DACA is a crusade to help children

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Did President Donald Trump split the baby, as King Solomon proposed in the Bible, with his decision to close the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) program in six months?

With his decision, did he tell his base that he is living up to his promise to end DACA?  Is he manifesting “compassion” and “love” for these DACA kids by leaving them dangling in a political “limbo?”

{mosads}DACA was created by President Barack Obama in 2012 by executive order; I think it was designed to help him win Hispanic votes in his 2012 re-election. It specified that people brought here under the age of 16 illegally, as of a date certain, could apply for deferral from deportation and renewable work permits of two-year duration, if they had no serious crime records, did not leave the country without permission, had a job, paid taxes, attended school or college or served in the U.S. military.


Candidate Trump promised to end what he called unconstitutional DACA on his first day in office. He did not. 

Passing on to Congress six months to legalize the “kids” is both clever and cowardly — simultaneously. Cowardly because his announcement passes the buck without a wholehearted and overwhelming endorsement to Congress.

He’s passing the buck to Congress without a fullback block, leaving it to Congress alone, to congressmen like Iowa’s Steve King who believes  “Ending DACA now gives chance 2 restore Rule of Law. Delaying so R [Republican] leadership can push Amnesty is Republican suicide.”

This contrasts to President George W. Bush’s immigration reform support speeches asking Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform.  Where is Trump’s definitive statement that he will sign a bill codifying DACA the minute Congress sends it to him?

President Bush was his own fullback, blocking as best he could to lead the way for comprehensive immigration reform. President Trump is silent. Does he really love these kids?

If Congress doesn’t make DACA the law within six months, or if President Trump won’t sign a DACA bill, what might happen to the U.S. economy if DACA is completely shut down?

In a 2016 study by the Center for American Progress these predictions were made:

  1. There will be a $433.4 billion decrease in national Gross Domestic Product (GDP) over 10 years
  2. 685,195 DACA work permits will expire and these workers will lose their jobs, costing employers $3.4 billion to hire and train more than 685,000 new employees
  3. Social Security and Medicare taxes collected will drop by $24.6 billion.

Our economy will be adversely affected if DACA kids aren’t protected by Congress. Those facts are clear. Interestingly, despite President Trump’s constant braying about more jobs and a better economy, shutting down DACA will not help the “Trump” economy’s progress.

Of all people, unions agree that DACA’s shutdown will hurt the economy. Richard Trumka, the AFL/CIO president, so said on CNN on Labor Day.

Business leaders, the Roman Catholic Church, hundreds of Evangelical Protestant ministers, immigration reformers, and a majority of Americans also support DACA kids; they want the program made permanent. Recent polling reflects that view.

Contrasting legitimate polling is illegitimate polling by illegitimate groups and observations by the hard-core anti-illegal alien, anti-Mexican lobby led by paranoia-fed ultra-rightists symbolized by the Breitbart press under the direction of former Trump aide Steve Bannon.

Congress now has the DACA ball, with a blocking-fullback president leading the way. In the U.S. Senate, staunch Republicans like Utah’s Orrin hatch, Oklahoma’s James Lankford and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina subscribe to Lankford’s “…we as Americans do not hold children legally accountable for the actions of their parents.” In the House, Florida’s Carlos Curbelo and Illeana Ros-Lehtinen lead the way for a DACA rescue; Ros-Lentinen says that “six months is ample time for us to act.”

Not leaving anything to chance, Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colo.) is circulating a “discharge petition” that, upon reaching a House majority of 218 signatures (of either or both parties), will require a vote on his “bridge” bill that continues to protect the “kids” by legalizing them.

Now is the time for all good men and women to come to the aid of these kids — and the nation, really.

Come on Congress, do your job. These kids did nothing wrong. As two-year-olds cannot form the criminal intent to break a law, now is the time to stand up for innocent kids, to protect and nourish them.

Raoul Lowery Contreras is the author of “The Armenian Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy” and “The Mexican Border: Immigration, War and a Trillion Dollars in Trade.” He previously wrote for the New York Times’ New America News Service.

The views expressed by contributors are their own and are not the views of The Hill.

Tags Barack Obama Donald Trump James Lankford Lindsey Graham
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