Crocodile Tears: Republican Opposition to Trump on Dreamers is Hollow Unless Congress Codifies DACA
The burden of the fallout from Donald Trump's tattering presidency so far has almost entirely fallen on communities of color and on immigrants, and Trump's looming decision to end President Obama's policy to protect people who came here as children is no different. According to news reports, however, Trump will delay implementation of this horrendous move by six months.
That is the amount of time Congress has to act. Six months.
As the news came down the wire, several Republicans came out of their eggshells to denounce the possible move by Trump, among them House Speaker Paul Ryan. This is a much different posture from the time when President Obama instituted DACA. At the time, Republicans in Congress and their 2012 presidential ticket condemned it as lawlessness.
Given the GOP's hostility in general towards immigrants, evidenced by their election and subsequent support of a president who has openly backed white supremacists and Nazis not just from the campaign trail but presidential bully pulpit, and given their initial condemnation of DACA under President Obama, no one should believe a single word coming out of the mouth of any GOP lawmaker to oppose Trump on DACA. Not without veto-proof legislative action to codify DACA.
Republicans control Congress. They control the House. They control the Senate. Democrats in both chambers stand ready to vote for a bill that would codify DACA and set up a path towards citizenship for (at least) those who came here as children and only knows one home: America. But only Republicans can produce such a bill and put it up for a vote. If they do not do so, and if they do not find enough votes in their respective House and Senate caucuses to make such a bill's passage veto proof when joined with the Democratic votes, the entire GOP and not just Donald Trump should be held accountable by the rest of us.
After all, this isn't even a new legislative issue. This is make up work. Comprehensive immigration reform has been on the nation's legislative agenda since the administration of George W. Bush. We are here today because Republicans decided that they would refuse to work with President Obama on anything - even if it is something they agree would be good for the country, such as immigration reform. We are here today because Republicans refused to give President Obama any legislative victory during their rein in Congress, even if a policy like not deporting children who have grown up here enjoyed broad public support across the political spectrum.
It was the Republican's contempt for President Obama and his vision of an America where everyone counted that kept them from acting when legislative action with majority votes in Congress would have been sufficient to codify the core principles of DACA and grant documented status to the young people protected under it. It was their pandering to a racist, xenophobic, nationalist base that kept them from doing the bare basics. It was their refusal to stand up to the worst elements of their party that allowed Donald Trump to become president.
Today, it is no longer enough for Republicans to simply oppose things knowing there are no consequences to their words. Today, it is no longer possible to let Obama do the right thing and take credit to their voters for opposing it anyway.
Today, it's no longer enough to simply disapprove of Trump. Republicans must act. It is not enough to draft a bill codifying DACA. They must take responsibility for passing it. It is not enough to even just pass it, because their own president will be waiting with a veto pen. The Republicans in Congress therefore must deliver enough Republican votes to make the passage of such a bill veto-proof.
Anything short, and history will hold the Republican party responsible for young, undocumented Americans having to retreat to the shadows in a country that prides itself for being a shining city on the hill. Anything short, and every word they have ever said about caring about any immigrant is a lie.
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