In typical style, Donald Trump created an unnecessary flap when he first announced an end to the protection for the undocumented folks brought to the United States as children who have grown up here, abided by our laws, gotten jobs, paid taxes, attended school, enlisted in our military, and have been all-around exemplary citizens that would allow them to be deported–the Dreamers. After Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the demise of the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) order, a demise he personally supports, Mr. Trump then proceeded to muddy the waters by announcing that he only did this to get Congress to act and get written law on the books. He continued that these people are safe here. He “loves” them. He has a funny way of showing it.
This whole to-do was unnecessary. Mr. Trump could have left the Obama Era executive order (an order executed because Congress refused to act) in tact and written an executive branch bill to send to Congress that would move the EO into established law. Instead he chose to create a sweeps week quality reality show frenzy in lieu of quiet, thoughtful law making.
Getting DACA into codified law, one that cannot be undone with the swish of a president’s pen is the right thing to do, even if it has to be done amidst excessive drama.
These 8000,000 young people need the assurance of permanent safety and status in the United States to pursue their dreams. This should happen easily. 88% of this country supports solving the issue by allowing them to safely stay and participate. 12% want to deport them. 12% is about the same poll popularity as getting the flu.
Here’s where politics will rear its head. Some want to allow Dreamers legal status–a green card for life–while others want to create a path to full citizenship.
The Dreamers themselves are not asking for amnesty. They are fine with getting in line for citizenship honors. They understand it will take years–possibly 15 years or more. The privilege is that important to them. But, there is still a faction in the U.S. that wants to bar them from naturalization, creating yet another group of second-class citizens.
We tried this before. There is the “three-fifths of a person” bit in the Constitution. Next, we demanded that one group of citizens be segregated from using the best utilities and amenities we had to offer–forced to use inferior equipment and forced to look in from the outside of many public facilities, like schools, the library, and museums. It took us 140 years to open voting booths to our mothers, sisters, and wives. We still don’t have the pay playing field leveled. All this discrimination because some thought/think others weren’t/aren’t equal citizens.
Singer-songwriter Kris Kristofferson pointed out why in his song “Jesus Was a Capricorn”: “… everybody’s gotta have somebody to look down on/Who they can feel better than at any time they please.” It builds some people up to know that even the government believes they are better than some other group.
Thankfully, we now have laws that prohibit most of this kind of action, whether or not some odd clique still believes in a caste system. Individuals are free to think it and talk about it, but they’re not supposed to be able to do anything about it.
I’m all for full amnesty for Dreamers. They are completely faultless in putting themselves in this position. But, even more compelling, this country let them stay for years. We let their parents stay too. We let them get jobs, go to school, be completely acculturated in U.S. society, and no one took the time to even tell a lot of them. To some, not being a citizen came as a shocking teenage surprise when they tried to get a drivers’ license or sign-up for school or the military. I’m for amnesty for them because the United States has long been contributorally negligent in handling this situation. Much like a landowner allowing an easement to be tacitly overused, our non-action in this matter would render us a significant part of the problem and not able to win a judgment in a court of law.
We, as a country, are not blameless in the creation of this problem, and officially admitting these 800,000 as naturalized citizens tomorrow would change or cost nothing for the rest of us. In fact, it would be a moneymaker.
That said, I’ll settle for a real, voted upon Congressional law that secures the Dreamers in this country and gives them a clear path to citizenship–even over time. See? I’m not that hard to deal with. What I won’t settle for is yet another creation of a second-class citizen group who will have to be satisfied to stand on the outside and look in.
We are better than that and now would be a good time to prove it.