The immigration debate seems to have gone crazy.
President Obama’s widely popular Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, which offered some 750,000 young immigrants brought to the United States as children a temporary reprieve from deportation, is ending… except it isn’t… except it is… President Trump claims to support it but ordered its halt, while both Republicans and Democrats insist that they want to preserve it and blame each other for its impending demise. (Meanwhile, the Supreme Court recently stepped in to allow DACA recipients to renew their status at least for now.)
On a single day in mid-February, the Senate rejected no less than four immigration bills. These ranged from a narrow proposal to punish sanctuary cities that placed limits on local police collaboration with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials to major overhauls of the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act that established the current system of immigration quotas (with preferences for “family reunification”).
And add in one more thing: virtually everyone in the political sphere is now tailoring his or her pronouncements and votes to political opportunism rather than the real issues at hand.
Politicians and commentators who once denounced “illegal immigration,” insisting that people “do it the right way,” are now advocating stripping legal status from many who possess it and drastically cutting even legalized immigration. These days, the hearts of conservative Republicans, otherwise promoting programs for plutocrats, are bleeding for low-wage workers whose livelihoods, they claim (quite incorrectly), are being undermined by competition from immigrants. Meanwhile, Chicago Democrat Luis Gutiérrez—a rare, reliably pro-immigrant voice in Congress—recently swore that, when it came to Trump’s much-touted wall on the Mexican border, he was ready to “take a bucket, take bricks, and start building it myself… We will dirty our hands in order for the Dreamers to have a clean future in America.”