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Dreams to Nightmares

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Will Protests Be Enough to Avert Nightmares
(Flickr/Harrie van Veen) Protest Against Repeal of DACA

Nearly 800,000 humans’ dreams turned into nightmares after President Donald Trump’s administration announced it was ending DACA.

DACA is the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Under DACA, children of undocumented immigrants were safe from deportation, if they met certain conditions.

President Obama introduced DACA in 2012 after Congress failed to act. Legislators had been trying unsuccessfully to pass a law to protect the innocent children of undocumented immigrants.

Unfortunately, for some right-wing extremists, undocumented immigrants are more heinous than rapists and murderers.  Children of most criminals are not subject to cruel and unusual punishment by the state.

Also, unlike other crimes, there is no statute of limitations on immigration offenses. Consequently, the US government can now punish kids for their parents’ violations years ago.

In a “cowardly” move, Trump kicked the can for action on DACA to Congress. That, of course, raises new nightmares.

Nightmares of Congressional Dysfunction

A few Republicans reacted negatively to the Trump decision to end DACA. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham even revived the bipartisan DREAM bill to protect the children of undocumented immigrants. Thanks to the bill, these children are called “Dreamers.”

Sadly, Congress has never been able to enact DREAM.  Even in the less-partisan House and Senate of the past 16 years, this law could not pass.

In seven months Congress has been unable to muster enough votes to pass bills sought by Republicans.  And this is with Republican majorities in the House and Senate.

The nightmares of Congressional dysfunction through special interests, gerrymandering, and “majority of the majority” principle are ill omens for the Dreamers.

In the meantime, executive hypocrisy about immigration is creating new nightmares.

Nightmares of Executive Hypocrisy

These days, there are two key influencers on Trump’s views on immigration. One is his Attorney General, Jeff Sessions. The other is his senior adviser, Stephen Miller.

Previously, Miller worked for Sessions in the Senate.  The duo share anti-immigrant views. Moreover, both appear to have a selective approach when it comes to executive action on immigration.

For example, Sessions warned Trump that he would not defend DACA in court as he viewed it as unconstitutional. On the other hand, he had no problems in defending the travel ban.

During the travel ban controversy, Miller blustered about executive power on immigration. But apparently when it came to DACA, the executive is powerless.

Such examples of executive hypocrisy mean that dreamers will have more future nightmares.

Nightmares of Vulnerability

In the process of applying for DACA, the Dreamers gave detailed information to the government. There is now the nightmare that the government can go after them using these details.

Beyond that threat, there are nightmares of planning for the future.  How do you work, buy a home, or marry when you don’t know what your status will be in six months?

Nightmares are not just for the dreamers. The country itself will suffer if DACA ends. One estimate puts the cost alone at over $450 billion.

We are already dealing with North Korea, hurricanes, and terrorism. Surely, we do not need new nightmares.