Policies in this administration move at the speed of the internet. It becomes difficult to keep up with all the foolishness that is going on. I do try to comment on all the important issues that come up without addressing every early morning tweet that comes down the pike. DACA is one of those issues that seems to demand a discussion. DACA stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. We are not going to do anything while we wait and try to get Congress to come up with some reasonable immigration policy that will allow you to have a real status. We know that your parents brought you here when you were a child, and you had no control over it. You did not act criminally. The US is the only home that you know. You may not even speak the language of your home country. So, we aren’t sure what to do. DACA leaves you in limbo, lets you live your life until we have something better for you. Oops, nothing better came. Your neighbors elected a president less sympathetic to your concerns. So now what? How do we address this problem in a way that is just and kind?
The current state of affairs leaves the issue with Congress to arrive at a legislated solution that the President has said he will sign. Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, has said that he will not defend DACA from any legal challenges. President Trump then stated that he would suspend DACA in six months if Congress failed to pass a plan to continue DACA in that time. This threat does a couple of things. First, it takes responsibility for the program away from the President. He complained about DACA during the campaign. He has since his election found that the program is popular and its members are sympathetic. One cannot argue that they have broken the law to get here. They were children under the age of 16 when they came to the US, often without a choice or full knowledge of what was even going on. That fact alone makes the whole argument that they are crooks kind of difficult to make. Most of them have been successful in some way: attended college, gotten married, started families, or served in the military. These young people have contributed to society and culture in important ways. So where is the justification for discontinuing the program?
Here is a good place to listen to opponents of the DACA program and to hear what they have to say personally. Then look for ways to flip the conversation. You can do this by asking what people think should be done for these young people. Where should they be sent? Should they receive any consideration for their situation? What do they think Congress should do? I have not met many opponents to DACA in my circle, to be honest. The first issue is that those who feel strongly in opposition to DACA are extremists. Moderates in favor of stricter enforcement of immigration regulation recognize the sense of a DACA program. In fact, polls are finding that conservatives tend to be divided on DACA. Only among Trump’s strongest supporters does his decision to discontinue DACA find real support. Both Republicans in general and Trump supporters believe that ending DACA is the right thing to do. Numbers vary from 49 to 83 percent, depending on the survey you are looking at. What is even less clear is exactly what they want to do about the program. Many of them may have seen the creation of the program as an executive overreach. They would support congressional program that allowed a path to legalization or citizenship. They do not see immigration as core to the reality of their lives anyway, so their reaction and commitment to DACA issues are limited. To DACA participants, DACA is important. It is essential to their lives. DACA intimately impacts participants’ friends and families. There are also many individuals that see how all these policies work together to create a better community for everyone. Figuring out how to move forward from here is a problem because the Republican party holds Congress and the Presidency. When you have someone else to blame life is easier. Congress can block immigration reform without consequence. They can act in support of their corporate supporters and know that the President will veto whatever you pass. They will not have to face their constituents with the consequences of their policies.
Now Trump passed the DACA on to Congress. He met with Democratic leaders in the House and Senate. Fox news Republicans are livid that he has done this. They are screaming about the betrayal. Now is a time to flip the conversation. What do your conservative friends think should happen to these young people?
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