In the midst of the bad news about the new immigration guidelines, it is worth pointing out that DACA, the protection granted to minors brought into the U.S. by their undocumented parents, is still in place. This is the only positive part of an executive order whose implementation opens the door to the expulsion of millions of undocumented people.
With his immigration policy, President Donald Trump is fulfilling one of his main campaign promises. His rhetoric did not spare anyone from deportation, which is why the exception included in the guidelines to keep former President Obama’s executive order in effect is welcome.
Seeing Trump in this unusually sensible position regarding the fate of 750,000 people is an encouraging sign. These youths make a positive contribution to the country through their work, and they are not responsible for their undocumented immigration status.
Trump is right when he says that the situation of these youths is “very difficult.”
There is a significant number of conservatives who put all undocumented people in the same bag of criminals undeserving of any kind of consideration.
On several occasions, the House of Representatives has voted to eliminate DACA protections, and, today, other voices join in to ask for the protection to be annulled by the stroke of a pen or by allowing it to expire.
The president gains nothing from keeping this protection for Dreamers in place. His political base supports all deportations, and one more action in that direction is not going to turn the opposition and immigrants any more against him that they already are.
Trump’s comments give room to speculate that he may be willing to find a permanent solution for Dreamers, which can only come from Congress. However, that possibility is still far away.
The priority now is to have ICE authorities respect the protections granted by DACA. The broad discretion the new guidelines award ICE agents and the agency’s previous history of abuse make Dreamers fear that they are not as safe from detention as is written on paper. A troubling case already exists in Washington State.
DACA protections must be kept, and the authorities must respect them. Deporting these youths would be an inhumane act that would only hurt our country.