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Month: September 2017

Pastor at home at Clear Lake UMC

Of the Keizertimes

When Alyssa Baker was asked to give her first sermon, she laughed.

Baker, the new lead pastor of Keizer Clear Lake United Methodist Church, was a senior in high school and had only attended church regularly for a couple of years.

“I was a behind the scenes type of person, really introverted,” Baker said.

But as she preached from Psalm 139 and spoke of how she was formed and loved by God, in that moment, something felt right.

However, Baker had no plans to become a pastor and went to Western Oregon University to begin working towards a business degree.

“I pushed it away for a while, thinking that’s not really what I’m supposed to be doing,” Baker said.

Baker remained involved in the church, leading worship during a Thursday night community meal service at Dallas United Methodist Church.

About a year into leading worship, Baker went to the pastor to tell him, “I think I’m supposed to be doing what you’re doing.”

“He just laughed and said, ‘Yep, I was waiting for you to tell me,” Baker recalled. “He already knew but wanted me to find that.”

After finishing her business degree, Baker began looking at graduate school.

With only 13 accredited United Methodist seminaries in the United States and none in Oregon and Washington, she decided to attend the Boston University School of Theology, located just three blocks from Fenway Park.

“I knew I would have to take a leap so why not leap across the country,” Baker said.

Getting her master’s of divinity, Baker spent three years in Boston, which included a two-year internship at Wilmington United Methodist Church.

Along with being on the other side of the country more than 3,000 miles from home, Baker got a different church experience as well.

Instead of maybe 100 people at Sunday morning worship, line in Albany, Wilmington had over 300 and three different services.

“It was something completely different than I had ever experienced,” Baker said. “To be able to offer the different worship experiences and to recognize that people connect differently spiritually, that opened up my eyes.”

Baker returned to Oregon after seminary and spent a year as the pastoral intern at The Dalles United Methodist Church, planning worship, conducting funerals, starting Sunday School programs and helping create a Columbia Gorge-wide youth group.

Baker said her favorite parts of ministry are “connecting with people on their spiritual journeys and building new relationships.”

“I like connecting people together as they share their stories and find similar interests,” she added.

In Keizer, Baker is focusing on the young adult program for all six Open Door Churches in the area as well as taking care of the day-today tasks at Clear Lake.

Baker felt welcomed right away and then on a recent Sunday morning found out how giving the congregation is.

“With Hurricane Harvey going on, I just announced we’re helping with this and we had jars and passed them around and kids and parents and grandparents, everyone just put in whatever they had to help for that,” Baker said. “It’s nice. It’s what church should be, I think. The people here have such big hearts and so welcoming and opening, People turn away from church for so many different reasons. We’re not a scary place. We’re just people.”

President’s actions could end with deportation of MHS grad

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As a middle school student, Hugo Nicolas made a vow to himself.

“I told myself that even if people reject me or deny me things, I will still do my best to uphold the values of this country. I would like to help this nation be better because it gave me so many opportunities and helped me see the world in a different way,” Nicolas said. “Right now, it’s hard because I love this country. It’s just so bittersweet. My emotions are mixed.”

In August 2012, two months after graduating from McNary High School, Nicolas enrolled in a then-new program, called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), authorized through executive action by President Barack Obama. DACA did not confer or create a path to citizenship for undocumented children brought to the United States before their 16th birthdays, but it was a huge shift for Nicolas. At age 11, he walked across a desert hand-in-hand with his mother, through a barbed wire fence and into the United States.

In exchange for registering under DACA, the federal government agreed not to deport Nicolas and allowed him to apply for a renewable two-year work permit. The permit came with a social security number that meant he could be paid above-the-table and enjoy the protections afforded other American workers.

“I was excited about the things I could do like being able to go to college, being able to drive, being able to travel within the United States, being able to contribute and really get involved. I felt empowered to basically have no obstacles,” Nicolas said.

Last week, President Donald Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions slapped an expiration date on Nicolas’ American dreams. DACA privileges will be rescinded for Nicolas and 800,000 other undocumented youths, collectively known as Dreamers, registered through the program. Their best hope now is Congress coming up with an alternative by March 5, 2018. In the wake of the action by the Trump administration, Oregon joined 14 other states and the District of Columbia in a lawsuit to block the termination of the program. Another suit to stop the DACA wind down was filed by three additional states on Monday, Sept. 11.

