The vitriol being spewed over President Trump’s suspension of Obama’s executive fiat to defer deportation of illegal immigrants brought to the United States as children are nothing more than pretentious and pointless political patronizing.
Nevada’s Democratic delegation to Washington was unmatched in its heated hyperbole.
Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto called Trump a racist and a xenophobe, firing off a missive declaring the “decision to end DACA protections for DREAMers is not guided by sound policy, but by xenophobia and myths. DREAMers who benefit from DACA know no other country other than the U.S. Denying them DACA protection unjustly rips away their future, exposes them to job loss, and threatens them with deportation from the only country they have ever known.”
For the acronym deprived, DACA stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, the name given by Obama to an executive order to defer deportations of illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. as children. DREAMers is a derivation of the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act, which has been pending in various forms in Congress since August of 2001 without passage.
When Congress failed to act, Obama took it on his own in June 2012 to do what Congress had not.
Even though Trump gave Congress six months to remedy his rescinding of DACA and pass the DREAM Act, Rep. Jacky Rosen declared it was wrong to invite “these young people to come out of the shadows, raise their hands, and make themselves known, the United States made a promise to those who came here as children. President Trump is now reneging on that promise …”
Rep. Ruben Kihuen, making the obligatory observation that he was once an undocumented immigrant brought here by his parents, said in an email that the decision tramples this country’s values and shatters the hopes and dreams of the 800,000 who have signed up for DACA. He called the decision “heartless and cruel.”
Rep. Dina Titus said, “Ending DACA appeals to xenophobic beliefs and goes against the founding principles of our nation” — ignoring the fact it was Obama who made a promise he had no power to make.
In a statement announcing the DACA decision, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said, “This policy was implemented unilaterally to great controversy and legal concern after Congress rejected legislative proposals to extend similar benefits on numerous occasions to this same group of illegal aliens.
“In other words, the executive branch, through DACA, deliberately sought to achieve what the legislative branch specifically refused to authorize on multiple occasions. Such an open-ended circumvention of immigration laws was an unconstitutional exercise of authority by the Executive Branch.”
In contrast to Nevada’s Democratic delegates, its Republicans reacted by saying it is now time for Congress to do its job.
Sen. Dean Heller issued a statement to the Reno newspaper saying, “While I remain concerned about the way in which DACA came to life, I’ve made clear that I support the program because hard-working individuals who came to this country through no fault of their own as children should not be immediately shown the door.”
Heller noted that he is a cosponsor of the Bridge Act, which provides legal status for so-called DREAMers while Congress works toward a permanent solution to immigration problems.
“Just as I have in the past, I’ll continue to work with my colleagues to reform our broken immigration system and that must start with securing our borders …” Heller’s statement continued.
Rep. Mark Amodei put out a statement noting that he is a sponsor of a bill called Recognizing America’s Children Act, which would provide a way for childhood immigrants to earn legal residency.
“Since I’ve been here, I’ve called on congressional leadership to act on immigration reform. I would always rather be criticized for attempting to move this issue toward a solution than criticized for repeated inaction,” Amodei said in a statement. “Now, Congress has six months to do the job it’s supposed to do according to the Constitution. If we’re unable to do that job, then 800,000 immigrants will be affected.”
Amodei further noted that Congress has not passed any substantive immigration reform since Ronald Reagan was president, three decades ago, adding that if any blame is to be attached to this it is rightfully Congress’.
The Democrats’ rancorous rhetoric does nothing to move toward a compromise and might well jeopardize that goal, especially if they categorically reject border security as a part of the package.
Thomas Mitchell is a longtime Nevada newspaper columnist. You may email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. He also blogs at http://4thst8.wordpress.com/.