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immigration

DACA Youths Betrayed, and With So Many Lies

In a singularly cruel act that so befits this cold-hearted man, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the end of DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, giving some 800,000 young people notice that they must leave the country beginning six months from now unless Congress passes a law allowing them to stay.

Speaking at the Justice Department, Sessions made the announcement, Breakthrough Broken: Oct 11: This update space earlier reported that the President had reached a deal with Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, minority leaders of the Senate and House respectively, whereby the DACA youth would stay in return for tightened border security — but not the wall, not yet.
Now Trump has gone back on his word, under the howls of the anti-immigrant bigots of his base and, we'll assume, Stephen Miller, dreaming up so many conditions as to make any deal impossible. So the 800,000 are now hostage to these White House sociopaths; there is not other word for them.
    

fulfilling his cherished anti-immigrant dream by destroying that of the "dreamers", so called for the Dream Act, the bill that never made it through Congress that would have given the 800,000 mostly young people the right to stay in the U.S. The president ducked making the announcement, handing it off to Sessions, who took on the job with relish and righteousness. His remarks betrayed a mind so fixated on his rigid interpretation of law that it bore no relevance to the 800,000:

"The nation must set and enforce a limit on how many immigrants we admit each year and that means all cannot be accepted...We cannot admit everyone who would like to come here. It's just that simple.”

Mr. Sessions, the so-called "dreamers" are not applying to be admitted. They're here. And they've been here for 10 years or more. The program requires its applicants to have maintained continuous residency in the U.S. since 2007. Does Sessions prefer not to know that?

The lies continued. The White House and the attorney general tried to cover up the shameful cruelty of their action by cloaking it in falsehoods. In his DACA announcement, Sessions left the public to think that the dreamers are dangerous and steeped in crime:

"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.

Sessions labeled the program that President Obama instituted as "unilateral executive amnesty". Trump called it an "amnesty-first approach". Both catered to the ignorance of Trump's hard-line, white-male base. The lie is that DACA is not amnesty, which Sessions knows from merely unpacking the "Deferred Action" of the DACA acronym. It does not grant amnesty nor any legal status; it only postpones deportation in the hopes that a humane alternative can be worked out.

It's a compound lie. Amnesty pertains to a defined class of people; DACA recipients have to apply individually for their deferral. The third and biggest point is that amnesty means forgiveness for some past offense. What was the offense of children brought here by their parents when they were, on average according to a University of California San Diego study, 6-and-a- half years old?

There were more lies in the same sentence. Sessions went on that the "executive amnesty"

"...contributed to a surge of minors at the southern border that yielded terrible humanitarian consequences".

That surge of unaccompanied minors, fleeing from the murderous countries of Central America, began before Obama started DACA. And while those minors could seek asylum, they were not eligible for DACA because of the continuous residency since 2007 requirement.

That average age of arrival tells us that Trump will send the 800,000 back to survive in countries they mostly never knew, where many of them will not even speak the language. Yet he finds justification in protecting “the millions of Americans victimized by this unfair system”, emphasis added to his outlandish choice of a word. How do 800,000 displace millions?

In defense of a policy denounced as immoral, Sessions retorted, "There is nothing compassionate about the failure to enforce immigration laws”, by which he seems to believe he is bestowing great benefit on native Americans by ruining the lives of immigrants. In his thinking the program had “denied jobs to hundreds of thousands of Americans by allowing those same illegal aliens to take those jobs”. There is no proof of that. The inconvenient fact is that hundreds of thousands of jobs in the U.S. go wanting because there aren't Americans with the skills to fill them. Claiming that the dreamers have taken away those jobs is demagoguery.

not my job

"It is now time for Congress to act!", is how Trump ended his statement, giving them six months to pass a law allowing the dreamers to stay on. He and Sessions have passed Congress the hot potato. “The president wants to see responsible immigration reform, and he wants that to be part of it”, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee-Sanders said, “Something needs to be done. It’s Congress’s job to do that". Pushing the problem away from the White House, she repeated that several times.

