There’s been a predictable fuss in the US over the Trump administration’s decision to rescind DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. This Obama administrative order exempted young adult illegal immigrants from deportation.
Announcing the move, the Attorney-General Jeff Sessions said that since its introduction in 2012 it it had provided legal status, for a renewable two-year term, to some 800,000 “mostly adult illegal aliens”.
“The executive branch”, he said, “had deliberately sought to achieve what the legislative branch [Congress] had refused to authorise on multiple occasions. Such an open-ended circumvention of immigration laws was an unconstitutional exercise of authority by the executive branch…
“It is my duty to ensure that the laws of the United States are enforced and that the constitutional order is upheld. There is no greater good for the overall health and well being of our republic than preserving and strengthening the impartial rule of law. Societies where the rule of law is subject to political whims and personal biases tend to become societies afflicted by corruption, poverty and human suffering”.
Fulminating against this decision on her MSNBC show, Andrea Mitchell didn’t merely make plain her opinion that the move was appalling. She also lambasted Sessions’s “use of the word illegal aliens, which is offensive to a lot of people and not correct.”
Hmmn, now let’s see. The immigrants in question are not American citizens and so they are, in the parlance America uses in the context of immigration, aliens. They have not fulfilled the terms of US immigration law and are therefore illegal immigrants.
This is no less so just because an executive order had stated for political reasons that what was illegal was now legal. That’s the kind of behaviour we associate with banana republics. That’s why DACA has been rescinded, in order that the US should once again be a country under the rule of law.
That’s exactly what Sessions was saying. Andrea Mitchell, however, finds that offensive. If someone finds the rule of law offensive, is she not herself undermining America? Or do you think Andrea Mitchell of MSNBC, along with so many others in this particular row, has any understanding of what the rule of law actually means?