Don­ald Trump’s shame­ful move to end DACA

Don­ald Trump’s de­ci­sion to end the DACA pro­gramme, which shielded hun­dreds of thou­sands of young im­mi­grants from de­por­ta­tion is heart­less and un­wise. But it serves as a har­bin­ger of things to come, says DW’s Michael Knigge

The Daily News Egypt - - Commentary -

DW—Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump could have cho­sen to fol­low through on the vow he gave DACA re­cip­i­ents af­ter his in­au­gu­ra­tion when he said in an ABC in­ter­view that “they shouldn’t be very wor­ried” and that “I do have a big heart.We’re go­ing to take care of ev­ery­body.”

Trump could have cho­sen to heed the ad­vice of busi­ness and re­li­gious lead­ers, civil so­ci­ety rep­re­sen­ta­tives, and politi­cians from both par­ties urg­ing him not to end a pro­gramme that the coun­try has ben­e­fited from eco­nom­i­cally.DACA has al­lowed young peo­ple who were brought here as chil­dren to be­come of­fi­cial mem­bers of so­ci­ety in the only place most of them re­ally know. What Trump could have done Or Trump could have just cho­sen to be com­pas­sion­ate and sim­ply do the de­cent thing be­fit­ting the leader of the United States and ex­tend DACA fol­lowed by a ma­jor speech ex­plain­ing to the na­tion why al­low­ing the so-called Dream­ers to stay is the Amer­i­can way to act.And then he could have told the Repub­li­can­led states that threat­ened to sue if he did not axe the pro­gramme, “bring it on,” vow­ing that de­fend­ing it was in Amer­ica’s in­ter­ests.

But Trump chose not to. In­stead he chose to dou­ble down on his na­tion­al­ist and anti-im­mi­grant im­pulses that fu­eled his rise to the White House and axe a pro­gram that pro­tected some 800,000 young im­mi­grants from de­por­ta­tion.These are peo­ple that were brought here as chil­dren. They are law-abid­ing, tax-pay­ing mem­bers of so­ci­ety who have worked and lived here—and even served in the mil­i­tary—for years with one only key dif­fer­ence com­pared to cit­i­zens and green card hold­ers: they have no per­ma­nent res­i­dence sta­tus. That Trump has now an­nounced that he will end the pro­gramme that pro­tects them is shame­ful and mean-spir­ited.

To be cor­rect, Trump, who usu­ally rel­ishes ev­ery op­por­tu­nity to show the world that he is the ul­ti­mate de­ci­sion maker in Wash­ing­ton, this time del­e­gated the dirty work of an­nounc­ing the phas­ing out of DACA to his at­tor­ney gen­eral, Jeff Ses­sions, who had al­ready in the past de­clared his op­po­si­tion to the pro­gramme and on Tues­day seemed not un­happy to make it of­fi­cial.The pres­i­dent, in typ­i­cal Trump fash­ion, then also punted on the is­sue, urg­ing Congress via Twit­ter to “do your job.”

Hav­ing cake and eat­ing it Ask­ing Congress to come up with a fix,af­ter hav­ing just ended the very pro­gram that pro­tects many young peo­ple from be­ing de­ported by his own ad­min­is­tra­tion is rich—but is sup­posed to al­lowTrump to have his cake and eat it too.

In his next cam­paign rally he can tell his na­tivist, anti-im­mi­grant base that he ful­filled his elec­tion prom­ise and ended Barack Obama’s re­viled “Dreamer” pro­tec­tion pro­gramme. And he can tell more main­stream vot­ers and leg­is­la­tors that his de­ci­sion was based on the con­sti­tu­tional rea­son­ing that DACA ex­ceeds the ex­ec­u­tive power of the pres­i­dent— never mind that Trump him­self in the past has never been shy to claim broad ex­ec­u­tive pow­ers. Typ­i­cal Trump play­book Trump’s ar­gu­ment is disin­gen­u­ous and needs to be re­jected.Should Congress, and its record so far sug­gests this is not un­likely, fail to come up with a so­lu­tion to pro­tect the “Dream­ers” from be­ing de­ported, the re­spon­si­bil­ity for their fate lies with Trump, who as pres­i­dent, could have acted, but chose not too.

But Trump’s de­ci­sion to axe DACA is sig­nif­i­cant far be­yond the nar­row purview of im­mi­gra­tion, for it shows that when push comes to shove and times are tough,the pres­i­dent will al­ways play to his na­tion­al­ist, anti-im­mi­grant base.

This was Trump’s play­book in both his hedged re­sponse to the vi­o­lence by the ex­treme right in Char­lottesville and in his par­don­ing of con­tro­ver­sial Sher­iff Joe Ar­paio, a hero for many anti-im­mi­grant vot­ers. The loom­ing fate of DACA pre­sented Trump with an­other op­por­tu­nity to amend his stance, and sorry if this sounds corny, to fi­nally be­come pres­i­dent of all Amer­i­cans.

Again, he chose not to.While this is per­ni­cious for the coun­try, it is also help­ful as it should fi­nally clear up the no­tion that Trump some­how, some­day will change and grow into the pres­i­dency.

MICHAEL KNIGGE

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