We were treated today to the spectacle of Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III invoking the ‘rule of law’ as he declared the government was prepared to deport 800,000 young people, children as young as 10 years old, who have committed no crime, to their parent’s county of origin. To be eligible for DACA a young, undocumented immigrant must currently be in school, or have graduated high school, or be honorably discharged from the military and not have been convicted of a felony or significant misdemeanor. They can’t get federal welfare or student aid. Many have begun careers and are paying taxes.
Six months from now it is difficult to imagine government agents breaking down doors to pull children from their homes, send them to detention camps, and then on to foreign cities. That could be the plan. However, it is possible the youngsters are simply pawns in an attempt by the Trump administration to force concessions from opponents on issues ranging from ending sanctuary protections and creating a deportation force to funding a 2,900 mile concrete wall and rewriting immigration law. All have been suggested as ransom by Republicans in the wake of this decision. I am not sure Donald Trump cares about the details. He wants a win and will use any lies, any brutal leverage to achieve it. The announcement itself was the work of a coward. By not stepping up and speaking for himself, Trump exposed once again his failure to understand or attempt to fulfill the duties of the office.
It is my hope that this decision will bring people peacefully into the streets to reject Trump and his cadre’s nightmare vision of America and to restore the dream of an America where we all work together regardless of color or origin. Democrats in Congress must not bend to extortion. Any concession will only embolden this administration to look for the next vulnerable target – perhaps poor Americans, or older Americans, or Americans who need medical care. We and our representatives must demand a solution which brings these young people out of the shadows and then weaves them into the vibrant diversity that is America.
No ransom. Sanctuary everywhere.