While those lawsuits travel through the judicial system, Nicolas and his younger brother and sister, who are also registered through DACA, are recalibrating their plans.

Last year, Nicolas decided to take time off from earning his degree at the University of Oregon to focus on saving money if Trump’s campaign promises to end DACA ever came to fruition. With some of the money he and his brother were socking away, they planned to purchase their father a new car, maybe even a new home for their parents. His family sold their car to afford the fees and attorney costs associated with Hugo’s initial DACA application.

“All that’s kind of on-hold now,” Nicolas said.

But, truthfully, the impact of Trump’s words began having an effect on Nicolas long before it was announced DACA would be rescinded.

“I feel like he is trying to paint a picture of immigrants as bad people who are only bringing crime and other problems. It’s totally the opposite of what we have done with deferred action,” Nicolas said. Nicolas is currently working as a personal banker with plans to start earning his investment licenses this month. “It has also made me pay more attention to the announcements coming from the administration every week. I have to be aware and more careful with all the changes that are happening.”

Between the president’s words and actions and the vocal support of both from his fans, Nicolas finds himself questioning how others view him and more driven to tell his story, the crux of which is in that middle school vow.

Even then, Nicolas wanted to go to college. He had his sights on a military or Ivy League school. His undocumented status would have stood in the way of both.

“Thinking about college in high school was depressing and I felt so ashamed,” he said. Still, he wanted to prove his value.

At McNary, Nicolas was a star pupil and an athlete. If there was a project that needed volunteers, he would usually be found on the site. He was a Keizer Fire District Explorer, a Keizer Police Department Cadet, and even served as the youth councilor to the Keizer City Council.

“Being undocumented, there is risk in everything you do – even if you are doing something good,” Nicolas said.

It was the last post, in 2012, where things began to unravel a bit. Near the end of his year as youth councilor, someone alerted the city council to Nicolas’ undocumented status. It prompted councilors to propose a policy change that would bar non-citizens from taking on the youth councilor position. Despite public outcry in council chambers, the “Hugo Rule” was approved. The rule still stands, but was tweaked for exchange students to be part of the youth councilor program.

Once he registered for Deferred Action, the college door swung open. He started taking classes at Chemeketa while working three jobs, eventually transferring to the University of Oregon.

“I could finally stand up and show what I could do if people allowed me that opportunity. I also knew that I was following a procedure and didn’t have to worry about what would happen tomorrow,” he said.

Nicolas is altering some of his plans, but he is also feeling a renewed sense of purpose. He bristles at the language used by Trump and Sessions when talking about immigrants.

“The way Jeff Sessions talked about Dreamers made us sound like criminals and not contributing. We’re teachers and nurses and attorneys and bankers. If someone needs representation and can’t afford it or needs tuition assistance, there is a whole group that chips in to help support them,” he said.

He is reconsidering his plans for taking a year off school with the notion that finishing his education is it’s own form of rebelling against the labels some would stick on him.

Deferred Action recipients have also found resilience in numbers.

“We’re more politically involved than we were and we’ve become more united because we can travel and learn from each other,” he said.

For those who want to help prevent DACA from winding down, Nicolas said there are two ways to act locally. First, contact Oregon Rep. Greg Walden, and tell him you support the Dreamers. Oregon’s other representatives and senators have already voiced their support.

The second is more personal and, potentially, more of a challenge: be vocal in your support of Dreamers wherever you go.

“When Trump is saying things about immigrants that are not true, it makes me hold back more because I don’t know if that’s the way people really see me,” he said. “When I see someone who never supported immigration reform now offering encouragement, that means everything.”


Big hand for Big Toy volunteers

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Of the Keizertimes

A battalion of more than 200 volunteers pulled off a minor miracle Saturday, Sept. 9.

Led by members from 12 congregations of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS), the group cleared wood chips from about 90 percent of the Big Toy in Keizer Rapids Park. The chips are being cleared and the play structure is closed for the next several weeks while a pour-in-place surface is installed.

