Intolerable cruelty


A child is brought to the US by their illegal immigrant parents; they grow up knowing nothing but America, go to American schools, have American friends, are fundamentally American. And then Donald Trump decides that, because of their parentage, they are going to be thrown out of the country and sent to a different country that they might not know anything about. He wants to repeal the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which doesn’t go far enough in accommodating these kids. I think the DREAM Act, which would have allowed undocumented immigrants to earn citizenship with college attendance or military service, would be an excellent idea — we ought to recognize that there are people living here, who want to live here, who want to be part of this country, and that we ought to be welcoming them.

It is intolerably cruel to deny these young people anything short of full acceptance. They have committed no crime, yet Trump wants to make them suffer.

It is un-American to base people’s role in life on their ancestry — or at least, it is an overt rejection of the myth of American equality and opportunity. At least, the ideal that this was a place where you could advance yourself by studying and working hard, even if imaginary, was part of what we told ourselves made America great. The Republicans would rather your position in society was determined by inheritance, I guess.

There are a few moderate Republicans who see this, but far too many are as heartless as Trump. This anti-immigrant attitude that is sweeping through voters is chilling and horrible, too: our country is supporting an idea that the Nazis would have promoted as a matter of course.

These monsters must go. It’s not just an arbitrary political decision, it’s becoming a matter of defining the basic humanity of the American people…and the current regime is making all the wrong decisions.

Comments

  1. says

    What went through my head was “Jesus, of course the troll in the White House did this.” What followed was “Service guarantees citizenship! …would you like to know more?”

  2. Dunc says

    I’m not sure that I’d call offering citizenship as an incentive encourage disadvantaged people in an awkard legal limbo to participate in America’s imperial wars and their associated human rights abuses “an excellent idea”… In fact, I’d call it “fucked up on many levels”.

  3. says

    For some reason, I like the idea of earning citizenship with education — although I’d add that vocational training ought to qualify you, too.

    And right now I’d rather fill the military ranks with ambitious immigrants than fashy young white men, so there’s that, too.

  4. Danny Husar says

    It is cruel. The silver-lining is that this may spur Congress into codifying DACA into law so that it isn’t based on the whims of the current administration. There’s reasonable hope that that may happen, even with Republicans controlling Congress.

    >A child is brought to the US by their illegal immigrant parents; they grow up knowing nothing but America, go to American schools, have American friends, are fundamentally American.

    Let’s not forget that America was placed in the difficult situation to do right by these kids because of the parents. There has to be some acknowledgement of responsibility on their parents to foist on their kids a life where they may grow in a country that they may ultimately be deported from. It’s not fair to just say Republicans are evil.

    >It is un-American to base people’s role in life on their ancestry

    But there are 7 billion on this planet – you need to have some sort of immigration policy. An immigration policy that states “If you can just get to American soil anyway you you’re in” is not reasonable.

  5. says

    “The Republicans would rather your position in society was determined by inheritance” Perhaps truer words have never been spoken of the GOP.

  6. Snarki, child of Loki says

    “There has to be some acknowledgement of responsibility on their parents to foist on their kids a life where they may grow in a country that they may ultimately be deported from. It’s not fair to just say Republicans are evil.”

    Those Republican/Trumpers should self-deport and submit a proper immigration application in Navaho before being allowed back in. Maybe.

  7. mykroft says

    Based on discussions with my conservative coworkers, their reasoning seems to be that they are taking the reward out of the system. If people can cross the border illegally, their kids have a future in America. If the government gives amnesty to the undocumented and then says no more, people will still come and wait for the next call for amnesty. Same reason I hear for resistance to welfare, food stamps, etc. Why should people work when they get something for free? They see the system as rewarding bad behavior.

    The sad thing is that the people saying this are not stupid; I know from working with them. Bad as it is this is their world view, and I haven’t had much luck in changing it. Dismissing them as stupid or cruel only hardens their position. As for President Rump, he is stupid in so many ways, but he can read a crowd and this is what he hears and broadcasts back.

  8. specialffrog says

    @Danny Husar: does there have to be an acknowledgement of the role the US has played in creating the economic and political circumstances that led to large numbers of people needing to leave South and Central America?

  9. Danny Husar says

    @8 I don’t understand that perspective. Should American immigration policy be based on penance over perceived historical wrongs against specific Latin-American countries? It’s not unreasonable and Congress can certainly enact that policy into law. But that’s not the case today. There is an immigration law, that was broken by some people with young kids and now America is trying to deal with that.

