DACA Dreamers held hostage by Trump
The nearly 800,000 recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program are still waiting to see what will happen to them in the U.S.
Powerful enough to shut down the U.S. government two weeks ago, this time the DACA recipients, many of whom are from the Philippines, didn’t quite have the leverage they thought.
The U.S. Congress passed a spending bill early Friday morning without even a second thought about saving DACA.
But the government did shut down briefly for nearly nine hours overnight. And the issue over DACA wasn’t even a trigger. Senators just ignored them. Immigration? DACA? That’s a football they kicked down the road.
The issue over the shutdown was hypocrisy. Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) took a stand to call out his colleagues about a bipartisan bill that added more than $1 trillion dollars to the nation’s debt.
“Washington’s completely broken, we are spending money like it’s out of control,” said Paul from the floor. “I ran for office because I was critical of Pres. Obama’s trillion dollar deficits. Now we have Republicans along with Democrats offering trillion dollar deficits…If you were against Pres. Obama’s deficits and now you’re for Republican deficits isn’t that the very definition of hypocrisy?”
But it’s a sure sign the day of politicos who peddle a “small government, tight wad conservative” philosophy has waned.
A responsive government has to spend money for its people. In this budget deal, there was a bipartisan push-pull that traded military spending for some domestic spending like children’s health insurance.
Everyone was happy enough. Except Paul.
But look at his hypocrisy. He voted a month ago for a big tax cut bill which adds … a $1 trillion to the deficit.
What’s a trillion dollars among friends?
So much for principled stands.
The lesson for Filipino pols? If Philippine democracy is loosely based on an American model, dump the shutdown idea. Doesn’t work.
Paul shut it down while people were sleeping. Benign? It only exposed how out of touch politicians are.
People will tolerate government spending if done effectively. They want a responsive government and will fund it with public money (taxes), if it is efficient and effective.
The pols who understood that got a bipartisan budget deal done. Gridlock ended.
Now watch any bipartisan feelings blow up over immigration.
More than DACA and the Dreamers
That was the = biggest disappointment. That the Democrats were not able to leverage DACA and the possible shutdown to bring about any movement on outstanding immigration issues.
That fight begins Monday, and that’s where the ugliness begins.
The hope was to get a “clean” DACA bill, one that would be separate from any comprehensive plan.
They could’ve and should’ve dealt with that.
But Trump partisans want to use DACA and its recipients known as DREAMERS to get what they want, border security, mostly in the form of a big wall along the Mexican border worth $25 billion.
So, they dangle that pathway to citizenship, but in return want a lot more in return.
So far, the House has one bipartisan bill that has been in mothballs for six years. The Congress was so divided in general, that one party blocked it from being voted on. An updated proposal in the house has a new Senate companion but has just a fraction of $25 billion toward border security.
Another problem is Trump’s obsession with so-called chain migration.
Trump, who wants to see a merit-based system, is totally anti-family. Figures considering he’s a guy with three ex-wives, a prostitute he paid off to stay quiet, as well as harassment cases in the double-digits who will avow that he is “pussy-grabber-in-chief.”
The family guy who recently spoke at a national prayer breakfast draws the line on family immigration this way. He wants to keep the family petitions limited to spouses and minor children. Immediate family.
But your parents? Adult children? Siblings? No more.
The National Visa Center’s report put that at more than 333,000 Filipinos waiting to rejoin families here, a number second only to Mexico’s.
Trump must think Filipinos are linked to MS13, the international gang he likes to use to color all immigrants as criminals? It’s illogical, but that’s Trump-think.
Either way, it’s a hardline.
Then there’s the visa lottery which Trump hates. I guess he thinks America, the unlucky, doesn’t win that bet.
All of that is a big checklist, so there’ s little wonder no one thinks the political atmosphere will be collegial when immigration is discussed in earnest in an attempt to beat that Trump imposed deadline of March 5.
If they don’t get there, the DACA recipients will have to start thinking about what to do with their lives once the protections from the program end.
Leave their homes and go back to where they haven’t been in decades?
More than 100 DACA dreamers every day lose that benefit and are subject to deportation.
Unless there’s a deal, that’s when things will get really ugly.
Emil Guillermo, an award-winning journalist and commentator, is an Inquirer.net columnist based in North America. Follow him at https://www.twitter.com/emilamok . Listen to his podcasts at https://directory.libsyn.com/shows/view/id/emilamokstakeout