“I don’t think that the city or parks board had any clue that we could get that many people out there,” said Dan Kohler, director of public affairs for the LDS church in this area. “We were thrilled, we had people from the church and people from the community working side-by-side.”

Kohler said the group had plenty of people and good organization, but loaner tools – two track hoes and a loader – from Doug’s Dirt Works made all the difference.

“He pulled them off other jobs and we probably wouldn’t have gotten as far as we did without them,” Kohler said.

City staff finished off the job Tuesday, Sept. 12. The Big Toy is expected to remain closed at least through Oct. 16 while the new surface is installed.

More than 600 cubic yards of wood chips were poured into the site in 2015. Usable portions of what was removed from the Big Toy are being stored at the park and used to replace wood chips around other Keizer park play structures.


Doutt, Allen lead McNary at Joe Dancer Park

Of the Keizertimes

McNary senior Kailey Doutt’s face lit up with excitement when asked about the Lady Celts cross country team, especially freshman teammate Ella Repp.

Doutt won the girls varsity race at Joe Dancer Park in McMinnville on Wednesday, Sept. 13, finishing in just over 20 minutes and 12 seconds. Not far behind her was Repp in 20:30.47, good enough for third.

“We push each other and I haven’t had that before,” Doutt said of Repp. “And we have a lot of girls that are doing amazing compared to past seasons and hopefully we’ll beat a lot of people at districts.”

Doutt ran alongside Maddie Rollins, a McMinnville senior who qualified for the state meet last season, for most of Wednesday’s race, before kicking into another gear in the last 400 meters to win by seven seconds.

“I was scared like the whole race,” Doutt said. “I had to keep feeding myself positive thoughts. I just went as hard as I could at the end. I don’t think she (Rollins) had anything left because when I passed her, she didn’t match my speed.”

Doutt, who battled injuries during cross country and track last season, added she’s feeling better and stronger than ever.

“I’m going faster in workouts that we’re doing than I ever have,” Doutt said.

Repp’s 20:30.37 was the eighth fastest girls time ran this season in the Greater Valley Conference. The top 10 finishers at the district meet on Oct. 25 qualify for state.

“She paced herself really well and we know she’s faster and she’s going to get faster,” McNary head coach David Holcomb said of Repp. “We’re excited for her.”

As a team, the Lady Celts (39) finished 15 points behind McMinnville (24), whose top five runners placed second and then fourth through seventh. McNary junior Emma Garland took eighth in 22:11.65. Senior Alison Repp and freshman Reyna Terrazas completed the scoring for the Lady Celts, finishing in 23:30.10 and 23:31.80, good enough for 14th and 15th respectively.

With 67 points, McKay’s girls placed a distant third.

“Our one (Doutt) and two (Ella Repp) are competing against McMinnville’s best,” Holcomb said. “Now it’s time to look at the 3-7 and figure out where do we want to be by the season’s end and now we have some times to shoot for and a goal in mind. Hopefully the girls respond. They admitted they wanted more. We’ve got some weeks to go and some miles to run.”

In the boys race, McNary junior David Allen showed just a glimpse of what he’s capable of.

Running in his first ever 5K, Allen finished behind five McMinnville runners, to place sixth in 18:34.09.

“It was nice to be up in the front because I’m pretty competitive,” Allen said. “I started off kind of slow but eventually I worked my way up and just kept getting faster throughout the race.”

Allen played junior varsity football at McNary last fall but gave it up to try cross country.

“I didn’t play a whole lot so I just wanted to do something where I’d stay active and I figured cross country was the best way,” Allen said. “This year is just trying to learn the sport and get used to it more and get more used to the races. I didn’t think I’d be where I am right now. I just feel lucky to be here.”

Since Allen’s favorite sport, baseball, is in the spring, Allen hadn’t even ran track before. He also barely ran this summer, recording less than 60 miles.

“He’s (Allen) a guy as a coaching staff, when we talk about him, we smile and we laugh almost because he really doesn’t know what he’s doing,” said Holcomb, who coached Allen in football.

“He has so much untapped potential he doesn’t know about and we’re hoping throughout the year the race strategy will get there, the pacing will get there. I think he’s one of those kids where he can jump into anything and figure out how to make himself competitive. Cross country being more of a stamina, discipline, driven sport, to see him be this successful without knowing what he’s doing, that’s pretty exciting.”

