- - Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Complicated problems defy simple solutions, especially when the problems are deliberately created. The dilemma over what to do with children brought into the United States by their illegal-immigrant parents, the so-called “Dreamers,” is Exhibit A. They stand illegally on American soil in the impassive eyes of the law, but they’re already American in their hearts. President Trump’s decision to enact an “orderly wind-down” of executive amnesty for these Americans-of-the-heart sets the stage for a fair-minded solution to a long-standing immigration quandary.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Tuesday the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, created in 2012 by Barack Obama’s executive order, granting work permits and temporary amnesty from deportation to the 800,000 children of illegals. These are usually not small children. The “Dreamers” average 25 years of age. “The executive branch, through DACA, deliberately sought to achieve what the legislative branch specifically refused to authorize on multiple occasions,” said Mr. Sessions. Significantly, the president is delaying implementation of his decision for six months in order to give Congress one last chance to work out a legislative fix to address the status of those caught in legal limbo.

Halting the wave of illegals was a promise that resonated with voters during Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign, but it was the threat of a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of DACA by the attorneys general of 10 states, led by Texas, that forced Mr. Trump’s hand. With Tuesday as the deadline, the states were likely to prevail in court.

Democratic stronghold states New York and Washington vow to sue the Trump administration if the amnesty for young aliens is terminated. “If President Trump follows through on his reported decision to cancel DACA after a six-month delay, [my] office will file suit to halt this cruel and illegal policy and defend DACA recipients,” says Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson.

Both Democrats and Republicans have winked an eye at the wave of illegals, though for different reasons. Republicans bowed to the business community’s hunger for cheap and easily abused labor; Democrats are playing the long game by opening the borders to the waves of illegals who can be registered as grateful voters who, they calculate, would make the party invincible forever.

Immigrant activists have argued loudly for Dreamers’ “rights,” but another kind of dreamer has been overlooked. These are young Americans whose dreams of opportunity have been reduced to pipe dreams when forced to compete for education and jobs against those who benefit from the broken system. During the 1970s, Americans with only a high-school diploma earned 85 percent of what college graduates made; by 2015, that figure had fallen to 55 percent. Law-abiding Americans have rights that shouldn’t be trampled by noncitizens.

Mr. Trump can use the DACA program as a bargaining chip in a comprehensive immigration reform deal with congressional lawmakers wavering over their obligation to safeguard the nation’s borders: Give the current Dreamers permanent resident status in exchange for no-more-nonsense immigration control, and that includes the president’s wall on the southern border. This would end the practice of using innocent children as pawns in the scheme to weaken the nation’s borders.

This solution to the immigration issue would demonstrate the “heart” for Dreamers that the president promised, and ensuring that the next generation of Americans won’t be forced to hand over their birthright to uninvited guests and their children. Orderly immigration need not be the impossible dream.

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