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Frank Sharry: “Their goal is to hold Dreamers’ lives and futures hostage in exchange for a nativist wishlist of radical policies.”

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Why No One Should Take White House Discussions of Immigration Legislation Seriously

In response to the latest round of media coverage of a Trump-led immigration legislative package that attempt to trade protections for Dreamers with sweeping changes to the nation’s existing legal immigration system, the following is a statement from Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice:

Donald Trump cares about one thing: his reelection. And the cornerstone of his reelection – in fact, his entire political persona – has been to beat up, demean and dehumanize immigrants. That is why he has torn kids from the arms of their parents, slammed the door on refugees, and diverted funds from military families to build a costly wall that won’t work. 

In the first year of his presidency, Trump ended DACA. Federal courts blocked him so he expedited Supreme Court consideration of the case in hopes the conservative majority will overturn the lower courts and authorize him to deport Dreamers. 

If Trump and the GOP wanted to help Dreamers, they could start today and pass legislation already passed by the House. Or they could promise to use executive action to protect those with DACA. But that is not their goal. 

Their goal is to hold Dreamers’ lives and futures hostage in exchange for a nativist wishlist of radical policies. According to a former senior DHS official quoted in Jonathan Blitzer’s New Yorker profile of Miller, if the Supreme Court allows Trump to kill DACA, ‘He’ll finally have the leverage over the Democratic Congress that he’s been dying to have this entire time…’ In fact, Miller will be in ‘ecstasy.’

But we’ve seen this movie before, and we know how it ends. When Trump revoked DACA in September 2017, the public outrage was so intense that the President promised to take care of the Dreamers with a good deal. But when four separate good faith bipartisan proposals were put on the table, the White House – with Miller the power behind the throne – torpedoed every one. Democrats were willing to meet Republicans halfway, and the Trump White House and hardliners in the GOP were not. 

So the White House will attempt to set up the blame game, labeling Democrats as unwilling to negotiate to protect Dreamers that Trump’s own actions have made vulnerable once again to deportation. Trump and his campaign are trying to change – ever so slightly – the optics of an administration that has been so cruel and callous with Dreamers’ lives, but don’t want to be held responsible for the consequences of their actions.

The vast majority of the American people appreciate the contributions and shared values of immigrants. They want Dreamers to become citizens. They don’t want Trump’s crude and cruel hostage-taking. They  want commonsense reform, including the legalization of all undocumented immigrant families settled in our communities. Trump, Miller and frontman Jared Kushner don’t.