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Why Democrats want a clean bill on Dreamers



I’m not a professional politician, thank God, but I am a Democrat who does a reasonably good job following the issues. I’d like to explain, to Republicans and anyone else, why DACA is important enough for my party to risk shutting down the government.

Probably 99% of Democrats don’t thoroughly understand the ins and outs of DACA, and probably a similar number of Republicans are in the dark. What the two sides do understand, however, is the dichotomy of the issue, in all its stark, black-and-white contrasts. To me, it boils down to this: Democrats think highly of these Latino kids who were brought to the U.S., illegally, through no fault of their own, and we wish to allow them to stay, with a path towards full citizenship.

Republicans, on the other hand, see things through their prism of “law and order.” The Dreamers are in violation of the law. It doesn’t matter if they were brought here when they were babies; the plain and simple fact of the matter is that they’re breaking the law, and if the U.S. is to remain a nation of laws, then they must be deported.

The Republican point of view, it must be admitted, makes a certain amount of sense. I, myself, believe that laws should not be passed, if jurisdictions have no inclination or ability to enforce them. If that’s the case, then the entire concept of “law” is a mockery.

But justice untempered by mercy is not our way. Courts show mercy toward convicted defendants all the time. God is a “God of Justice” but he also is a “God of Mercy.” Even if you’re not a Christian or a Jew, you can see the reasonableness behind tempering justice with mercy. I have always found that mercy bears richer fruits than strict justice,” said a great American politician, Abraham Lincoln, the first Republican president; indeed, it was this quality of mercy that influenced Lincoln’s decision to allow the defeated Confederate Army to retain its horses and sidearms, after the surrender at Appomattox.

I don’t know if hardline, anti-Dreamer Republicans, such as those in the House Freedom Caucus, know any Mexicans, but I do. From my decades of work in the California wine industry, where I met many Mexican-American field and cellar workers and winemakers, to my frequent stays in hotels, where my beds were made by Mexican-American women, to the food I enjoyed in great restaurants—food that was harvested by Mexican-Americans—to the Mexican-American women who clean my house, to the many people I have met and befriended here on the streets of Oakland and, before I moved here, San Francisco—I have found Mexican-Americans to be the most loving, sweet and hopeful group I’ve ever known. Not once have I inquired whether one of them is documented or not. I simply don’t care.

This isn’t to say I don’t care about the law being enforced. I do. Oakland can be a dangerous city—not because of undocumented immigrants, but because of American citizens who choose to break the law. I want the law strictly enforced against them. But I don’t want to see house cleaners, or workers at a 7-Eleven, or men on a construction crew, rounded up by ICE just because they don’t have the requisite papers. And in particular, I don’t want to see young people, who are just starting out, hauled in by ICE and sent back over the border.

I often get the feeling that anti-immigrant Republicans act out of spite and malice. If you ask them what’s so harmful about letting Dreamers stay, they can’t really explain it. All they offer is some free-floating resentment, usually accompanied by slurs against President Obama or Hillary Clinton, or rants against terrorism. Their appeals to “the law” ring hollow–mere excuses to mask an irrational anger.

There’s something quintessentially American about letting Dreamers stay. It’s about the Statue of Liberty, about the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, about why Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and the Founders wanted a new country. It’s about “All men are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights.” Yet it’s also about fundamental decency—a quality notably lacking in the Republican Party for the last century, but particularly since the advent of the Trump regime. It’s about—to use a word Trump himself used, with cringe-worthy results—“love.” It’s about how the rest of the world sees us—as the greatest hope of mankind, a bastion of liberty and opportunity. It’s about extending the hand of mercy and compassion. It’s about feeling good about ourselves, the way Scrooge finally felt good about himself when he realized what an ass he’d been when he was a mean man. For these reasons, and more, Congressional Democrats must stand fast and insist on a clean DACA, or at least one unencumbered by the least possible number of other things.



  1. youwontknow says:

    Purely bullshit. Demos just want more votes

  2. Well of course they do. That’s what political parties are for. Do you know something that any nine-year old doesn’t?

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