In the past week, journalist inboxes across the country have been flooded with memos, reports and fact sheets screaming for Democrats to move quickly on passing a Dream Act before Congress’ Christmas break.
The urgency is to protect the nearly 1,000 “Dreamers” each day who will lose their protection from deportation beginning next March as a result of President Trump repealing the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
There have been citations of the many polls showing that great majorities of Americans (86 percent, according to a Washington Post/ABC News poll in September) and even most Republicans prefer allowing Dreamers to stay in the U.S.
And there have been emotional pleas for mercy, spotlighting heart-wrenching stories of fractured families. For example, Osman Enriquez, a former DACA recipient, was put in detention and separated from his fiance and infant after a routine traffic stop. Enriquez had missed a deadline to renew his deportation protections after his DACA forms were delayed in a U.S. Postal Service processing center. He was awaiting the new paperwork to reapply, but it didn’t come fast enough—and he was taken into custody.
Lastly, there have been appeals based on neutral economic facts.
Notably, a commentary published by the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) lends its support to the issue: Since the 690,000 DACA enrollees make up only about 1 percent of America’s 74.2 million millennials, they don’t represent a competitive threat to native-born young people as they search for jobs.
Additionally, MPI says that the different skill sets of DACA participants and other millennials reduce the possibility that anyone will take someone else’s job. “DACA participants were less likely than all other millennials, regardless of their race/ethnicity, to work in education, health, and social services. At the same time, black and U.S.-born Hispanic millennials were more likely to work in retail trade than DACA recipients (19 percent versus 14 percent),” the report said.
That’s all fine and good, but the fact that the immigrant advocacy PR effort is ratcheted up to 11 indicates the level of anxiety and fear surrounding Democrats’ ability to actually make something happen in the realm of immigration.
In fact, the most astute observation I’ve seen on the matter came courtesy of Mark Krikorian, the executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, a restrictionist-leaning think tank that the far left has labeled a “hate group:”
“If the DACA amnesty is so popular, why are the Dems afraid to follow thru on their threats to shut govt over it?” Krikorian tweeted. “Don’t they think the public would support them?”
Ouch! Krikorian’s comment was in response to a Politico story about Democrats backing off from threats to shut down the government.
“Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi ... (have) subtly shifted their rhetoric in recent days and aren’t insisting that deportation relief be paired with a government funding bill this year ... (ensuring that Democrats) won’t get blamed for a possible shutdown and won’t upend Senate talks on a bipartisan deal combining relief for Dreamers with border security,” Politico reported.
Even the editorial board of the left-leaning Sacramento Bee—the capital paper of the state with the most Hispanics and immigrants—said that threatening a shutdown in the name of winning relief for Dreamers was a losing strategy.
Even though agreeing that legislation to help Dreamers was a noble act, the board made a fair point: “There’s also the question of whether such a tactic would play into Republicans’ hands. Trump has made no secret of his disdain for government in general, relentlessly downsizing it and refusing to fill many open positions. Who is to say he will even care if government offices remain empty for days on end?”
It seems difficult to imagine Trump not using a massive and painful shutdown to rally his base, and why would the Democrats chance it when they know that Hispanics aren’t going to vote Republican anytime in the near future and are, therefore, captive (if unenthusiastic, at this point) voters?
The bottom line is that immigrant advocacy groups have every reason to believe that suffering is on the way. After all, history has shown, time and again, that Democrats can bungle immigration issues without any real electoral consequences. Why should anyone expect this year to be different?