Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 13 / 29 March 2018

Trump has no balls


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Donald Trump never flinched from throwing verbal firebombs over immigration issues, either on the campaign trial or once in the White House. Yet, after weeks of intense debate with top aides and advisers about whether to end the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, Trump didn't have the guts to make the dreaded announcement himself. Instead, he sent Attorney General Jeff Sessions to the podium Tuesday to announce that the U.S. was rescinding the program, leaving the fates of nearly 800,000 Dreamers, as they refer to themselves, hanging in the balance.

According to Sessions' statement, the Department of Homeland Security will no longer accept new applications for the renewable, two-year program. Those currently enrolled will be able to keep working until their permits expire; those holding permits that expire by March 5 will be able to renew them, if they do so by October 5. Trump and Sessions called on Congress to fix the immigration system, which is also tasked with funding Trump's border wall. It's been reported that Trump is holding the Dreamers hostage in order to get Democrats to fund the wall that he's said Mexico will pay for (it won't). This is Trump's presidential version of the art of the deal, except it uses human shields in a political battle. So sad.

Many Dreamers work for elite corporations. Apple CEO Tim Cook, one of the few out gay corporate leaders, said that 250 workers are in the DACA program. "I want to assure you that Apple will work with members of Congress from both parties to advocate for a legislative solution that provides permanent protections for all the Dreamers in our country," he said Tuesday. Hundreds of CEOs signed a letter sent to Trump asking that he preserve the program. The president didn't heed their request, but the executives pointed out that DACA recipients were raised in America, give back to the community, and pay taxes. At this point, business leaders are understandably wary of Trump; he shut down his advisory committees after many on the panels quit in protest over his comments minimizing white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia last month. California, not surprisingly, has the largest number of DACA recipients.

Trump has chosen to insert as much dysfunction into government as possible, sowing fear among minority groups as he clings tightly to his base, which, let's face it, wouldn't desert him if he left DACA alone, like he said he would months ago. And although white nationalists Steve Bannon and Sebastian Gorka are gone from the White House, Stephen Miller is still there pushing divisive policy proposals to the president. The president should have left DACA in place while submitting a proposal to Congress.

Trump's decision gives Congress six months to fix DACA. But after a day of protests across the country, and condemnation from liberals and some conservatives, Trump took to Twitter to announce a revision: "Congress now has 6 months to legalize DACA (something the Obama administration was unable to do). If they can't, I will revisit the issue."

So there you have it. Trump will revisit DACA in March. Since Congress likely won't pass immigration reform in that timeframe, the administration's move Tuesday was unnecessary. Trump is toying with the lives of families by putting the screws of fear and uncertainty to good, hard-working young people who bear no responsibility for their immigration status.


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