Sen. Ted Cruz has introduced legislation which would terminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which says if you came to the U.S. as a child, you won’t face immediate deportation as long as you satisfy certain criteria. Have you lived in the U.S. continuously since 2007? You may be eligible for the program. Are you enrolled in school or have you graduated from high school? You may be eligible. Have you been honorably discharged from the U.S. armed forces? You may be eligible.
By the way, the memo confers no pathway to citizenship and says only Congress has that authority.
Nonetheless, the Cruz legislation seeks (again) to defund the 2012 Deferred Action program, which has nothing to do with the current humanitarian crisis on our southern border, where tens of thousands of Central American children have crossed into the U.S.
However, when Cruz appeared on Fox News Sunday, he told Chris Wallace that the cause of the current border crisis was a “direct foreseeable consequence” of the 2012 Deferred Action program and the imaginary “promise of amnesty.”
And when Wallace pressed him, Cruz refused to acknowledge his own legislation was unrelated to the current crisis, and in fact would hinder executive action.
Meanwhile, Gov. Rick Perry has announced plans to deploy a thousand Texas National Guard troops to the U.S. border with Mexico.
This executive action is a natural corollary of Perry’s office, which puts him at an advantage.
Why? If you are a senator as Ted Cruz is, governing means legislating. But if you are a governor as Perry is, or a president as Obama is, governing means taking executive action, sometimes selectively, sometimes aggressively, and sometimes unilaterally.
For the legislator and executive alike, this is a timely reminder that politics requires situational awareness. And there are three elements. First, ask yourself what is the degree to which the situation lends itself to your personal intervention? Second, what is your position and status? That is, are you strategically placed within the situation? Third, what are your relative strengths and weaknesses — and what are the strengths and weaknesses of other individuals in the situation?
Sen. Cruz is fighting back, and you can’t fault him for that because politics is naturally oppositional.
The fault lies with his shallow analysis and self-deception, which don’t necessarily disqualify him from higher office but signal the inability to tell a good idea from a bad one.
Jack Godwin is an award-winning political scientist whose appeal spans the political spectrum. He is the author of three books on politics, most recently "The Office Politics Handbook," and is now writing his first novel, a political thriller set at the end of the Cold War, the golden age of spy fiction. To view more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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