  10. antigone10 says

    Danny Husur-

    There may be 7 billion people on the earth, but all 7 billion of those people don’t want to live here. So that hyperbole isn’t helpful.
    I don’t know anyone who is advocating for a immigration policy of “olly olly oxen free” but now I am curious what your objections to it is. I know why my reasons why we need to have a stated and enforced immigration policy, but it surely doesn’t rest on “people need to follow the rules because rules”.

    And it isn’t “penance” to include the fact that we like to fuck-around with other countries sovereignty in our immigration policy, it’s justice. America isn’t being penalized by having immigration. That isn’t a punishment to us. If we had done nothing whatsoever to hurt other people’s countries we should still have a more open immigration policy to help people fleeing from violence, starvation and poverty because you don’t leave people to die when you have the ability to help. But the fact that we are fairly directly responsible for a lot of it gives us even more of a reason to step up and support each other. If your neighbor’s house collapses because a sink-hole opened up because nature can be a bitch, you let them into your house until they can rebuild. If the sinkhole opens up because you drilled under their basement, it is not only just and right to let them into your house, it is your responsibility to. And this isn’t even a perfect parallel, because while it would require you to live in crunched space while your neighbors are in your house, immigrants aren’t in your house. They just become fellow citizens, no better or worse than anyone else you live with in your community.

  11. specialffrog says

    @Danny Husar: The application of a law can and frequently does consider the circumstances around the violation of said law. Similarly congress could change the law in a manner that recognizes these circumstances.

    People arrested for pot-related offences in states that have now decriminalized marijuana broke the law at the time but there is good reason to pardon these offences.

    Saying “the law is the law” isn’t really much of an argument.

  12. lewisv says

    Completely agree with the sentiment of this article. I’m not sure how I feel about the executive branch wielding the power to implement a plan like DACA in the first place, that seems like it should be a legislative-exclusive power.

  13. Danny Husar says

    @11 My point was not to argue the morality of immigration law. American immigration law tends to be far more permissive and open than that of the vast majority of countries. I really wanted to recognize the difficult situation that the various stakeholders are in, including law-makers, immigration enforcement authorities, and the poor DACA kids. All because the parents of those kids decided to illegally move to this country and place this burden on their children and society. On the left, the only perspective that is espoused is the evil of the American immigration system which does nothing but bully DACA kids, and I think that’s completely unfair. American society is trying to do right by non-citizens who broke American law. Some credit should be given for that.

    In your example, you likened immigration law to a bad marijuana law (keeping people incarcerated for actions that are now legal). In that case, I agree, a pardon or a law that frees people who were incarcerated for a currently legal action, would be the fair and consistent thing to do. What is the equivalent to immigration law? Do you literally codify that citizenship is obtained by simply coming into the country illegally and then staying for X number of years? Should that be the official policy? What about the current lottery system where you may have people in places like Ghana waiting for years for their chance to immigrate and going through a ton of security screening only to get upended by people who simply decided to illegally show up in America – is that fair?

    Again, the problem is that immigration policy is hard, and it inevitably degenerates into rejecting the vast majority of people who want to become citizens because there are 7 billion people on this planet.

  14. KG says

    On the left, the only perspective that is espoused is the evil of the American immigration system which does nothing but bully DACA kids, and I think that’s completely unfair.

    Right: you think children should suffer for the illegal acts of their parents, and of course that’s absolutely fair.

    American society is trying to do right by non-citizens who broke American law. Some credit should be given for that.

    The people being deported did not break American law. Their parents did. WTF is wrong with you?

  15. Pablo Campos says

    I am pissed. Trump and the republikkkans ended DACA. I have relatives that are Dreamers. I feel hurt and pissed off in the same time. If this isn’t racism what is?!

  16. unclefrogy says

    I find it very predictable that the conservative thinking process as usually displayed so consistently pics and chooses what facts to include and which to ignore when trying to formulate an argument for or against some position, history gets “special selective” consideration.
    You might think it was rationalization and wishful thinking instead of informed opinion.
    uncle frogy

  17. Danny Husar says

    >you think children should suffer for the illegal acts of their parents, and of course that’s absolutely fair.