Jonas Honeyman (10th, 18:59.49) and Ethan Whalen (11th, 19:06.28) were the second and third McNary boys to cross the finish line as the Celtics edged McKay 59-62 for second place. Noah Egli (19:47.64, 15th) and Emanuel Figueroa (19:54.88, 17th) completed the scoring.

Holcomb noted the Celtics have around a dozen boys competing for a varsity spot.

“A lot of young kids who have never done this before and are learning how to do it,” he said. “We’re hoping by the season’s end, we’ll have seven guys that have really figured it out that can make us competitive. It’s going to be a chess match for us coaches by the season’s end.”

After not having enough girls for a junior varsity team last season, the Lady Celts won the JV race on Wednesday, edging McMinnville 29-34.

Freshman Nina Garland placed first in 24:21.32. Duyen Barr (fourth, 25:34.31) and Jaizielle Samson (fifth, 25:42.04) finished inside the top five.

Skate park work breathes new life into local scene

Of the Keizertimes

Saturday, Sept. 9, is a day that Robert Johnson will remember for a while.

After overseeing a huge group of volunteers removing wood chips from the Big Toy, the Keizer parks supervisor was on his way home driving past Carlson Skate Park when something unexpected happened.

“I saw this head pop up over the ramps when someone did a trick off the center diamond. It was the first time I’ve seen the kids doing tricks like that in years,” Johnson eagerly told city councilors and parks board members during a tour of parks Monday, Sept. 11.

Johnson stopped his car and pulled into the parking lot to watch the kids and adults make use of the newly-rehabbed facility. Within a few minutes he was outside his car taking with people using the park for the first time in a while.

“This park had become a scooter park because the scooters are the only ones with wheels that could ride over the surface easily. Any skaters that used the park had to go out and buy wider, more expensive wheels to be able to ride well,” Johnson said.

In August, the city council approved a contract to rehabilitate portions of the skate park by grinding down some of the most used sections of the pitted concrete and making it safer for riders of all types. A side benefit of the makeover was reducing friction allowing skaters and riders to do bigger and better tricks. As the group of civic leader arrived at the park dusk was nearing, but about 40 bikes, skateboards and scooters were carving lines around the refreshed areas of the park.

“The thing is I don’t want to stop here,” Johnson told the group.

The cost to do the grinding work was about $35,000 and the number of visitors had already increased exponentially in the three days since it was completed. However, the job is only partially done. Most of the grinding work targeted the areas and ramps most frequently used, but there are rough patches all around the park and two bowls and a handful of ramps that go largely unused because of poor design or deterioration.

Johnson said bids to remodel the park completely top $600,000, but the increased use after just the initial work has him rethinking the path forward.

“A lot of the park that is still usable with more grinding work, and I think we can work on redesigning sections of it like the bowls and ramps while using what is already here as a foundation. I think it will be cheaper than $600,000, but I don’t know by how much,” Johnson said.

Celtics host ‘angry’ Sprague

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Of the Keizertimes

McNary senior Tim Kiser expects to face a mad Sprague team, fresh off a 35-0 loss to West Salem, when the Olympians come to Keizer on Friday, Sept. 15.

“They’re going to be angry,” Kiser said. “They’re going to want revenge and they’re going to want to go hard against whatever comes next, which means we have to play harder.”

McNary head coach Jeff Auvinen expects to face a better team than the Sprague squad that lost five fumbles, including four in the first half, in the blowout loss at West Salem.

“They’re a good football team,” Auvinen said of the Olympians. “They showed that against South (Salem). I think they’re going to be primed and ready to play their better ball and we’re going to be primed to take another step up, too. I think it’s going to be a good ball game.”

Sprague had lost to West Salem in 2016 as well when the Olympians followed up that performance with 350 yards rushing and a 50-21 win over the Celtics.

“We didn’t do a great job of manning our gaps,” McNary head coach Jeff Auvinen said of last season’s game with Sprague. “They’re going to try to be a physical team. We need to be able to defeat blocks and go in our gap and tackle well. I think we’re more disciplined this year. I don’t know if we’re more physical inside but I think we’re more disciplined and I think it’s going to benefit us.”

