The DACA Dodge

Trump has summarily decapitated DACA, the executive program instituted by Obama that allowed children, who had been illegally transported to America by their parents, to “come out of the shadows”, get work permits, attend schools and college. To become productive citizens without punishing them. Obama issued this admittedly unconstitutional order (he even said so) when Congress failed to pass anything to address a situation that had deep ethical problems.

I do not question the legality of what Trump did, only the morality. Congress is not going to do “comprehensive immigration reform” in the next 6 months (the time provided by Trump before he starts deporting dreamers). Congress has done exactly nothing for 8 months (save approve a SCOTUS member). I think the chances of a straight up/down Dreamer Act (independent of broader reform) is also highly unlikely. They will have 6 months to let this fervor die down, undoubtedly to be replaced by MANY fresh new “burn down the house” controversies and scandals. Once out of sight, out of mind.

And if that happens (or, more correctly, if nothing happens), then what becomes of the 800,000 who voluntarily provided all their informaton (including residence location, etc) in order take advantage of the DACA offer? Who are not receiving any welfare or other government assistance, but who are in fact 91% employed and/or in school? Who contribute $2 billion in taxes? Who have never been arrested, or in trouble, or been anything but a positive force in our society?

THESE are the first targets of Trump’s immigration “policy”?

Trump had other options. Primarily, he could have actually led the legislative fight to pass a Dreamer Act, instead of playing this game of chicken with Congress, while 800,000 model citizens are thrown into terrible jeopardy in the middle of the road between them.

All he’s doing is grabbing the low-hanging fruit. Because DACA people voluntarily exposed themselves in the belief they would be free of worry, they are now in daily dread of their very future. And these are people who have known no home other than the United States. Think what that will actually mean to these young people if they are deported. Deported to where? Their homes are here. Are they just gonna dump them on some street in the middle of Mexico City. Or in the Sonoran desert?

However Trump might have dealt with this situation, the course he actually chose to take, while by the letter of the law is perhaps “correct”, by any moral or ethical measure, is unhumane and reprehensible.

Again: the DACA program has been in effect for several years; if he was pushing for immigration reform, he could easily have waited a few more months. Or he could have used the bully pulpit to oush for a stand-alone Dreamer Act. But to simply end DACA, and dare Congress to fix it, is not leadership. It is cowardice and shows a complete lack of a moral compass.

It is not the bully pulpit, it is simply a bully lashing out at those least able to defend themselves, and most easily deported.

© 2017 Chuck Puckett