Dream on this, you little Dreamers: Six months from now, when Paul Ryan still hasn’t corralled his unruly House Republican caucus and Donald Trump’s DACA time bomb is about to go ka-boom, 800,000 of you will suddenly be—
Swept up in a mass deportation of young people, brought to America illegally before the age of 16, many hardly remembering any country besides this one?
Sometimes, the anxiety of just not knowing is the hardest part.
DACA, which means Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, was signed into law via executive order by Barack Obama in June 2012. Under the theory that you can’t blame children for where their parents take them, the order said these young people can work here legally and not face deportation.
I don’t know how things worked in your family. But when the Henican parents announced we were leaving on a family trip, “No, I don’t think I’ll be joining you,” was not on the multiple-choice answer list.
What sense does it make to punish these young people? They are an immensely impressive group.
Ninety-one percent of them have jobs, according to a recent survey. Their average hourly wage is $17.46, up from $10.29 before DACA. More than 70 percent are attending college. After signing up for the program, nearly 80 percent got driver’s licenses. Half became organ donors. Aren’t they just the kinds of people we want in America?
Now President Trump is about to evict them unless Congress miraculously acts.
The president has been on every side of the issue. In April, he said the Dreamers could “rest easy,” and he declared just last week, “We love the Dreamers.” But he also promised during his campaign to end DACA “on day one” and deport anyone here illegally, regardless of how young they were when they arrived.
This DACA cruelty has stirred Obama, who’s mostly stayed quiet as his successor has flailed about. Now, the ex-prez is preparing to weigh in. “The notion that we would just arbitrarily or because of politics punish those kids when they didn't do anything wrong themselves, I think, would be something that would merit me speaking out," Obama promised just before leaving office.
Keep an eye on his Facebook page today.
Metro columnist Ellis Henican is the author of a dozen books including “Trumpitude: The Secret Confessions of Donald’s Brain.” Follow him on Twitter @henican.