While Sprague graduated one half of its running back tandem in Dane McKinney, who scored two touchdowns against the Celtics last season, Noah Mellen returns as well as quarterback Spencer Plant and tight end/defensive end Teagan Quitoriano, who has committed to the University of Oregon.

“We’ve got to play harder up front than we have ever played,” Kiser said. “They have a good offense but I feel like if we step up and practice harder and show them a better defense and throw them off and get into their heads a little bit, and by doing that we have somebody else (McNary) that deserves to be up in the top (of the GVC) than just them (Sprague) and West.”

The Olympians return only one starter on the offensive line.

“They’ve got a young line, a bunch of inexperienced guys, but they do a good job of coaching line over there,” Auvinen said.

Auvinen pointed to limiting penalties and winning the turnover margin as keys to the game. McNary has a plus-5 turnover margin through the first two games but has 185 yards in penalties.

“I think if we play well, we’ll be in good shape,” Auvinen said. “We tell the kids all of the time, ‘Do what you can to get better and the scoreboard will take care of itself.’”


DeVos and campus sexual assault

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Education Secretary Betsy DeVos talked to lots of people—victims, students who said they were falsely accused and the family members of both —before she started to reform a policy instituted under President Barack Obama that instructs college campuses on how to deal with allegations of sexual assault.

In the not so distant past, university administrators often failed to protect female students or establish a culture that discouraged aggressive predatory behavior. In such an atmosphere, victims of sexual assault had good reason to fear reporting crimes committed against them lest they be subjected to an onslaught of questions that looked for fault in their behavior, instead of that of their attackers.

With the rise of feminism, the paradigm shifted. Authorities generally stopped looking for excuses to explain away violent or abusive acts. In the criminal justice system, the word was out—don’t blame the victim.

And then, as happens, the movement to stand up for victims morphed into something different. In 2011, the Office of Civil Rights for the Education Department sent a “Dear Colleague” letter to colleges with new guidelines for handling sexual assault cases. The letter threatened to withhold funds from institutions that did not adhere to the new policy, which requires schools to investigate all complaints of sexual assault and details how they must conduct disciplinary proceedings.

Desperate not to appear insensitive to victims of sexual assault, academia went overboard. The burden shifted from the accuser to the accused. The horror stories made news. Male students charged with assault were presumed guilty. Tribunals had the ability to expel students who were denied due process.

In The Atlantic, Emily Yoffe wrote about a University of Massachusetts, Amherst junior who was accused of sexual assault in 2014. His accuser wrote that the two students had gotten high together, then engaged in foreplay. She decided to leave. Later she wrote, “as my RA (resident adviser) training kicked in, I realized I’d been sexually assaulted.”

Police investigated the case and never charged Kwado Bonsu. But the university restricted Bonsu’s movement on campus, while investigating him. Yoffe wrote that the university found Bonsu was not responsible for sexual misconduct, but suspended him for not adhering to its restrictions. Bonsu sued and his case was settled confidentially.

“Definitions of sexual wrongdoing on college campuses are now seriously over-broad,” four Harvard law professors wrote in an August paper, Fairness to All Students under Title IX, that challenged the Obama policy. “They go way beyond accepted legal definitions of rape, sexual assault, and sexual harassment. They often include sexual conduct that is merely unwelcome, even if it does not create a hostile environment, even if the person accused had no way of knowing it was unwanted, and even if the accuser’s sense that it was unwelcome arose after the encounter. The definitions often include mere speech about sexual matters.”

The Harvard law professors noted, “The procedures for enforcing these definitions are frequently so unfair as to be truly shocking. Some colleges and universities fail even to give students the complaint against them, or notice of the factual basis of charges, the evidence gathered, or the identities of witnesses.”

Their decision to release this memo, said Walter Olson, a senior fellow at the Libertarian-leaning Cato Institute, sends the message that if you want to defend the policy, “you’re not going to have to argue with Libertarians and conservatives” only, you are going to have to argue with left-leaning legal scholars who also care about fairness and due process.

That makes it harder to push the notion that if you are truly outraged about rape, you are willing to go overboard.

