Trump tries to play good cop, bad cop with DACA

The Victoria Standard - - Commentary - HE­LEN DELFELD Dr. He­len Delfeld holds a doc­tor­ate in po­lit­i­cal science, spe­cial­iz­ing in women/ gen­der stud­ies and in­ter­na­tional pol­i­tics. She worked as a hu­man rights ac­tivist and pro­fes­sor for over a decade be­fore turn­ing to pub­lic ed­u­ca­tion and writ­ing

A lot of peo­ple be­lieve in tak­ing care of chil­dren. A lot of peo­ple be­lieve that chil­dren aren't re­spon­si­ble for what their par­ents do.

Here in the United States, we ap­par­ently don't be­lieve in either of those things about the most vul­ner­a­ble among us. We de­port 'em. Pres­i­dent Trump told all 800,000 De­ferred Ac­tion for Child­hood Ar­rivals (DACA) pro­gram par­tic­i­pants on Septem­ber 5 that their pro­gram was com­ing to an end in six months. This will af­fect pos­si­bly three mil­lion more chil­dren as well, be­cause chil­dren must wait un­til they are six­teen to ap­ply for the pro­gram.

What a dif­fer­ence a gen­er­a­tion makes. Rock-ribbed 1980s Repub­li­cans like Ron­ald Rea­gan and Ge­orge Bush Sr., for all their faults, would never have done this. Rea­gan cre­ated the largest amnesty for un­doc­u­mented mi­grants ever, ar­gu­ing it was both the right thing to do and good for busi­ness. Sim­i­larly, Bush the El­der clearly spoke out against a thread of Repub­li­can pol­i­tics that de­hu­man­ized un­doc­u­mented work­ers.

Even Repub­li­can Bush the Younger (along with a group of leg­is­la­tors from across the po­lit­i­cal spec­trum) pro­moted a path to cit­i­zen­ship for im­mi­grant chil­dren, called the DREAM Act. It pro­vided a path to per­ma­nent res­i­dency to chil­dren brought here with­out proper doc­u­men­ta­tion.

Since, how­ever, there has been a gen­er­a­tion-long quest to tar­get un­doc­u­mented work­ers in a mis­guided at­tempt to shore up the white base of the Repub­li­can Party. At times, this ef­fort has been breath­tak­ingly racist, cul­mi­nat­ing (IN/WITH) Trump, who lit­er­ally started his cam­paign for pres­i­dent by call­ing Mex­i­can mi­grants to the United States rapists and criminals. White peo­ple re­warded Trump - 57% vot­ing for him, while non­whites voted against him by a whop­ping 74%.

Although the bill was very pop­u­lar with the pub­lic, the Bush-orig­i­nated DREAM Act stalled for over a decade due to that same anti-im­mi­grant frag­ment of the Repub­li­can Party. As a hu­man­i­tar­ian stop­gap, Obama in­sti­tuted DACA. The act promises im­mi­grant chil­dren that if they stay out of trou­ble, they can study, work, and stay in the US on tem­po­rary twoyear per­mits which can be re­newed in­def­i­nitely un­til Congress gets its act to­gether.

Th­ese are good kids. 90% of them have jobs, and 25% are either cur­rently in high school or in col­lege. Those with crim­i­nal records need not ap­ply.

The irony is it was that same an­ti­im­mi­grant sen­ti­ment that cre­ated droves of un­doc­u­mented chil­dren in the first place. Borders have be­come a lot harder to cross in the last two decades. Since fam­i­lies can no longer go "home" safely or eas­ily like they used to do, par­ents have been forced to de­cide whether to raise their kids here or there. An as­ton­ish­ing two-thirds of un­doc­u­mented folks have been in the U.S. for ten years or more. They've had to choose, and chose the U.S. Hence, we have a gen­er­a­tion of younger im­mi­grants (the av­er­age age of ar­rival is 6) who do not clearly re­mem­ber their coun­try of birth, and al­most all speak English bet­ter than their na­tive tongue. Most have been here more than a decade, and they are do­ing their best to build their lives here.

So why on earth did Trump choose this of all hills to die on, by end­ing the DACA pro­gram?

Trump has a rec­og­niz­able pat­tern, pos­si­bly use­ful in get­ting his way in busi­ness ne­go­ti­a­tions, but ut­terly aw­ful in try­ing to gov­ern. First, he does some­thing ap­palling that ap­peals only to his nar­row base, prob­a­bly around 15-20% of the US pop­u­la­tion. They get re­ally ex­cited about him sig­nal­ing that he is "on their side" and harden their loy­alty to him. But then, hav­ing low­ered eth­i­cal ex­pec­ta­tions far be­low any pre­vi­ous floor, he soft­ens just enough that com­pared to the new floor he es­tab­lished, he looks more mod­er­ate. Ev­ery­one be­sides his red-meat base breathes a sigh of re­lief that he isn't ac­tu­ally that bad. He then presents an al­ter­nate tar­get to blame for any bad out­come, and at­tempts to come out of a sit­u­a­tion he caused as the hero.

This is how he did that trick this time. He over­turned DACA, send­ing in his sac­ri­fi­cial at­tor­ney gen­eral to an­nounce it and de­flect di­rect blame. Then he im­me­di­ately gave us an al­ter­nate tar­get, say­ing it should have been Congress fix­ing the prob­lem in the first place. That's cer­tainly true enough, but does noth­ing to solve the hu­man­i­tar­ian night­mare th­ese kids face. Obama had tidily solved that prob­lem with DACA. Then the very next day, he tweeted that if Congress didn't do their job, he might re­verse his own ac­tion. See how he mag­i­cally plays bad cop and then pre­tends it was some­one else, and turns into good cop?

At this moment, it is well worth re­mem­ber­ing that the U.S. is verg­ing on be­ing a mi­nor­ity-ma­jor­ity coun­try, which should hap­pen in 2044, just 27 years from now.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.