The decision to end DACA has been nothing if not controversial.
Reportedly, President Trump agonized over the choice and “asked aides for a way out” before the final announcement. At the press conference, Attorney General Jeff Sessions made clear why the administration had come to the conclusion it had.
Business Insider reported Sessions’ remarks:
“To have a lawful system of immigration that serves the national interest, we cannot admit everyone that wants to come here,” Sessions said. “As attorney general, it is my duty to ensure that the laws of the United States are enforced and that the constitutional order is upheld.”
Sessions also lambasted Obama for implementing an “unconstitutional exercise of authority,” and he described the 800,000 DACA recipients as “mostly adult illegal aliens” that had deprived American citizens of jobs and encouraged further illegal immigration.
And Trump passed the buck to Congress…
“There can be no path to principled immigration reform if the executive branch is able to rewrite or nullify federal laws at will,” he said, adding, “It is now time for Congress to act!”
Unsurprisingly, there has been much backlash – on both sides of the political aisle – because of this decision. Democrats are not happy at all with the conclusion and many on the Right aren’t, either. Personally, I believe Congress needs to find some legislative solution to protecting those who were brought here as minors through no choice of their own. They’ve been placed in a horrible situation. Most can see that. I won’t hold my breath while waiting for Congress to act, though. Their track record is less than stellar.
The actual aftermath in wake of the decision has been somewhat confusing, as it looks like the Trump administration won’t be doing as much as originally expected. Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders made that clear in a press conference last week.
— CBS News (@CBSNews) September 8, 2017
What will really happen to non-criminal DACA recipients? Time will ultimately tell.
Now Pope Francis has called out President Trump over the DACA decision. Specifically, the pope questions Trump’s pro-life leanings, as the National Catholic Reporter reports, emphasis mine.
In a half-hour press conference on the flight back to Rome Sept. 10 after a five-day visit to Colombia, the pontiff also said he hoped Trump would reconsider his decision to stop the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, also known as DACA.
“I have heard the President of the United States speak,” the pope said, responding to a question from a Mexican journalist about Trump’s decision. “He presents himself as a pro-life man. If he is a good pro-lifer, he should understand that the family is the cradle of life and you must defend its unity.”
Francis said that while he has not studied the specifics of the DACA program, he believes “removing young people from their family is not a thing that bears good fruit, neither for the young person nor the family.”
The pope said he is especially worried about young people who become detached from their roots and lose hope in the future, even then choosing to commit suicide. “Young people today need to re-find their roots,” he said. “And anything that goes against this robs them of hope.”
While Trump was known to be pro-choice prior to entering politics, he promised on the 2016 campaign trail that he would be a pro-life president and received the support of numerous Christian pro-life groups and leaders, including former Vatican official U.S Cardinal Raymond Burke.
It’s safe to say that when President Trump was candidate Trump, his commitment to pro-life values were either vague or completely harmful to the cause. Why? Because he wasn’t a self-described pro-lifer until he really got into the political arena. He had been of the pro-abort mindset for years. He wasn’t comfortable speaking the language because it was entirely new to him. It was not at the core of his being. This continues to be somewhat concerning to myself and others, though I have appreciated his reinstatement of the Mexico City Policy and the killing of an Obama-era Title X funding requirement, among other things.
As conservatives, we should value and seek to protect the dignity of all life. It is a fair point to make that our pro-life leanings should extend far beyond birth and continue to the grave. (Side note: this does not mean that we can also not support capital punishment in cases where it is justified for the undeniably criminally guilty among us.)
The situation regarding DACA is a tricky one. Obama’s unconstitutional ruling should never have happened. Trump is right to give it to Congress for a legislative solution. But again, I doubt they’ll accomplish much.
However right it is to question Trump’s true nature as a pro-life president, it is not quite fair to question his pro-life leanings, whatever they may be, on this issue. I say that as a staunch pro-lifer who is unapologetically vocal about the issue and is active in the cause. Desiring principled immigration reform does not mean one isn’t truly concerned with protecting life from conception to the grave. Such reform would benefit our nation as a whole by protecting current citizens and helping future ones along a safe and legal path. This would be best for all involved.
Pope Francis is certainly free to question Trump’s true commitment to the pro-life cause, because I certainly will, but connecting it to the DACA decision is a stretch, to say the least.