That’s the tack former Vice President Joe Biden took when he wrote on Facebook, “Sexual assault is the ultimate abuse of power, and its pernicious presence in our schools is unacceptable. Policies that do not treat this epidemic with the utmost seriousness are an insult to the lives it has damaged and the survivors who have worked so hard to make positive change.”

Biden urged like-minded individuals to “speak up. Any rollback of Title IX protections will hurt your classmates, your students, your friends, your sisters. Make your views known.”

There are many reasons DeVos could have decided to let the current policy continue.

The White House released a statement that applauded DeVos’ decision “to overhaul the Department of Education’s approach to campus sexual assault enforcement under Title IX. These efforts will produce better policy—one that ensures that sexual assault is taken seriously on campuses without denying the accused the fundamental protections of due process.”

DeVos didn’t detail how the rules will change but she said her office will seek feedback from the public and universities to develop new rules, a decision the White House also applauded.

“So much momentum has built up for federally driven changes in campus discipline and rules, so much momentum for unreasonableness,” Olson said, but the unfairness was so striking that it brought together feminists, Libertarians and Trump supporters.

Still, he added, “It took a great deal of courage for her to do this. It would have been easy for her to find some way to dodge it, or postpone it.”

(Creator Syndicate)


Keizer’s 9/11 memorial

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To the Editor:

The Keizer Fire District has provided a community memorial for the 9/11/2001 attack for the last sixteen years. It is a very respectful and sober event to remember those who died and the emergency responders who served. Through the fire district, the city of Keizer demonstrates its community patriotism for America and our citizens.   

The Keizer Fire District hosts the event, providing a flag ceremony, bag pipe band, prayer, short respectful speeches and even a breakfast after the ceremony.  It is a very professional and moving event to remember that day and the sacrifices made. We are very fortunate to have such a patriotic fire district and city.

It moves me every year I attend and it makes me proud to live in Keizer. Thank you, Keizer Fire District for all that you do for our community.

John P. Rizzo,


The Dreamers deserve compassion

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“The last temptation is the greatest treason: To do the right deed for the wrong reason.”         — T.S. Eliot

We have every reason to assume the worst when it comes to President Trump’s motivation in rescinding DACA—the program allowing undocumented immigrants to live and work openly if they came to the United States as children. Trump’s public justification is that President Obama’s creation of DACA by executive action was unconstitutional. A usurpation of Congress. A process violation.

Yet Trump didn’t give a fig for constitutional niceties in his initial order to keep people from certain Muslim-majority countries out of the U.S. Now, to potentially send Hispanics out of the country, he has discovered an appreciation for process and precedent. There is a theme here, and it is not respect for the rule of law. Trump does not deserve the benefit of the doubt when it comes to issues of race and ethnicity. Recently, and with increasing frequency, he has displayed malevolent prejudice for political reasons. His action on DACA is another installment in this disturbing series.

But, apart from Trump’s motivations, was his action on DACA the right deed? Not, certainly, by the measure of its outcome. Trump has removed reasonable protections from a sympathetic group. It would be a grave injustice to send the Dreamers “home” to countries where many have hardly visited.

A democracy, however, considers more than outcomes, or else the American system of government would be the Chinese system of government. And the constitutional case concerning DACA is not obvious.

The legal matter at issue: Does the executive branch have enough discretion and authority to interpret immigration laws in the manner set out by Obama—essentially as a new pseudo-program that grants benefits to a group that Congress did not mark out for benefits? The courts have granted broad discretion to immigration officials in determining who to deport and who not to deport. The fact that the law is not applied equally in every case does not invalidate the just application of the law in any case. But the further question is: Can that discretion be applied to an entire class of undocumented people who are then granted a package of benefits (including work permits, advance parole to travel in and out of the country and, eventually, Social Security and Medicare)?

For most of his presidency, Obama maintained that creating such a program by executive action would be improper overreach. In 2012, out of frustration with congressional inaction, he changed course and created DACA. At the time, Obama frankly admitted that this was a substitute for legislation—a measure taken in “the absence of any immigration action from Congress.”

There is little question that the president can prioritize immigration enforcement in a variety of ways, say, to focus on deporting convicted felons rather than Dreamers. This is the manner in which the law was generally enforced before DACA, and in which it could still be enforced without DACA.

