difficult chasm for Republicans statewide to navigate, to draw those Republican portions of the electorate together,” Wagner said.

Political consultant Wayne Bertsch, who specializes in GOP state legislative races, predicted that some Republican candidates “are going to have to do a tap dance” in response to Trump’s recall of the policy.

Bertsch pointed out that the GOP-dominated Legislature has already approved the measure that allowed “dreamers” to pay in-state tuition.

“While it was a lengthy debate, they passed it and the governor signed it,” Bertsch said. “I think Florida Republicans have defined themselves as, `We’re compassionate. We don’t need to be deporting these children … back to a country where their parents came from but they have no relationship to.’ ”

While Trump’s policy “is going to make some of them cringe,” Bertsch said he doesn’t believe Trump’s policy shift regarding DACA will harm Florida Republicans, regardless of their positions.

“We didn’t see any Republicans in the last primary or general elections lose because they supported dreamers,” Bertsch said.

But for Jack Oliver, the founder of Floridians for E-verify Now and the legislative director of Floridians for Immigration Enforcement, there’s no wiggle-room for GOP candidates.

“A lot of these candidates run on being hardliners on immigration and then they get in and then they forget what they said, or they get influenced by the Chamber of Commerce or others,” Oliver, a 67-year-old who lives in North Palm Beach, told The News Service of Florida on Tuesday. “It’s just been a big disappointment for a lot of voters.”

While he and his cohorts recognize that the DACA situation “is a complicated one,” Oliver said that “our immigration laws were made to protect Americans,” who are now suffering from “the unintended consequences of leaving our borders open.”

Trump’s decision gives Congress six months to come up with a new DACA plan, effectively buying time not only for the president but also for incumbent GOP representatives as well as candidates who may be loath to criticize a president who remains popular with the Republican base, the voters who show up en masse in mid-term elections like Florida’s governor’s race next year.

“I think all that happened today is you may get a barometer for those who are extra-extreme to the right on immigration as opposed to those who are more right of center. For everyone else, the president did what he promised,” said David Custin, a Miami-based Republican strategist.

But Custin warned of problems if Congress doesn’t act.

“If they don’t do something on DACA, lives are going to get ruined,” Custin said. “People are going to suffer or risk being deported.”

–Dara Kam, News Service of Florida

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23 Responses for “Trump’s Decision To End Dreamers’ Amnesty Creates Dilemma For Florida GOP”

  1. Isabella says:

    Sorry, but these are illegal and we have laws. Go back and apply

  2. S Peters says:

    What their parents did is not their fault and Trump promised they’d not be deported. He wanted to go after criminals. This is unacceptable and just a Trumpertantrum because it’s just another thing Obama did that Trump wants to undo. He’s a coward that can’t handle the good his predecessor accomplished. He’s got the mentality of a cruel child.

  3. another vet says:

    I feel bad for the kids but if the parents have been here for YEARS illegally why haven’t they become legal yet? You can’t cry if you’ve been breaking the law and you know it

  4. a tiny manatee says:

    Look at that christian compassion right there.

  5. Veteran says:

    Obama signed an illegal executive order. Congress makes laws, not the president.

  6. Sherry says:

    Educate yourselves. . . . the current immigration laws do NOT provide a way for those who have already been here as good, productive workers, with families for decades, to become LEGAL. THAT “IS” the problem! They CAN’T BECOME LEGAL!

  7. Pogo says:

    @the cruelty and stupidity of trumpholes

    Practice what you preach.

    6:14 “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.

    6:15 But if you don’t forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
    – Matthew Chapter 6

    7:1 “Don’t judge, so that you won’t be judged.
    – Matthew Chapter 7

    Does your word on anything mean anything?

  8. anon says:

    They came here for the American dream. Americans kicked them (and themselves) to the curb, while allowing all the jobs to escape to China and India via who they voted for.