That sends the matter into the mosh pit of 535 members of Congress . That across 16 years they couldn't muster the votes in repeated attempts to pass the Dream Act — with Jeff Sessions leading the opposition in 2010 — is why President Obama stepped in five years ago. Exasperated by the feckless Congress, he signed an executive order that allowed immigrants brought here as children to apply to stay in two-year renewable increments to pursue their education, to work and pay taxes, to serve in the military. Much as Trump impulsively banned transgenders from serving in the military, absent any investigation that would have told him there are several thousand transgenders who will be forced out of the military, Trump now will senselessly deport several thousand DACA deferees who are serving their country. Close to a thousand are enrolled in the Pentagon's MAVNI program (Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest) because they have special skills.

Having made it someone else's problem, Trump said "I think it's going to work out very well and long term it's going to be the right solution". Ms Sanders said Mr. Trump would sign legislation to “fix” the DACA program, provided it included broader immigration overhaul to strengthen the border. What does that say? That Trump will hostage 800,000 lives to get the money for his wall?

Sessions is probably confident Congress will fail and he will have spared America of the infestation of the 800,000. Trump will tell us it is Congress that is heartless, not him for having created the problem.

our over-interpreted constitution

What Obama did was an “unconstitutional exercise of authority by the executive branch", said Sessions. Ms Sanders echoed this on behalf of the president, saying it was both “unconstitutional” and “in clear violation of federal law”. Where in the Constitution is the violation found?

Presidents have long been given discretionary powers in denying entry to the U.S. But Sessions is making up his own constitution about Obama, as the subject of immigration is entirely absent from the real Constitution. Section 8 of Article I gives Congress the right "To establish an [sic] uniform Rule of Naturalization". That's all they wrote. The Constitution wades no further into these waters.

But Texas federal judge Andrew Hanen, who had "developed a reputation as an outspoken judicial critic of the Obama administration's immigration policies", said The Los Angeles Times, halted further expansion of DACA and its parental counterpart, DAPA. On appeal, the 5th circuit appeals court in New Orleans went along, blocking expansion — but not on constitutional grounds. In June 2016, the Supreme Court split 4-to-4, deadlocked because of the Senate's year-long Republican refusal to consider Merrick Garland as the ninth justice. That left Obama’s 2012 executive order standing.

If the high court returns to the case, now that ultra-right Neil Gorsuch (and fifth Catholic) is on the bench, we might see a compassionate verdict…no, forget that. Political ideology tops the teachings of religion. But they will need a hairball of logic to base their ruling on the Constitution.

of two minds

Trump is something of a wild card. He seems genuinely troubled by having to deport almost a million young. Because they had to apply for deferral, these people are known to the government. They are students, they are in college, they have jobs, they have started businesses. The earliest arrivals are as old as 36, which means many are married, and with children. So Trump and Sessions will be splitting families with their ill-considered action, deporting parents who will take with them their American citizen children who were born here.

In February, the president said,

"DACA Is a very very difficult subject for me….because you have these incredible kids… you have some absolutely incredible kids...we have to deal with DACA with heart. It's a very difficult thing for me, because I love these kids".

And he now says much the same:

"I have a great heart for the folks we're talking about, a great love for them. And people think in terms of children, but they're really young adults. I have a love for these people and hopefully now Congress will be able to help them and do it properly".

And yet, he said this after sentencing 800,000 people to likely deportation, so is he just taking steps to exonerate himself from whatever the outcome.

Possibly coming to the realization of what a humanitarian and poltical disaster deportation will be — Politico reports that 76% of Americans want to allow the dreamers to stay versus 15% who do not — he seemed to immediately reverse field from making it Congress' problem, with a tweet that baffled everyone:


Perhaps in reconsidering he might learn that the DACA applicants were told that they could trust government, that they would be safe coming out of the shadows to reveal their identity and whereabouts in order to register. How dishonorable that the government is using that same information to find and betray them.

Of the estimated 11.3 million undocumented immigrants in the United States, people who Trump thinks are "bringing crime" and "they’re rapists" and only "some, I assume, are good people”, Trump chose to give the boot to the best of them, given that the 800,000 applied to stay here to strive, and are the most American of them all, given the percentage of their lives spent here. Ending DACA is brutally inhumane. It is also clearly right up there with the stupidest and most muddled of this administration's actions.

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