The definitive explanation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals mess:

In our government, the president is charged with executing the laws of our nation. Congress passes those laws. Mr. Obama used his authority to decide not to enforce certain immigration laws against a specific set of people — children brought here illegally who are now grown. They were thus safe from prosecution while he was president, and would have remained so until a successor decided to enforce those laws. Which is what we have happening now.

My friend may or may not be right that ending DACA is evil and cruel, but because DACA came into being as a presidential whim it can depart in the same way. Mr. Obama probably was and is concerned with how the people affected by DACA are treated and about the problems their situations create for them. But he was not concerned enough to try to get a law enacted that would have made that concern outlast his term. You might say that the timing of the DACA policy, five months before a presidential election, means that it was at its core a cynical grab at Hispanic voters. This would make you more cynical than me, but not very much, because I’m pretty sure that possibility motivated some of the folks in the White House even if not Mr. Obama himself.

Whatever the cause, though, the reality is that from January 20, 2009 to January 5, 2011, Mr. Obama’s party controlled the White House and both branches of Congress. Had something like DACA been a high priority, it could have been made into law at any time during those two years. Persons now upset by the end of DACA may blame Mr. Trump for ending it, but they should also blame Mr. Obama for half-assing it in the first place and giving the current president the opening.

Half-assing it seems to be more the rule than the exception in Washington these days. In fact, there are times when they can’t even be bothered to quarter-ass it.

Addendum: Spellchecker is unnerved by “half-assing,” but pays no attention to “quarter-ass.”


  1. McG »

    10 September 2017 · 8:38 am

    They aspire to hemisemidemiassing it. If they have to.

  2. John Salmon »

    10 September 2017 · 9:23 am

    The Democrats were happy with the status quo before this past January, where by court rulings or executive orders they got most of the policies they wanted on social issues without using the hopelessly dated method of actually passing appropriate legislation.

  3. fillyjonk »

    10 September 2017 · 12:15 pm

    “hemisemidemiassing it”

    Useful phrase I will need to remember. (Pity I can’t use it in class)

  4. ETat »

    11 September 2017 · 6:24 am

    FJ – why not? Tom Ford used worst on a perfume label!

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