Trump snatches away the Dream

La Semana - - FRONT PAGE / PORTADA -

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Fol­low­ing a brief tweet from Pres­i­dent Trump and an icy press con­fer­ence by U.S. At­tor­ney Gen­eral Jeff Ses­sions on Tues­day morn­ing, a long week­end of fear and uncer­tainty turned into six more months of trep­i­da­tion for the na­tion’s es­ti­mated 1.8 mil­lion DREAM­ers and their fam­i­lies, of whom ap­prox­i­mately 800,000 had been pro­tected from the threat of de­por­ta­tion un­der Pres­i­dent Obama’s De­ferred Ac­tion for Child­hood Ar­rivals (DACA) pro­gram, which Ses­sions con­firmed is now re­scinded.

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In a move seen as a thinly veiled at­tempt to have his cake and eat it too, Trump has ended DACA but placed a six-month hold on en­forc­ing any re­lated ac­tions, say­ing in an early morn­ing tweet, “Congress, get ready to do your job – DACA!” Trump can now claim to have kept his prom­ise to his ul­tra-right wing, anti-im­mi­grant base by end­ing Pres­i­dent Obama’s ex­ec­u­tive ac­tion while show­ing he has “a big heart” by pro­vid­ing a nar­row win­dow for a bill to be passed by a deeply di­vided leg­isla­tive body that has proved it­self un­able to do so since the first DREAM Act was in­tro­duced by Se­na­tors Richard Durbin (D-Illi­nois) and Orin Hatch (R-Utah) back in 2001.

Im­mi­grant ad­vo­cacy groups across the na­tion and here in Ok­la­homa were quick to react. The Coali­tion for the Amer­i­can Dream (ADC) is­sued a state­ment just af­ter Ses­sions’ for­mally an­nounced the end of DACA, say­ing it, “deeply re­grets the pres­i­dent’s de­ci­sion to end a pro­gram that has had such a huge pos­i­tive impact, not just on the lives of the young peo­ple di­rectly af­fected, but also on the econ­omy and our so­ci­ety as a whole.”

“DACA…rep­re­sents the best of what we can be as a coun­try,” the state­ment con­tin­ued, “and it is the ADC’s fer­vent hope that Congress will act quickly to im­ple­ment a per­ma­nent so­lu­tion to end the peril about to be faced by 800,000 Dream­ers (6,900 of them in Ok­la­homa). Brought here as chil­dren, this is the only home, the only coun­try they know and love, and all they are ask­ing for is the right to use their tal­ents and pas­sion to help Amer­ica re­al­ize its full po­ten­tial.”

The move is re­garded as a vic­tory for the ve­he­mently anti-im­mi­grant Ses­sions as well as his acolyte, Stephen Miller, now a se­nior Trump ad­vi­sor. Ousted chief strate­gist Steve Ban­non had kept Trump from tak­ing this de­ci­sion ear­lier, see­ing the DREAM­ers as nec­es­sary pawns in a greater game, or in Ban­non’s own words as re­ported by NPR, “as a strate­gic as­set in the com­ing im­mi­gra­tion pol­icy bat­tles.”

For­mer Pres­i­dent Barack Obama, who un­til now has been largely silent as his suc­ces­sor has worked to un­der­mine and un­ravel nu­mer­ous key achieve­ments of his ad­min­is­tra­tion, could hold his tongue no longer.

“Th­ese DREAM­ers are Amer­i­cans I their hearts, in their minds, in ev­ery sin­gle way but one: on pa­per,” Pres­i­dent Obama said on Tues­day. “This is about whether we are a peo­ple who kick hopeful young strivers out of Amer­ica, or whether we treat them the way we’d want our kids to be treated. It’s about who we are as a peo­ple – and who we want to be.”

Tulsa res­i­dent Rosa Her­nan­dez is one of the DREAM­ers whose life stands to be af­fected by Trump’s de­ci­sion. Her­nan­dez shared her re­ac­tion to the news with La Se­m­ana.

“My ini­tial re­ac­tion, sur­pris­ingly, wasn’t one of fear,” Her­nan­dez said. “I was pre­pared to do any­thing in my power to counter his de­ci­sion. I’ve lived here my whole life, I know my rights and the law. I’m not afraid any­more.”

Her­nan­dez ex­plained that the DACA pro­gram has been a ma­jor re­lief for her fam­ily, and has al­lowed her to drive with­out fear of what hap­pens if she were to be pulled over, and to pur­sue higher ed­u­ca­tion so she could “reach dreams that had seemed like I could never achieve.”

And while pre­pared to fight, she re­mains op­ti­mistic about the fu­ture.

“I am con­fi­dent that congress will stand on the right side of his­tory” Her­nan­dez told La Se­m­ana, “and give Dream­ers the op­por­tu­nity we seek to con­trib­ute to Amer­ica, as Amer­i­cans, be­cause that is all we've ever known our­selves to be.”

In the weeks and months ahead, La Se­m­ana will be closely fol­low­ing the lives, struggles, and suc­cesses of lo­cal DREAM­ers as they work through the dif­fi­cult times to come. If you would like your story told, please send an email to ed­i­tor@lase­m­anadel­sur.com . (La Se­m­ana)

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