Not even Trump's wall will be able to stop the backlash over DACA
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The Trump administration, in one of the most demonstrably cruel, calculating and malicious decisions we have seen in recent history, has rescinded protections from deportations for children who were brought to this country by their parents without proper documentation.

In one heartless tweet, followed by a cowardly move to hide behind his attorney general whom Trump had announce the decision, Trump declared DACA was over and that there would be a six-month delay so that Congress could “do their job,” implying that it is up to Congress to give these kids permanent legislative protection.

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Trump was not only cold and cowardly today, his action is specious, his reasoning disingenuous, and the White House spin surrounding it offends the intelligence of American voters. This day will have vast and long-term political repercussions for this White House and for the Republican Party that has supported this move.

 

President Obama signed the executive order known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) in 2012, in the wake of Republican inaction on comprehensive immigration reform, shielding these young people from deportation to a country they do not know and to which many have no family connection.

While deeply disappointing and heartbreaking for these kids and their families who will now live in uncertainty, limbo and fear, we should not be surprised by this decision from this president, who has proven to be the most anti-immigrant, anti-Hispanic president our country has had.

What else should we expect from a president who launched his presidential campaign by calling Mexicans rapists and criminals?

What else should we expect from a president who promises to build a physical wall between the United States and Mexico, one of our most important trading partners and allies, simply as political bait for his anti-immigrant base?

What else should we expect from this president who insults a U.S.-born judge by declaring he could not be objective in his job simply because of his Mexican heritage?

What else should we expect from a president who conjures up pernicious images of immigrants in this country, depicting them as killers, to inflame his supporters and excite the darkest devils of their psyche?

After all, this is a president who equates white-supremacist, neo-Nazi, racist, xenophobic, violent protesters with those who come out in support of civil rights, social justice and equality for all.

Amigos, this is the man who was voted into the Oval Office by scapegoating immigrants, accusing our first African American president of being born in Kenya, and hiring well-known white nationalists as his closest advisors.

Let’s be very clear. The president did not “wrestle” with this decision. He has talked about ending DACA many times during his campaign. Sure, he sent mixed signals by saying he wanted to treat this issue and these kids with “great heart” but we all knew where he stood.

If he truly “wrestled” with this, he simply would have shown leadership, kept DACA in place and worked with Republicans and Democrats to codify protections for Dreamers into law. After all, wasn’t this the president who boasted that only he could fix our nation’s problems?

Some fix. More like a dodge.

These Dreamer kids are some of the best this country has to offer. They work hard, have gone through background checks; many hold down two or three jobs to help make their families’ ends meet. Collectively, they contribute more than $460 billion to our economy in a decade. Many are summa cum laude graduates, or have fought, bled and died in our military for the exact same American values this president trampled on today so heartlessly.

One Dreamer even lost his life while volunteering to save others during Hurricane Harvey.

And this is how we repay them? For shame! We are better than this — though the president is not.

Sadly, what Trump doesn’t understand is that this is not a partisan issue. This is a values issue.

Most Americans agree that Dreamers should be allowed to stay. A majority also believes they should be given a pathway to citizenship. Even majorities of Republicans, including three-fourths of Trump voters, believe Dreamers should be allowed to stay legally in the only country they know.

Trump is doing this to placate the very narrow and narrow-minded anti-immigrant nationalist core of his base because he is so weak otherwise. It is as if he has given up trying to be president of the United States of America, and is seeking to preside over an even more divided America. That may keep him popular among his dwindling base, but it is no way to win re-election or to give your party the edge in the upcoming midterm elections.

There is a reason why so many Republicans have spoken out in defense of DACA and against the president’s draconian decision. Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanDemocrats hit Scalia over LGBTQ rights Three-way clash set to dominate Democratic debate Krystal Ball touts Sanders odds in Texas MORE said last Friday he did not think it was something the president should do.

Why are they speaking out now?

Because Republicans know two things: that it will be very difficult for Congress to pass something Trump will sign, and that their party is in a perilous place if they and their president are the ones who callously threw 800,000 of our brightest students, soldiers, young entrepreneurs, community advocates and hard-working kids who are American — in every way that matters — under the bus.

They also know 800,000 Latinos turn 18 every year. They realize Trump is at record-low disapproval among all Americans, and especially Latinos. Granted, the Latino vote was not enough to keep Trump from the White House in 2016. But the wave he is creating among not just Latinos, but among Americans who feel this president is a cancer on our American values, will be one that will flood the voting booths in 2018 and 2020 to get him and Republicans who stood with him out of office.

It will be a wave not even Trump’s wall will be able to stop.

Dreamers, America is with you. We will keep dreaming and fighting by your side. Si Se Puede!

Maria Cardona is a principal at the Dewey Square Group, a Democratic strategist and a CNN/CNN Español political commentator.


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