  9. Lou says:

    OK , let me see if I understand this issue.
    Situation #1: mother gives birth to a child day before she enters the U.S., the child is an illegal in the U.S.
    Situation #2: mother gives birth a day later and the child is an U.S. citizen.
    What difference a day makes and the child had noting to do with his/her sitiation.
    Trump is right, Congress should address this very serious human issue.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I’m dreaming about America being great again, getting jobs back that have been taken by DACA, education costs being lowered because of free funds for DACA, Saving our tax dollars from being given away to DACA, getting housing back from DACA because kids were illegally brought here when they were 5 and now their grown up and never bothered to go through the process of becoming an American for the past 20 years. They say they don’t know where they would return to, its simple, where you came from. Those that brought you (smuggled) you into this country also need to be prosecuted and deported. It should be a felony crime to illegally bring a child into America. There is a process, and it needs to be followed by ALL. Let these 800,000 DACA individuals receive minimum wage to build the wall until they are deported. We have provided your medical and other expenses for far too long….give it back!

  11. Anonymous says:

    If laws can be broken in one regard, it should be that all laws are made to be broken. There is a process and these dreamers need to back and start over. Coming here illegally doesn’t give you entitlement-blame your parents. Most have had time to make it right and haven’t….game over.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Why haven’t they applied for full citizen ship during the time since Obama created DACA? If you know you are illegal do something about it to right the wrong and get legal.

  13. Stan says:

    Get Congress off their BUTT!!! And do something for the pay they get ,I mean steal from us taxpayers.

  14. Edith Campins says:

    Anonymous, you are one angry white person.

    Let’s get some things straight. 1. These are children who did not make the decision to come here themselves. 2. They have grown up here and know no other country. 3. They haven’t applied for citizenship because children don’t know ho to go about doing that. 4. The process is costly. 5. There is no path to citizen ship for dreamers. 6. These are not criminals. 7. Even if every single one had a job their numbers are less than a fraction of the employment statistics.

    The jobs you are blathering on about have gone overseas, blame corporate greed.

    No matter what promises trump goes back on DACA, the wall, transgenders, etc. nothing will appease his angry, uneducated racist base.

  15. Knightwatch says:

    So, Isabella (and other conservatives)…Dreamers who were brought here by their parents as infants, who know no other country or culture or life, should “go back”. To where? Should we just truck them to the Rio Grande and make them swim? Should we drop them from parachutes into Guatemala or Columbia? Maybe India or Afghanistan? With nothing like language or maybe even citizenship to sustain them?

    I love conservatives. Go to church on Sunday, hate, fear and exclusion from Monday to Saturday.

  16. gmath55 says:

    @ Anonymous – great comment! Trump isn’t racist. Why blame Trump? Blame the parents. Children don’t know how to apply for citizenship. Haaaaaaaaaa No but their parents do. Kind of a stupid comment isn’t it!

  17. Veteran says:

    And Sherry, according to the LAW that’s on the books they are to be deported.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Dreamers are thenjoying nightmare of America! Dreamers love all the grants and public assistance. Take what you’ve armed here back home and make it better for all. It’s time for the free ride train to jump the track. I can’t feel sorry for these Dreamers when they have avoided taking the necessary steps to be here legally-that makes them dishonest and being here illegally needs to be considered a crime and they not be allowed to return. What other laws are DACA people breaking that they haven’t been caught at? There must be controlled entry and obedience of the laws. Dreamers are better referred to as DEFIERS….DISPICABLE DEFIERS.

  19. Dutch Doolittle says:

    No illegals, no dreamers, deport them all. We got hosed over in the 80’s when it came to fixing the illegal issue, never again. Get them out!

  20. flagler1 says:

    not born here…they must go.

  21. Ws says:

    Bye bye illegals! One family at a time! Don’t let the door hit you on the way out!

  22. Anonymous says:

    Edith-parents are responsible for their children until they become of age. Don’t spew the BS that kids came here because they wanted to, that is hardly the case. At any rate, send them home to momma.

  23. DRedder says:

    What is a dreamer? A person of no birth rights aged 18 to 22. A person who brought here by another and has been living without
    A legal status here for the past 17 years or so.
    They know of no other home, most likely do
    Are not fluent in the home of thier birth. Whether they are productive or sucking off the system need not matter. I would propose a allowance be granted based on two things. 1 They must enlist in the armed forces and honorably serve a four your term in order to obtain citizenship. 2. Their parents or guardians must be deported back to their country of origin. No ifs , ands or buts. These dreamers now completing their obligations and upon Citizenship may then sponsor thier parents to return. If
    Such a parent or guardian is found to have illegally entered again prior to the dreamer obtaining a citizenship then all bets are off.

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