At some point, however, the systematic organization of this discretion into a new legal status, bringing a series of public benefits, becomes the equivalent of legislating. And the courts might focus particular scrutiny on forms of executive action that Congress could have legislated but didn’t. Given the more conservative composition of the Supreme Court, it is likely that DACA would have been struck down.

Whatever the merits of the constitutional case on DACA, the Dreamers should now be protected by law. For the last few decades, Congress has pliantly surrendered a number of roles—particularly on social policy and national security—to the courts and the president. A shortage of institutional ambition is a problem that America’s founders did not even contemplate. This is an opportunity for Congress to reclaim its proper constitutional role.

This is also a debate, given that few Republicans actually want to deport the Dreamers, and most Democrats seem to prioritize their welfare, on which compromise is particularly ripe. The obvious deal: stronger border enforcement (though not the surpassingly silly wall) for a new version of DACA.

If Republicans can’t accept such a deal, they have no heart and a severely limited political future in an increasingly diverse country. If Democrats can’t accept such a deal, their rhetoric on the Dreamers is empty. On this issue, compromise is now the evidence of compassion.

(Washington Post Writers Group)


Don’t like DACA? Let Congress fix it

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Humanitarians are people who are concerned about, and seek to,  protect their fellow human beings.  They are also found to be kind and thoughtful about the welfare of most living creatures. They are those Americans among us who view Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) from an emotional position, seeing it as a humane way to treat those who entered the U.S. through no choice of their own.

DACA is an American immigration policy that allows certain undocumented immigrants who entered the U.S. before their 16th birthday and before June, 2007, to receive a renewable two-year work permit and exemption from deportation. It does confer non-immigrant status but not a path to citizenship.

Meanwhile, we Americans hardly got to direct our attention to the divisive expressions of racism and hate at Charlottesville when two weeks later we’ve got DACA. However, while Charlottesville had only one side wrong, as much as evil is never right, DACA, it’s argued, has two legitimates, that is, the humane angle and the law and order angle.

In the first instance, with DACA, there’s a case to be made that former President Barack Obama used DACA as an executive order in 2012 for political gain and has used his legal jargon knowledge to defend it.  By Obama’s own standards, DACA does not stand the test of legal scrutiny. The U.S. Constitution plainly gives the role of lawmaker to Congress while the executive branch enforces the law.

DACA defers deportation and provides work permits, Social Security cards, and a driver’s license to over one million illegal immigrants who arrived as minors while, from the beginning, has been controversial due to its dubious legal origins; therein lies the rub with DACA. Those protesting its rescind want us to believe this is a simple question of the heart, of kindness, of just another chapter in the American immigration story.  Yet, at it core, DACA is a question of legality, that is this: Is it legal for a president to create legislative authority out of thin air, deciding what preferences to enforce?

All presidents try end runs and this was Obama’s end run.  However, it’s an extreme action by the executive branch that underscores the broken state of our immigration system.  The 11 million immigrants living illegally here is due in part at least to a system that requires long wait times, imposes ancient and possibly irrelevant quotas and often gets those, trying to negotiate it, into a morass of subjective decision making.

Those who want to crawl out from under the mountain of emotions now being unleashed throughout our land should recognize that the current system needs to be remedied and stand down to redirect their efforts to the U.S. Congress.  The question of immigration, especially when it involves children, is always packed with emotion.  Yet, intense emotion should not overrule the law itself.

In keeping with his reputation for self-serving ventures that are profit motivated, President Trump just may be onto something worthy of consideration. He is consistently guilty of what’s judged hypocritical by his own executive orders; nevertheless, in this case, sending the matter of DACA to the U.S. Congress may be the only way the 11 million undocumented immigrants will ever come to a place where lasting peace-of-mind and law-providing safety can be realized by them.

Personal satisfactions may be derived from marching in America’s streets and byways while calling out and carrying signs conveying messages about what’s wanted.  In our country today, unfortunately, the way to get a law on the books is what U.S, corporations and America’s wealthy do: they hire lobbyists and send them to D.C. with bags of money.

(Gene H. McIntyre lives in Keizer.)