As the altRight goes apoplectic over Donald Trump’s second deal slap at his own party with a startling change of position on DACA, I will admit to wry laughter at the news. Though I am a conservative that finds the whole wall concept a ridiculous and ineffectual waste of resources, the idea that “The Wall,” was, after all, just another infamous Trump bait and switch is comical, and not a little bit sardonic on the president’s part. That it went a long way to winning him the presidency is oddly funny now that it has gone the way of the debt ceiling, replacing Obamacare, and Trump’s self-affirmed ability to be “presidential.” I found it especially funny for those of us who vetted him and warned with a constant hue and cry about the reality and unreliability of the man.
That the Wall is now a sleeper pleases me, as much as it riles up his more, shall we say, sheet-loving followers? That DACA is now a keeper also pleases me. Though DACA has not yet faced a challenge in court, whether it is Constitutional or not is now irrelevant, really. I doubt that Obama’s order would stand up if challenged, but the real challenge is that it has been the system abided by for almost 800,000 ‘dreamers.’ The argument that these are criminals, rapists, and the worst from their parents’ varying countries of origin is a red herring. The numbers of bad actors in this particular segment of American society is a statistical zero of only a few hundred. I have never been for deporting even the broader group of illegal immigrants, much less the dreamers.
How can it be American ideals to punish children for what their parents did in bringing them into the country by hook or crook? These people have grown into young adults who are college students, professionals, business owners, members of our armed services, doctors and lawyers in training — productive Americans in every sense except citizenship, and that only due to accident of parentage. These are the type of immigrants we want in the United States. Whether they spoke English when they arrived in tow, they speak it now as a first language. Their identities and culture are molded by this country, not the country their parents left for the hope that still is America.
Beyond the question of the dreamers, as a nation, we have suffered illegal immigrants to remain here for decades to our great advantage. We cannot now be bogged down in the morass of accusing them as the basis of all our national ills. Many business owners will privately admit that the mass deportation of these folks would devastate their businesses, raise prices, and increase unemployment, as would the US departure from NAFTA.
Beyond the dreamers are these millions who contribute to the American gumbo…and pay taxes. After two or three decades of responsible character, grandmothers and grandfathers who mow American yards, clean American houses, care for American children and so much more are being arrested when they report for their yearly trek to immigration authorities. These are not the real hardcase criminals that no one objects to deporting. To have crossed into America illegally to save the life of one’s child may make an immigrant a lawbreaker, but it does not make him a criminal.
Immigration reform is possible in a compassionate, thoughtful, and American ideological way. America is the Statue of Liberty saying, “Give me your tired, your poor…” And no, they should not have to speak English to get in, but they should not be afforded anything official or governmental in any language other than English. People who come here legally or not know this is an English-speaking country, and should learn it, and struggle to find their own interpreters until they do so. It is part of assimilating into the laws and structure of their new land. One may say that I contradict my own tenet of compassion. No, it is not compassionate to provide crutches for people to remain wards of the state with dead end opportunities due to language barriers. Many of those who ran for president on the Republican side had compassionate, workable reform plans; Trump, however, was not one of them. Even so, the people wanted a king, and there was a man who would be king.
Mr. Trump often declared with certainty what an easy job being president was. It would be like a vacation to him, he would say. Perhaps he thought so, because he had no plans to fix the ills that were the targets of his bombast. He had no experience, discernment, or wisdom, and now knows he cannot bypass our Constitutional requirements as easily as he projected. Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi understand how government works. They jumped on that private meet with Donald Trump and took the “artful dealer” to the cleaners again, just as Schumer did with the debt ceiling deal. The Constitutional federal republic that is the United States is a beautiful, messy thing, and very hard for king-complex types to overcome.
We have all seen the turmoil and contradictions coming from the White House, and, have no assurance that these reversals with DACA and the Wall won’t be re-reversed by an erratic, brutish president. If they hold, I will be energized if I see relatively easy paths to citizenship for the dreamers. For the broader group of illegals, one would expect much harder penalties and requirements for a path to citizenship, not the least of which would be demonstratively good character. I will thrill to see true enforcement at all the borders — like the West Coast which has been the point of some 40% of illegal entry. A “wall” is not part of that enforcement. Appropriate fencing, through which border agents can see, as per their own recommendations, is. Without question, we all must understand that one of a requirements of a nation-state is territorial integrity. Therefore, border integrity is integral to our national economy and security, but integrity in all our dealings is existential.
We had a president who was excoriated for offering just such an approach to immigration reform. George Bush recognized that reform must start at enforcement at the borders and beyond them, understanding that many illegals are unenforced visa overstays. Then, order, compassion, and economics must rule in the dealings with the illegals already here, and with our government’s acquiescence and to the benefit of our populace, I might add. A sort of under the table approach to the illegal question was the rule for decades, both before and after President Reagan’s amnesty. It is simply not right, then, for the United States of America, 20, 30 or 40 years later, after turning our heads to allow illegals to assimilate into our businesses and communities to help to provide for the general good, to come back now and throw them out at the political whimsy of a shyster president who campaigned on, “They must go,” bluster.
Of course, penalties, restitution, and other various requirements like language study, for example, as well as probations for illegal immigrants should and can be organized in a Congressional overhaul of our immigration policy. Such an overhaul can include increased focus on things like mainstreaming and sponsorship, etc, for legal immigrants. However, America must not now attempt to revise her record by broadbrushing, labeling all illegals as the “criminal element,” nor devastate the lives of millions of people after decades of purposed national laxness. It is immoral and indecent.
As for the president, he may come out of this reversal a “winner” for getting a “deal,” and the democrats will make a turn to the right. Such a turn is their only move for survival, as Democrats must recapture the old Blue Dogs of the rust and Bible belts, precisely where most Americans lie politically. Republicans will be at risk if the DNC makes more moves to the right, realizing how fringe its population margins have become. It will leave the GOP looking like they are fulfilling their own stereotype: heartless party of the elite. Trump’s divisiveness and attacks against the Republican Party may or may not be insidiously planned. However, they are full of trouble for its future if he continues with his friends in the AltRight media, to vilify its leaders to broaden his own power.
As some of us have warned, Donald Trump is not to be trusted. He is like the renderings of his many proposed building projects. He accomplishes enough to create an attractive bait; but, then comes the switch. After investors are hooked, a pattern emerges. Those fancy renderings of buildings fail to become steel and glass. The land goes to blight to be sold at sheriff’s auction. The duped are left with the hit, and the rendering goes out with the trash. Mr. Trump’s life record stands in contrast to his rhetoric. Already different stories have emerged from his twitter and White House spokes persons concerning the DACA deal.
How the “deal” will all ultimately play out, is uncertain. Trump’s motives for making the deal to the Democrats benefit are also uncertain. He may have realized he had few realistic options for deportation of dreamers, and that legal remedy was not in his favor. But for now, DACA is a keeper, hopefully with some polishing, and the Wall is a sleeper, hopefully to never be awakened, and, me? I am still chuckling at the thought of it.