De­port­ing the ‘Dream­ers’ will be an un­con­scionable act

South Florida Times - - OPINION - MO­HAMED HAMALUDIN

This much must be con­ceded about Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump: He is de­ter­mined to ful­fill his cam­paign promises with per­haps greater zeal than many of his pre­de­ces­sors in of­fice. Case in point is his hard­line im­mi­gra­tion pol­icy, in­clud­ing his pledge to vig­or­ously de­port un­doc­u­mented im­mi­grants. But his zeal­ous drive to send as many of the 11 mil­lion or so of them as pos­si­ble back to their home coun­tries lacks com­pas­sion and an em­pa­thy for the vul­ner­a­ble.

The plight of the un­doc­u­mented im­mi­grants whose par­ents brought them into the coun­try, some as in­fants, cries out for such con­sid­er­a­tion. The Se­nate Democrats who could not hold the line this week in de­mand­ing that these young peo­ple con­tinue to be pro­tected from de­por­ta­tion will be just as com­plicit in what will most likely be their mass ex­pul­sion.

The fed­eral gov­ern­ment shut down over the past week­end be­cause Demo­cratic sen­a­tors, in par­tic­u­lar, re­fused to en­dorse a spend­ing bill to keep it open un­less the sta­tus of the young­sters was re­solved.

The Democrats found them­selves be­ing por­trayed as vil­lain­ous anti-Amer­i­cans by the Trump pro­pa­ganda ma­chine. He took to Twit­ter, as usual, to ac­cuse them of putting for­eign­ers over the in­ter­ests of Amer­i­cans. And a Trump cam­paign aired with a voice in the back­ground say­ing, “Democrats who stand in our way will be com­plicit in ev­ery mur­der com­mit­ted by il­le­gal im­mi­grants.”

In­stead of go­ing on the of­fen­sive also and point­ing out the fun­da­men­tal un­fair­ness in sub­ject­ing the young­sters to de­por­ta­tion, the Democrats sur­ren­dered and, by mid­day Mon­day, they ac­cepted a vague prom­ise from Se­nate Ma­jor­ity Leader Mitch McCon­nell (R-Ky) to ad­dress their con­cerns. But even if that hap­pens, the fact is that Trump and the Repub­li­cans will not agree to any soft­en­ing of his im­mi­gra­tion pol­icy.

But this is not a mat­ter of for­eign­ers ver­sus Amer­i­cans. A look at the story of the young im­mi­grants shows that the Democrats were right to hold out for a deal to le­gal­ize their stay in the coun­try and wrong to yield the ad­van­tage to Trump. In­stead, they put votes over prin­ci­ples.

The dis­pute cen­ters on Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s sign­ing an ex­ec­u­tive or­der in 2012 pro­vid­ing the young im­mi­grants tem­po­rary re­prieve from de­por­ta­tion. The De­ferred Ac­tion for Child­hood Ar­rivals or­der or DACA ini­tially cov­ered about 1.5 mil­lion peo­ple, a num­ber that is about 800,000 now, called the “Dream­ers” after a failed com­pre­hen­sive im­mi­gra­tion re­form ini­tia­tive called the Dream Act.

Those cov­ered by DACA had to meet cer­tain cri­te­ria, in­clud­ing com­ing to the U.S. be­fore their 16th birth­day, hav­ing no crim­i­nal back­ground, liv­ing in the coun­try con­tin­u­ously since June 15, 2007, and pe­ri­od­i­cally ap­ply­ing for an ex­ten­sion of their stay. About 799,077 were ap­proved for re­newals. DACA does not grant them cit­i­zen­ship, just re­prieve from de­por­ta­tion.

An over­whelm­ing num­ber of the “Dream­ers” came from Mex­ico and oth­ers com­ing from more than 20 other coun­tries, in­clud­ing and Guyana, Ja­maica, Nige­ria and Trinidad and Tobago, ac­cord­ing to a Washington Post story dated last Sept. 7. The pa­per also cited a report from the Mi­gra­tion Pol­icy In­sti­tute that the 11 mil­lion un­doc­u­mented im­mi­grants in­clude about 600,000 blacks.

