Earlier today, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the end of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, also known as DACA, thus successfully averting the very real risk that our republic could descend into anarchy at any moment. Who knew that people who have grown up in the United States, never knowing any other home, posed such a grave danger to democracy?
Sessions cited the many unacceptable conditions created by these so-called Dreamers, children brought to the United States as minors, some as infants, some of whom are now in their mid-30s and who have built their lives in this country. Some of them have children of their own who are United States citizens, own homes, are productive and valued employees, and many of whom have obtained college degrees.
Nevertheless, Sessions pointed out that a society that allows them to stay would become a society “afflicted by corruption, poverty, and human suffering.” He went on to observe that “we cannot admit everyone who would like to come here,” ignoring the fact that these people are already here. To kick them out, he said, “means we are properly enforcing our laws as Congress has passed them.”
As an aside, it seems to me that Congress also passed laws prohibiting bank executives from looting their depositors’ accounts for their own financial gain, but I can’t recall any of those laws being enforced during the financial crisis. Not one single person went to prison.
“We are a people of compassion and we are a people of law. But there is nothing compassionate about the failure to enforce immigration laws.
“Enforcing the law saves lives, protects communities and taxpayers, and prevents human suffering. Failure to enforce the laws in the past has put our nation at risk of crime, violence and even terrorism.
“The compassionate thing is to end the lawlessness, enforce our laws, and, if Congress chooses to make changes to those laws, to do so through the process set forth by our Founders in a way that advances the interest of the nation.”
I guess kicking these people out of the country, ripping them away from their families and jobs, deporting them to a country that is no more home to them than it is to someone born in Connecticut or Virginia or Nebraska, is akin to a parent spanking a child and explaining, “I’m doing this for your own good.”
It got me thinking about what it really means to be an American. Is the definition of being an American dependent on having the right paperwork? Does love of country count for anything? Does proudly calling yourself an American matter? What about being a productive member of society?
This morning in an interview, Kris Kobach, who heads Trump’s voter fraud council — another “solution” in search of a problem — said that the Dreamers have to go back to their country of origin and get in line and come back “the right way.”
I don’t know about you, but speaking as someone who lived in a dozen different places before I turned 12, I don’t recall having any control whatsoever on where my parents chose to take me. Requiring the Dreamers to “go back and get in line” would be like requiring me to go back to the 2nd grade and finish out the school year, something I was unable to do because my parents pulled me out of school and moved us to a different town. Thereafter I would be required to “get in line” to complete my 12 years of school “the right away.” That would make a lot of sense, wouldn’t it?
So, the end of DACA means parents will be forced by the United States Government to abandon their families. How many of those families will end up on public assistance? How many homes will be foreclosed on? It means that the taxpayer-funded education these Dreamers got, something that greatly concerns Kobach, will go to Mexico and become part of their economy instead of ours. Employers will be left with positions to fill and communities will be left without first responders.
Sessions is flat-out wrong about the imperative to enforce the rule of law without regard to a person’s circumstances, and he knows better. Not everyone who breaks the law is arrested and not everyone who is arrested is prosecuted. Sessions’ disingenuous claim that by ripping families apart and sending Dreamers to a country they have never known or have little memory of, he is demonstrating “compassion” would be laughable if it wasn’t so devastating to so many.
So, what do you think? What does it mean to be an American?