    But that’s what happens today. If parents break a law they may be sent to jail. If they stole or committed fraud, their assets may be confiscated (including the family home). If a parent loses a job, they may relocate from a middle-class neighborhood to a low-income neighborhood. In all those cases the children may be hurt significantly – sometimes by the choices their parents made and sometimes by unfortunate circumstance.

    >The people being deported did not break American law. Their parents did. WTF is wrong with you?

    I’m not sure what you’re arguing for or against. I understand you don’t like deporting DACA kids, but DACA was a one-off executive action that side-stepped immigration laws and reform. Keeping it merely places DACA kids in limbo. They might not be deported but they are not given guarantees of citizenship. But what does that mean for lasting immigration policy? Should America codify in law that any kids brought to America illegally get an automatic citizenship? Parents of kids who get automatic citizenship should also get citizenship because it would be cruel to deport them but not the kids?

  18. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    But what does that mean for lasting immigration policy? Should America codify in law that any kids brought to America illegally get an automatic citizenship? Parents of kids who get automatic citizenship should also get citizenship because it would be cruel to deport them but not the kids?

    Why not? You try to be snide, but show what a humanitarian, not a bigoted program, would look like, and I think its a good starting place for discussion. Why are you scared of non-white immigrants, which shows with your defense of those who are bigots.

  19. specialffrog says

    @13: I don’t see anything wrong with codifying acceptance of people who have grown up in the country and have no other country in any meaningful sense. Despite Sessions’s claims there appears to be no evidence that DACA led to an increase in people migrating with children. And generally the US legal system doesn’t (or at least shouldn’t) go after children for legal violations committed by their parents.

    Besides, you still seem to want to treat people deciding to move to the US as the sole cause of this issue rather than looking at the circumstances that lead people to feel this action is necessary.

  20. Jado says

    This is my idea – If you are an undocumented (“illegal” if you insist – whatever) alien here in the US, if you have been here for 7 years or more without felonious criminal activity, and if you can show that you have been gainfully employed for a total of 60 months, you get a green card. You also get an extra 5% income tax to deal with the processing for the next 7 years while you progress on your way to citizenship.

    If you are the child of an undocumented alien and have been in the country for more than 60 months consecutively, you get a green card at age 18. The associated extra 5% tax isn’t your fault, but you can thank your parents for that.

    It combines what I think is a not-totally-unreasonable path to citizenship for people who ARE ALREADY HERE, with the required CONSERVATIVE PUNISHMENT FOR EXISTING WHILE BROWN!!!!! ARRG! GRAA! RAGE AND FOAMING AT THE MOUTH!! WHITE PEOPLE ARE INHERENTLY BETTER THAN ANY OTHER COLOR!!! DEMOCRATS ARE TRAITORS!!!

    Do you think that will be enough cognitive dissonance for the GOP to work to pass this compromise, or does the idea of compromise still start the slavering masses to fume and cry? This is probably the farthest tilt to the right that can be expected to pass the puke test for a situation that should really be met with welcoming arms, but the conservative section of the populace has already shown that they have no intention of welcoming brown people with anything close to open arms. Unless the arms are made by Smith & Wesson.

  21. quill says

    It is theoretically true that DACA encourages illegal immigration by parents looking to achieve better lives for their children. And, it is certainly reasonable that America gets to determine who lives in America. And, it is also true, that the Dreamers are unequivocally, illegal immigrants.

    But it is also true that the Dreamers bear no moral culpability for their technical violation of immigration law. They didn’t choose to come to America. (What exactly is an eight year old supposed to do other than follow their parents?) For all practical purposes they are American. And, the simple reality is that we are not about to deport 11 million illegal immigrants, which means that some illegal immigrants will not be deported. Who better to prioritize to keep in the United States than those who didn’t violate the law by coming here? And, if we are going to permit the Dreamers to remain (which, DACA or no DACA, we overwhelmingly are) it is unequivocally in the interest of America to allow them to obtain educations, hold jobs and contribute to our society.

    While I understand the desire to limit executive power to enforcing the law and Congress to making it, the question here is not whether everyone who can be will be deported but whether this decision is made publicly and consistently by the President or quasi-individually by mid level officials at ICE. There is no usurpation of legislative authority in prioritizing who to deport nor permitting the Dreamers to work (which appears to be specifically permitted by statute).

    Bluntly, this is stupid and cruel.

  22. Zeppelin says

    “It is un-American to base people’s role in life on their ancestry”

    Ewww, national chauvinism.

