State lawmakers debate the legality of DACA

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Arizona lawmakers, Tony Navarrete and John Kavanagh discuss President Trump’s decision to rescind the DACA program that has benefited many undocumented immigrants brought to America as children.

Navarrete, Democratic state senator for Arizona’s 30th District, believes that “taking away DACA and manufacturing a crisis around them is not a solution.”

Republican State Senator Kavanagh disagrees. Kavanagh, who represents Arizona’s 23rd District, argues that DACA is unconstitutional. He says if Trump hadn’t called to rescind it, a group of governors would have filed a lawsuit resulting in the end of DACA with no forewarning.

Kavanagh believes previous DACA recipients should be legalized by Congress, not by the president making an edict.

Navarrete remains strong in his convictions, stating that, “this decision by the president to simply take away DACA is inappropriate, it’s cruel. And at the end of the day, it does not solve the issue.”


Ted Simons: Coming up next on "Arizona Horizon," what's next for DACA recipients in Arizona as the deportation program is set to expire Joe Arpaio is pardoned before he's sentenced but he wants more. And summer connects nature with kids in the middle of the city. Those stories and more on "Arizona horizon."

"Arizona Horizon" is made possible by contributions from the friends of Arizona PBS. Thank you.

Ted Simons: Good evening, welcome to "Arizona Horizon." I’m Ted Simons. Fred pierce is threatening to sue over instate tuition to DACA students. Pearce says the policy is damaging the nation and destroying the rule of law. He believes the policy is against state law and plans to ask the Supreme Court to uphold the decision but says he doesn't intend to score cheap political points over the issue. Reaction over the Trump administration's attempt to end the program. Andy Biggs says, I applaud and appropriate return the debate to congress. I hope they'll return our borders, and eliminate the incentives is for future illegal immigration. For more on yesterday's decision to end DACA and the exact on those protected by the program, we welcome tony, director of promise Arizona a community organization and state senator John Kavanagh. Good to have you both here. Let's start with your thoughts on yesterday's move by the Trump administration?

Rep. Tony Navarrete: I think the initial reaction of mine, and the community, this is an unfortunate move by this administration. Prior to the decision, I was in front of the ice building with faith leaders from different religions praying that the president would not act and use the young people as political pawns. We are talking about 800,000 dreamers contributing to the country, to the state of Arizona. We have to do something and find a comprehensive solution, yes, however, taking away DACA and manufacturing a crisis around them is not the solution.

Ted Simons: Your reaction to yesterday's move?

Sen. John Kavanagh: President Trump was correct. He did the only thing he could do. He campaigned to end DACA and he won the election. More importantly, DACA is unconstitutional. It's an executive order that creates policy. Policy has to come from congress. Executive enforces the law, congress makes the law. President Trump took the oath we all did to uphold the law. It's unconstitutional.

Ted Simons: The attorney general said the same thing, it's unconstitutional and the rule of law must be followed.

Rep. Tony Navarrete: Their statement or message to say this is unconstitutional just on this topic doesn't make sense especially when you have an individual like Joe Arpaio pardoned practicing practices that are unconstitutional. That logic doesn't make sense. At the end of the day, we have been waiting for congress to address the issue of 11,000,000 in the country undocumented and we have not seen congress act. Not since the bush administration, not the Obama administration. I hope to get that done but you don't do that by pulling the rug from hundreds of thousands on DACA.

Sen. John Kavanagh: DACA is unconstitutional. A parallel program for their parents was put on hold by the Supreme Court. My anti-immigration feelings are strong. Ico sponsored 1070 however throughout the entire controversy, I carved out and differed on DACA. I thought those kids that came at a young age, didn't break the law should be legalized, but the right way, through congress, not by the President Trump making edicts. If President Trump made laws he couldn't get through congress by edicts, democrats would scream.

Rep. Tony Navarrete: There were institutional scholars that said the president had authority to move forward with the program. Sb1070, the law was declared unconstitutional and still to this day we suffer in terms of revenue to the state.

Sen. John Kavanagh: Major positions of sb1070 was ruled totally constitutional by the U.S. Supreme court as sanctuary cities.

Ted Simons: Much of 1070 didn't pass court muster. Some did, some didn't. McCain said that this is the wrong way to approach immigration policy. The kids were brought here through no fault of their own. They shouldn't be punished. They'll be punished if congress doesn't do anything.

Sen. John Kavanagh: If President Obama didn't do the this, a lawsuit to be filed by a dozen governors on Tuesday, would have been filed and you would have had DACA and no congressional issues and there is a probability that it would have ended DACA no warning. President Trump gave six months for congress to pass a bill, do it the right way.

Rep. Tony Navarrete: By that same token, you are manufacturing a crisis. If the states are going to sue the federal government, let them sue the federal government. We know states like Tennessee backed away from that lawsuit and others have backed away from the lawsuit. I had a conversation with faith leaders. This decision by the president to take away DACA is inappropriate. It's cruel and at the end of the day, it doesn't solve the issue. I agree with you until we have congressional legislation to target the issue of the 11,000,000 undocumented, we are not going to have comprehensive solutions.

Sen. John Kavanagh: The 11,000,000 are a different area I’m not sympathetic too. Do you think it's appropriate for a president to legalize 800,000 people when congress over a decade continuously dealt with that and could not pass that legislation. Is it right for a president to do by edict what congress tried and rejected. That's not democracy.

Rep. Tony Navarrete: Hundreds of scholars agreed with the president's authority to move forward with this executive action. He wasn't going to move over with executive action if it didn't pass. It hasn't been challenged yet and it's not going to be challenged because the president decided to take DACA away. If congress is not acting, I expect the president to act.

Ted Simons: Back to Joe Arpaio, how do you square a presidential pardon for Arpaio and no pardon for these kids?

Sen. John Kavanagh: It's apples and oranges. The president engaging in unconstitutional legislative action.

Ted Simons: The kids, not the president's actions, the young people.

Sen. John Kavanagh: The argument for DACA is that it's prosecutorial discretion. It's been on a case-by-case basis, not 800,000 people in one fell swoop. In addition, it's not legislating because all it does, it says we will not arrest and prosecute you. It doesn't bestow benefits. DACA said you will not be deported, gave them official I.D. And work permits.

Ted Simons: We are running out of time. Last word?

Rep. Tony Navarrete: Congress has the responsibility of legislating immigration as to whether someone has citizenship or not. DACA does not provide citizenship or legalization. It is a deferment from deportation. The young people over the next ten years would have contributed $160 billion for the country.

Sen. John Kavanagh: It's i.d. And work permit, immigration law. Congress passes laws, presidents enforce the laws.

Ted Simons: That's the last word. Good to have you both here. Coming up next, the presidential pardon of Joe Arpaio is not quite good enough for Joe Arpaio. We'll explain.

Representative Tony Navarrete
Representative John Kavanagh

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