When the Senate opens, a strange immigration debate begins, in which anything can happen and anything can happen, the question that many of us ask ourselves is what role will the fickle president Donald Trump play regarding Dreamers, who has repeatedly rejected proposals unless they include funds for the Mexico wall that he promised his followers.
The other big question is what will emerge from the Senate and, what’s more, what the House of Representatives will do, presided over by the Republican of Wisconsin, Paul Ryan, who has not committed to a similar debate. Ryan says he will bring a solution to the full chamber, “one that President Donald Trump can enact, which implies that only restrictiveness measures will emerge from that debate.
The lives of hundreds of thousands of Dreamers and their relatives, many of them citizens and permanent residents, are once again on the table.
Once again expectations of a possible solution are generated at the door. Once again the Dreamers are at the center of political chess with Republicans and Democrats blaming each other for inaction.
I have repeated many times that I have witnessed this immigration debate for almost three decades, first as a reporter in Los Angeles a couple of years after Ronald Reagan enacted the 1986 amnesty; then as a correspondent in Washington, DC, covering the debates in Congress; and now as an activist of an organization for immigration reform.
Without fear of being wrong I can say that nobody is innocent in this debate; nobody has totally clean hands; and all, to a greater or lesser degree, have exploited the issue politically speaking.
With the exception of the most extreme, if all the legislators say they want a legislative solution for the Dreamers; they have made promises when they have been in majority and minority in Congress.
There are several constants in this debate.
Unfulfilled promises and inaction are two of them. But so is the perseverance of the Dreamers in seeking a resolution for their lives, even if it means confronting the politicians who are adverse to them and even those who claim to be its defenders, even though they later crack under the pressure.
I do not know how this debate will end. If there will be a path to citizenship for Dreamers in exchange for a wall and historical reductions in documented immigration and family reunification. Or if they will only offer legalization without citizenship.
What I do know is that the urgency of a solution for Dreamers is extreme because regardless of what the Trump government says, they will not be a priority for deportation, this is one of the most anti-immigrant administrations.
Yes, certainly the government of Barack Obama exceeded records of deportations, but at least in his last years applied procedural discretion to focus the repatriation on real criminals, something that with Trump has disappeared.
Yes, Obama said many times that he could not turn DACA, but in the end he did in 2012 and it is precisely because Obama did that, Trump revoked it.
With the Obama administration, he could appeal to the moral argument and there was some kind of response. With Mr. Trump, government is no moral compass neither in immigration nor in any other matter.
It remains to be seen what emerges from the chaotic Congress that until now has been a rubber stamp of the chaotic president’s extremism.
Contributed by – Ursula Daniels