Stupid and ideological, Trump’s decision to hang a sword of Damocles over the heads of 800,000 immigrants is spreading distress, damaging the American economy, and presenting the risk of a serious migration crisis.
By having Attorney General Jeff Sessions announce the repeal of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program on Tuesday morning, Trump has made perhaps the stupidest and most counter-productive decision of his presidency so far.
DACA was a policy established by the Obama administration in 2012 whereby undocumented minors entering the U.S with their parents could obtain a 2-year renewable permit allowing them to study and work legally. In doing so, Obama stuck a temporary Band-Aid over a proportion of the concerns and issues which had given rise to the presence of some 12 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. It was, however, a monumental initiative given the 20-year-long inability for Republicans and Democrats to agree in Congress on a comprehensive reform of the immigration system or regulatory measures on the status of millions of illegal immigrants, many of whom had built their lives and their homes in the U.S.
The decision to repeal DACA is illogical from all points of view. Despite being one of his campaign promises, Trump didn’t have the courage to announce it himself. Instead, he preferred to delegate to Jeff Sessions, who was presumably more than willing to break the news given his long history of defending Trump on unprogressive migration issues.
Public opinion portrays the decision as absurd and out of touch. According to a credible survey by the Pew Research Center, the majority of Americans – including Republican voters – claimed that the program was relevant and deserved to be upheld.
In the context of U.S socioeconomics, it’s an absurd and counterproductive decision. Around 90 percent of DACA beneficiaries, the so-called ‘Dreamers,’ are currently employed. It has been established that the deportation of these immigrants could cause a $40 billion GDP decline over the next ten years.
Nonetheless, Jeff Sessions has maintained that DACA prevented hundreds of thousands of U.S citizens from finding work, calling it “an unconstitutional exercise of authority” – a largely uncredible assertion considering Trump’s explicitly manifested contempt towards the rule of law, and the fact that “failure to enforce the laws in the past has put our nation at risk of crime, violence and even terrorism.”
In fact, the only real logic here is bred from heartlessness and chauvinism.
Donald Trump has decided that it’s in his interest to continue to pander to the xenophobia of his electoral base. He’s washing his hands of the problem by challenging Congress to find a legislative solution to clarify the status of some 800,000 illegal minors within the next six months. Blockages in Congress are, however, notorious and well-established in this matter. It’s highly unlikely that Republicans, being extreme right-wing hardliners, will agree to a law favorable to Dreamers, who will find themselves in limbo, creating the risk of a serious migration crisis.