ASU College Republicans support DACA solution following SCOTUS arguments

The statement called for a bipartisan solution to be passed through Congress

After seeing local and nationwide reactions to the Supreme Court hearing oral arguments on the legality of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, ASU College Republicans Vice President Joseph Pitts said that the organization felt "obliged to release a statement." 

The statement expressed the club's support for DACA recipients while critiquing the "abuse of power" of former President Barack Obama's administration's executive action.

"It is such a pressing issue to many students at ASU in particular," Pitts, a freshman studying business law, said. 

The College Republicans posted their statement in support of a solution for DACA the day after the Undocumented Students for Educational Equity held a rally on ASU’s Tempe campus to show support for DACA recipients. 

READ MORE: ASU students rally in support of DACA

College Republicans President Jeremiah Willett, a senior studying political science, said that the executive board wanted to take an explicit stance on the issue.

"A lot of students, members of our club, look to us for our thoughts, our guidance," Willett said. "We thought it was really appropriate to make a definitive statement to help them understand where we stand on this."

However, the College Republicans statement said that the issue of DACA should not be in the hands of the Supreme Court judges. 

"We firmly assert that the outcome of the DACA case being heard by the Supreme Court is irrelevant," the statement reads. "We are in full agreement with President Trump that the burden is on our Members of Congress to protect DACA recipients."

Pitts said that this issue comes from the executive and judicial branches overreaching and doing the job of Congress. 

"I've been pleasantly pleased by Republicans' willingness to basically say, 'Hey, listen, we disagree with how DACA was implemented, but let's take the congressional route,' which in my view is a constitutional route," Pitts said.

Pitts said the abuse of power by the executive branch has created issues that would not exist if the DACA program was passed through Congress originally. 

"Quite frankly though, they have been done a disservice … by (President Barack Obama), his administration, by putting their legal status on such shaky constitutional grounds."

However, DACA recipient and junior journalism major, Luis Zambrano said that the statement from College Republicans fails to acknowledge that prior to DACA, there were no protections for undocumented immigrants. 

"There were movements to try to get a bipartisan immigration bill and DACA came about because all those things (the College Republicans) said they support … it failed," Zambrano said. "Yeah, okay, we've been done a disservice, but it's not like we had any other options."

The College Republicans also received backlash over their statement from what Willett described as "extremely far-right" groups.  

"I guess disappointment (is) my main word that I'd use for that ... (it) kind of hit us out of nowhere," Willett said about his reaction to the backlash. 

Willett said that the College Republicans made the decision to ignore the comments that they were "disgusted" by. 

"That's been our policy all along with these far-right groups, is just ignore them," Willett said. "They want attention, they're trying to be explosive. We thought if we try to rebut them or make a post saying these people are terrible or something, that would only give them the attention that they so desperately want."

While some of the far-right reject DACA legislation completely, some Arizona Republicans such as Sen. Martha McSally and Gov. Doug Ducey have voiced their support of the recipients while saying legislation should be left up to Congress. 

Pitts said that going forward, he does not know what any legislation impacting DACA recipients would look like, but what matters is that Congress is the one to pass it.  

"These are Americans, and we're proud to stand with them. But we will continually stand against constitutional abuse," Pitts said. "We're just simply asking for the Congress and for our legislators and politicians to do the right thing. Protect DREAMers, but also to do it through the right avenue."

Willett said that watching his brother and his sister-in-law, who is a DACA recipient, struggle with the system is why he wants Congress to take action and create a path to citizenship. 

"They've spent thousands of dollars and no progress whatsoever. They literally don't know how this is going to go," Willett said. "It seems unfair to everybody really that these people are desperately trying, they want to be part of the American system, and there just doesn't seem to be a path forward."

Zambrano said that as the discussion around the DACA program continues, he would like to see more substantial support for not just DACA recipients but the undocumented community as a whole. 

"We need actual solutions proposed, we need actual action behind these words. And so with the statement, at least for me, it doesn't really mean much. I appreciate it, but doesn't really mean much,” Zambrano said. 


Reach the reporter at krquaran@asu.edu and follow @kiaraquaranta on Twitter. 

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