    Even if this was true (which it isn’t of course, basing people’s role in life on their ancestry is in fact foundational to American society), so what? Plenty of thoroughly “un-American” things are good, and plenty of extremely “American” things are awful. This is no different from praising an act of kindness as “very Christian”.

  23. Danny Husar says

    >Besides, you still seem to want to treat people deciding to move to the US as the sole cause of this issue rather than looking at the circumstances that lead people to feel this action is necessary.

    Most reasonable people won’t subscribe to the view that America is the reason for everything that’s wrong about the world.

    >If you are an undocumented (“illegal” if you insist – whatever) alien here in the US, if you have been here for 7 years or more without felonious criminal activity, and if you can show that you have been gainfully employed for a total of 60 months, you get a green card. You also get an extra 5% income tax to deal with the processing for the next 7 years while you progress on your way to citizenship.

    So to be clear, that applies to every visitor coming to America? All you need to do is find a way to get inside American borders and you get an automatic work permit and a path to citizenship (or are we assuming that they will work illegally and evade the law for 7 years?). And there’s no cap on this number? So if 10, 20, or 100 million people show up, that’s the number of new citizens you’re admitting? That’s definitely an open-borders policy. Libertarians would love it.

  24. archangelospumoni says

    Because . . . Christians! Just look at the R roster and see how many “good” Christians there are.

  25. jrkrideau says

    @ 17 chigau
    Most of the 7.5 billion people on this planet do not want to live in the USA.

    And who do you think is going to believe a line like that? Why, even I will be applying for a green card as soon as the Leafs win the Cup.

  26. specialffrog says

    @25: While not responsible for all the world’s problems, the US bears some responsibility for people fleeing Chile in the mid 70s, people fleeing Iraq in the mid-to-late 2000s, Mexican farmers forced off the land due to dumping of subsidized produce into the Mexican market, etc.

  27. jrkrideau says

    @ 25 Danny Husar
    Most reasonable people won’t subscribe to the view that America is the reason for everything that’s wrong about the world.

    Of course we don’t.

    A major cause for much of the political instability in the world and, hence, many of the millions of refugees (often known as “illegal immigrants”) among other things but not everything that’s wrong about the world.

  28. unclefrogy says

    why do people want to leave the home they have and come to some other place namely here in the first place?
    their are 2 major categories that are put up that are acceptable as categories by the conservatives.
    those who are fleeing because of political or religious persecution who fall into the category of refugees and are sometimes acceptable.
    the other major category are “economic immigrants” some are OK if they are hired by corporations and businesses because they will work for lower wages then native born workers, some of those are legal and get a special visa to do so. Then there are others who also work for less then native workers and at jobs that are very hard to fill at the wages. Those it is preferable it seems to keep in the illegal status and keep them vulnerable which also helps to keep the cost down.
    You have to ask why would there be the economic disparity between this country and others which are the destination of these economic immigrants?
    All of the source countries were former colonies or “vassal states” dominated by the western and european states. In none of them have we of the “first world, developed world” promoted democratic rule and human rights and human dignity. In none of them have we not propped up and supported any kind of oligarchy so long as they continued to allow us to continue to benefit from their own economic exploitation.
    So now after all these years or should I say generations we are complaining that people who are indeed trying to follow the American Dream of working hard and making a lot of money and be a “success” come here because we have indeed helped to make that kind of success at “home” all but impossible.
    there used to be prevalent debtors prisons, the situation we find our selves in now has a similar nature and is working with the same efficiency and results.
    how can you simply look at anything with so narrow a view it is the law.
    uncle frogy

  29. lanir says

    Okay… So, the right wing viewpoint does have one thing going for it: immigration is complicated and letting everyone in might not be the best way to go. But I don’t see how you get from that reasonable objection to “throw the bastards out!” which is just as simplistic. And yet it’s the policy that’s being heavily promoted as the alternative to our current, more nuanced system. This tends to trivialize the objections being raised and make them seem somewhat less than honest.

    Sometimes I think these conservative immigration ideas are just based on the ludicrous but insidious idea that people who aren’t from the US aren’t really people but are instead just a resource to be used. It would take a stupendous amount of immigration to cause the kinds of problems they fear and some are just random made-up boogeymen. The US is just too big to be frightened of relatively small groups of immigrants. It’s not the people of other countries we need to be wary of, it’s their governments and large businesses.

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