Monday, September 11, 2017
YOU’D think that the president himself was driving around a paddy wagon, picking up kids and shipping them south. From what we’ve seen online and from certain pro-Trump quarters, maybe even some of the president’s supporters think as much, too.
What this was, was a punt.
President Trump’s people, specifically Attorney General Jeff Sessions, decided that the previous administration overstepped its bounds by citing “prosecutorial discretion” in getting around federal immigration laws. The attorney general said it was his opinion that his people would be unable to defend the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program in court. And the president has said Congress must act, because this topic comes under its jurisdiction.
Not that the president can order Congress to do anything—it is a separate, and equal, branch of government—but the president’s tweets do give clues to his thinking on occasion. Take this one from Tuesday night: “Congress now has 6 months to legalize DACA (something the Obama Administration was unable to do). If they can’t I will revisit this issue!”
And that left some crying in the streets?
Then, a few days later, the president tweeted that the Dreamers had nothing to worry about. He tweeted that one out, according to the papers, at the urging of the Democrats in Congress. Which says a lot.
For those, such as the young Dreamers, who are worried the government is going to knock on their door tonight, let’s remember that this president is a populist, and he’ll do what he thinks is popular. He likes to “win,” however he defines it. He doesn’t have an inner political compass or a set of hard principles developed over a lifetime. He likes ratings and good poll numbers.
The latest numbers on immigration and deportation come from the Politico/Morning Consult poll, which shows public opinion on the side of the Dreamers.
A solid majority of voters, some 58 percent, think those young people brought here as young children should be able to become citizens after meeting certain requirements. Another 18 percent think they should at least be able to stay here as legal residents.
Only 15 percent of Americans, according to this poll, think Dreamers should be deported. That’s not a number this president is likely to be impressed with.
However, here are some numbers that he might notice:
The poll says 84 percent of Democrats, 69 percent of Republicans and 74 percent of independents think these young people should stay here. (Seven in 10 Republicans!) After all, this is the only country the Dreamers have ever known. Ship them back to where they were born? Why not send them to Mars instead?
This poll should hearten those who believe in truth, justice and the American way. Immigration to this country—and fighting about it—has been the American way since Ben Franklin was complaining about all the Germans coming to these shores in the 18th century. Threatening to pull up the ladder after you’re safely aboard has a long history in this country. In fact, call it an American tradition.
LEST WE forget, those who were brought here as children broke no laws. They had little to say in the matter. What does a toddler know about borders?
Maybe the only strange thing about the latest poll is that even 15 percent of Americans believe that the United States—the land of opportunity!—should shun these young people and force them to pay for the sins of their parents. But some folks just like to take their fears out on the innocent. They might have forgotten that their parents or grandparents were immigrants, too. Happily, these types—the 15 percenters—are a dwindling minority.
Why not give these American kids a shot at the American dream? To put it plain: Now that you’re here, kid, we’d like you to make a bundle someday—and employ a few thousand of the rest of us and pay your share of taxes while you’re doing it. When you have your own kids, we hope you can afford to send them to college, too. Onward and upward! Hey, it’s America. Call them the new Pilgrims.
Fortunately, according to the polls, fewer and fewer Americans think otherwise these days. Thank you, land of the free. And home of the increasingly brave.
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