The DACA Hostages


Leonard Zwelling

There are people in the White House who wish to undermine the basic system by which America has become America—through immigration.

Unless you happen to be an American Indian, your ancestors came here from someplace else. For the great majority of our history, most of those places were in Europe—Germany, Ireland, Great Britain, Eastern Europe, Russia, etc. At some other periods in our history there was migration from other places—much of it involuntary from Africa for a few hundred years. But, there were also influxes from the Far East and other parts of Asia. Then, more recently, there was a huge group of immigrants from Latin America that gave birth to the growth of Hispanic culture in the United States. But always they came and although frequently resented, discriminated against, and bullied, they kept coming and we are all the better for it.

Currently, there is a very unique group of immigrants who came to our shores. They are the DACA recipients. Most of them were brought by their parents illegally and granted status to stay in the country by President Obama. Mr. Trump has now declared that their legal status will not be renewable after March 5, 2018 and about 1000 will fall off the DACA rolls every day thereafter as their legality was granted in rolling two-year increments. Those people may be subjected to deportation to countries they don’t know and whose languages they don’t speak for they are fully integrated, English-speaking Americans with jobs, in schools, and in the military. People in the White House want them gone, but they want more as a deal for the DACA recipients to stay.

They want a ridiculous border wall that will deter no one from trying to enter the United States on its southern border.

They want to end families bringing their other family members into the country after they legally get here. The people in the White House call this “chain migration” and they want it stopped even though that was how many of their family members got here. Finally, they want the visa lottery to end.

Basically these are the Trump four pillars along with allowing the DACA people to stay that any bill most encompass if Mr. Trump is to sign it into law. It is a change of an immigration system that is over 50 years old. Much of this is probably driven by a young Trump aide, Stephen Miller, the Duke grad (I am so ashamed), who is a senior policy advisor to the president.

What the White House is doing is basically telling Congress what the makings of a deal are and nothing less will be tolerated. A first pass through the Senate where 60 votes are needed for passage was unsuccessful on February 15.

I understand that the nativists that voted for Mr. Trump did so under the stipulation that he would do something like this. This is what his constituency wants, but it’s a shame. These people, all of whom come from families that immigrated to the U.S. from foreign lands, want to shut the door behind them.

Isn’t it curious that now, the major countries from which people come to the U.S. are in Africa, Asia or Latin America and are responsible for the “browning” of the country. These guys like Miller are trying to reverse that and are holding hundreds of thousands of DACA people hostage to do it. They are saying no DACA relief unless we get everything else we want.

Don’t be fooled. The main issue for these people in the White House is not DACA at all. It’s the undermining of everything the Statue of Liberty stands for. But we shouldn’t stand for it. The Wall is a joke and money poorly spent. Chain migration keeps families together. As for the lottery, it doesn’t make sense and a more merit-based system does, but let’s see them propose that.

This is as much of an attack on America and its core values as Trump’s handling of Charlottesville was. This really needs to stop, before it’s too late and we all wonder where America went.

Leonard Zwelling