White House Chooses to Hold Dreamers Hostage as DACA Politics Ramp Up
Today, the Supreme Court again delayed announcing its decision on the pending DACA case. Yet several developments relevant to DACA are nonetheless in the news:
- By 85-13% margin, Americans support Dreamers. A new CBS News poll finds that 85% of Americans – including 73% of Republican respondents – support Dreamers staying in this country. The question asked, “do you favor or oppose allowing young immigrants who were brought to the US illegally as children to remain in the country if they meet certain requirements such as going to school or joining the military, and not having a criminal record?” By a 85-13% margin, the public overwhelmingly backs Dreamers, including 95% of Democrats, 84% of Independents, and 73% of Republicans.The new poll underscores what other recent polls have found – huge majorities of Americans, across party and ideology, support DACA and Dreamers. And for good reason – it’s been a life-changing program for more than 800,000 people, including more than 200,000 DACA recipients who are working in designated essential “frontline” occupations during the pandemic, and it has strengthened the country.
- White House floats a laughable trial balloon on post-SCOTUS DACA legislative deal – reminders why it’s about political blame-shifting and not to be taken seriously. The White House has been leaking that if the Supreme Court does their bidding and allows the President to end DACA, the White House will put forward a legislative package that will include some protections for Dreamers in exchange for a host of the administration’s preferred immigration policies – including ending legal immigration as we know it. But this shouldn’t be taken as a serious legislative offer – even in the Politico piece floating the possibility, reporter Anita Kumar underscores that it’s mostly about blame-shifting politics. Kumar notes that, “several Trump aides are pushing the president to offer Democrats a deal. If they refuse, the aides believe they can put the onus on Democrats for being unwilling to come to the table. They think the move could help Trump appeal to Hispanics in the election…”The idea doesn’t even pass the laugh test. Remember that in 2017, Trump ended DACA. In 2018, Trump, with the complicity of Republican senators, torpedoed every bipartisan proposal to resolve DACA. In 2019, Trump moved for expedited consideration by the Supreme Court in its effort to end DACA. And in 2020, the Trump administration has been using the cover of the pandemic to ramp up its nativist agenda while running for re-election by leaning in hard to xenophobia. Now we’re supposed to believe they’re good faith actors in trying to carve out a legislative solution for Dreamers? C’mon.
According to Pili Tobar, Deputy Director of America’s Voice:
Even in these divided times, Americans are nearly unanimous that Dreamers deserve our support and status that officially recognizes them for the Americans they already are. So Trump and Republicans, complicit in the push to end DACA, are on the wrong side of what’s right and what’s popular. They are facing a vicious political backlash if the Supreme Court does their bidding and allows the President to end DACA.
At any time, the White House and Justice Department could have unilaterally withdrawn the Supreme Court case – particularly since tens of thousands of DACA recipients are serving on the front lines as “essential” workers during the pandemic. The “trial balloons” floated by Jared Kushner and his cronies reveal the ongoing cynicism of the Trump agenda: they aren’t playing for a deal; they are playing cynical election-year politics.
So their desperate spin and efforts to save face and shift blame should be viewed from that context – it’s transparent and laughable and at direct odds with their record over the past four years.
Let’s hope for all of our sakes, that Chief Justice Roberts and the rest of the Supreme Court recognize that issuing a negative ruling on DACA at this moment is the last thing our divided and grieving nation in crisis needs. In the interim, don’t take seriously any White House leaks that the same administration that imperiled Dreamers’ futures will be part of any real solutions. To this White House, Dreamers are political hostages, not real people living as part of families in our cities and towns.