The Black Al­liance for Just Im­mi­gra­tion, The Post said, is con­cerned about de­por­ta­tion gen­er­ally be­cause blacks “are de­tained and de­ported at five times the rate of other pop­u­la­tions of un­doc­u­mented peo­ple.” This should stir the pas­sions of African Amer­i­cans.

For the “Dream­ers,” de­por­ta­tion would mean be­ing ex­pelled to home coun­tries which most of them do not know or where vi­o­lence is en­demic.

Trump, who has dubbed DACA “il­le­gal amnesty” and claims it threat­ens Amer­i­can jobs and cul­ture – mean­ing white cul­ture, of course -- an­nounced in Septem­ber an end to the pro­gram. That means as of March 2020 the “Dream­ers” would all be sub­ject to de­por­ta­tion.

It is sur­pris­ing that there was not an out­pour­ing of sup­port for the Democrats dur­ing the week­end im­passe. Whether else­where in the coun­try and in the world around or in Florida, where the “Dream­ers” num­ber around 32,800, the hun­dreds of large women’s ral­lies did not seem to have DACA as a pri­or­ity, judg­ing from some of the news re­ports.

While Trump blithely be­lieves he has a man­date to ride roughshod over those who op­pose him, the pres­i­dency is not The Ap­pren­tice. It is a democ­racy with checks and bal­ances against over-reach of power. A CBS News report quoted by The Hill news site on Jan. 18 said al­most nine in 10 Amer­i­cans polled want the “Dream­ers” to be able to stay in the coun­try.

In that con­text, it is good to pon­der on Wil­liam Shake­speare’s ad­mo­ni­tion in The Mer­chant of Venice: The qual­ity of mercy is not strain'd,

It drop­peth as the gen­tle rain from heaven Upon the place be­neath: it is twice blest; It bles­seth him that gives and him that takes:

'Tis might­i­est in the might­i­est: it be­comes The throned monarch bet­ter than his crown;

His scep­tre shows the force of tem­po­ral power, The at­tribute to awe and majesty... Pres­i­dent Trump may not be as par­ti­san to Shake­speare as he is to Fox News so per­haps some­one should read this quo­ta­tion to him.

This coun­try has had a deeply trou­bled, schiz­o­phrenic re­la­tion­ship with blacks ever since it forcibly brought Africans here and en­slaved them for hun­dreds of years. It loves vir­tu­ally ev­ery­thing about us – our skin color, lip size, swag, style, rhythm, ath­leti­cism, artistry, etc. etc. etc.; BUT it hates our ex­is­tence. The prob­lem the coun­try has with black peo­ple ac­tu­ally has noth­ing to do with black peo­ple – and ev­ery­thing to do with white folks’ dis­con­nec­tion from who they re­ally are, but I di­gress. I was about to ex­plain to you why Oprah should run for pres­i­dent.

The coun­try is se­verely wounded. It has been for a very, very long time. The coun­try has be­gun to heal (stay with me) and Oprah as pres­i­dent would be a pow­er­ful fac­tor in Amer­ica con­tin­u­ing its heal­ing process.

In the New Thought move­ment, a process called ‘chem­i­cal­iza­tion’ hap­pens when spir­i­tual progress is be­ing made in a per­son’s life, but un­der­ly­ing un­re­solved is­sues that block com­plete heal­ing lurk be­neath the sur­face. The idea is that in or­der for the heal­ing to be com­plete, all of the un­healed gunk from the per­son’s past must rise to the sur­face for an op­por­tu­nity to be ad­dressed and po­ten­tially healed. As it re­lates to the United States, chem­i­cal­iza­tion ex­plains why the elec­tion of Don­ald Trump is a part of the coun­try’s heal­ing process.

Trump’s vic­tory brought to the sur­face nasty racial vit­riol that many naively be­lieved no longer ex­isted be­cause Barack Obama was elected. Some of it sur­faced dur­ing Pres­i­dent Obama’s two terms, but we didn’t re­ally get the full scope of what lay be­neath un­til Trump stoked the an­i­mus dur­ing his cam­paign, and as this na­tion’s leader. Racists came out of the wood­work in record num­ber in a bold­ness not wit­nessed since Bull Connor him­self ran around, led by the ig­no­rant ha­tred fes­ter­ing in his blood.

There have been not so veiled at­tempts to turn back the clocks as they re­late to black folk in this coun­try. Ef­forts to pre­vent the black vote take on myr­iad

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