DACA, Immigration Reform, and a just a little bit more Sarcasm

Lady Liberty has beckoned for more than a century, but now it’s time to give back – or better said, time to expel. President Trump’s uncharacteristic wishy-washy revocation of DACA, Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s enthusiastic endorsement of the revocation, and the House Republicans’ steady inaction on immigration reform could result in the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Latino youth (and others). American society, over the centuries, has given slaves, migrants, child laborers, and foreigners the opportunity – that’s right – to build the nation through their blood, sweat, and tears. Yeah, legalized slavery is a thing of the past thanks to the stinkin’ abolition movement and that obstinate president named Lincoln. And the days of kids getting their fingers stuck in cotton-spinning looms and coal mine breaker boys getting their lungs full of coal dust are over because of the stinkin’ rise of unions, child reform labor regulations, and compulsory education laws. The problem of all these horrible DACA recipients in the country couldn’t possibly be one of our own doing, could it? Two words: Cheap labor. Five more words: Oh how we love it.

Coal mine breaker boys – circa 1910 – photo by Lewis Hines

Without America’s long-standing love affair with cheap labor, why would the parents of these DACA recipients have come here in the first place to do their unpatriotic duty from the bottom rungs to make America great?

Remember the foreign and migrant workers who laid rail track in the western territories and states? Lucky them! Today their vocational descendants pick fruit in the south and west and harvest wheat in the Plains, slaughter pigs and cows in the Midwest, clean up restaurants and office buildings and cut grass and trim trees all over the country. Why give them – and their children – a path to citizenship with legal rights and protections when we can continue to exploit them for what we need so dearly – unprotected and loosely regulated cheap labor? How the hell are my wife and I supposed to enjoy relatively cheap California wine ($10-15) if it becomes more expensive ($25) because some damn Mexican grape-pickers need to be paid a living wage? WTFlagon.

If you must know the specifics: DACA – Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals – was a policy put into place by the Obama administration in 2012, after a do-nothing Congress did nothing on immigration reform. Close to 800,000 applicants have been approved since that time with the majority of these living in California and Texas. And now the great American president has given a green light to AG Sessions to pull the plug on the program.

All of these horrendous “Dreamers,” who came to the USA on the backs of their parents – get the hell out! Thank God for the Texas Attorney General (currently indicted for securities fraud) doubling as a fine Christian man, standing up for the US Constitution with a threat to sue the president if DACA is not revoked. The poor, tattered Constitution is under fierce attack from Dreamers who go to school, work, and make their families stronger. Hell, some of them even go to church. It’s so entirely un-American of them – if only they would learn how to smoke weed and binge drink like a lot of white kids from the suburbs do, while cruising around in cars provided by Mommy and Daddy. That’s the American way.

A musician in Austin that I’m fond of (James McMurtry) sings, “We can’t help what came before.” These damn Dreamers, if they’re so smart, they should have known to do something about their status before their underachieving parents brought them here.

Another American musician I’m fond of (Lou Reed – RIP) sang of the aforementioned Lady Liberty: “Give me your hungry, your tired, your poor and I’ll piss on ’em. That’s what the Statue of Bigotry says.” Reed was a New Yorker. As you can tell by his lyric, he knew, just like the great American president knows, that Lady Liberty was soooo nineteenth century. It’s about time we start living up to the updated credo, championed by the really, really rich president from New York: Put America first, baby. Go home, wherever that is, you damn Dreamers, and quit ruining our – not yours, but our – country.

We’ve come a long way from the dark days of the summer of 2013 when fourteen Republican senators joined fifty-four Democratic senators to approve an immigration reform bill. A bipartisan group of eight senators championed the bill, but, thank God, the House Republicans wouldn’t join in the apostasy. The bill died before the president who wasn’t even born here could sign it.

The problems America faces are too many to list in a blog post designed to run 750 words. Suffice it to say, getting rid of close to a million Dreamers would set the country back on the path to greatness because expulsion would get at the very root of every single one of the problems – again, too many to mention – that beset us. And hell, once we get rid of all these stinkin’ Dreamers, we’ll feel much better about ourselves as a society. Probably, maybe.

————————————

Lou Reed was on to something, but for the moment I’m going to call Lady Liberty “The Statue of Irony.” It’s times like these that we need her torch of enlightenment (ironic, isn’t it?) to shine ever so brightly!

James McMurtry, “Iolanthe,” Where’d You Hide the Body? (1995)

Lou Reed, “Dirty Boulevard,” New York (1989)

 

T. Carlos Anderson is a pastor and writer based in Austin, Texas. His first book, Just a Little Bit More: The Culture of Excess and the Fate of the Common Good, is distributed by ACTA Publications (Chicago). JaLBM is available on Amazon as a paperback and an e-book. It’s also available on Nook and iBook/iTunes, and at the website of Blue Ocotillo Publishing.

isbn 9780991532827

If you’re a member of a faith community – Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, or other – consider a book study series of Just a Little Bit More. The full-length book (257 pgs.) is intended for engaged readers, whereas the Summary Version and Study Guide (52 pgs.) is intended for readers desiring a quick overview of the work. It also contains discussion questions at the end of all eight chapter summaries.

Readers of both books can join together for study, conversation, and subsequent action in support of the common good.

The Spanish version of the Summary Version and Study Guide is now available. ¡Que bueno!

¡El librito de JaLBM – llamado Solo un Poco Más –está disponible en Amazon y el sitio web www.blueocotillo.com!

 

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5 Comments

Filed under Commentary

5 responses to “DACA, Immigration Reform, and a just a little bit more Sarcasm

  1. Stephanie Allen

    Always keeping it real! 👏👏👏
    Missed your words.

  2. Byrom Smith

    Everyone has an opinion on this issue. Some come from love, some from fear, some from bigotry and some from common sense. Here is my opinion on immigration in general with some specific solutions:

    To stem the flow of illegal immigrants into our country, our nation needs comprehensive legislation that recognizes the vital positive economic impact these illegal residents have contributed to communities for decades and acknowledges that as one of the wealthiest democracies and national leaders of democracy on the global stage, we have a responsibility to those outside our boarders suffering from poverty, violence and governments/international systems that enslave others. Our immigration policies should be legislated by our Congressional leaders with this in mind to achieve an actionable and realistic approach to securing our borders, protecting our citizens and preserving the United States moral authority globally. I implore our Congress to work quickly in a bipartisan fashion to enact legislation that will serve all of our country, legislation that must include, not a path to citizenship, but a path to legalization.

    Call it a “Red Card”, if you will, but we need a separate and distinct status for illegal immigrants already in this country, that allows them to come forward without the fear of deportation and prove their value to our society. Have them be identified, fingerprinted, their criminal record, if any, researched, pay a reasonable fine, go on a national registry with a special Social Security number, verify their employment and employment history, and local authorities made aware of their presence within the community. Then, and only then, should they be given legal status. A reasonable probation period, perhaps five years, would be given wherein the person would have to remain employed and not commit any crimes, even a misdemeanor. They would receive access to medical care (which they have now), education for their children (which they have now) and other public services. They would need to file annual Federal, State and Local income tax returns, as required by local law, pay into Social Security and Medicare and stay current on any property taxes for which they may be responsible. They would neither be able to serve in the military nor would they be able to vote. They would not be able to purchase, own or possess a firearm of any kind. Violation of this clause would mean immediate deportation. Their driver’s license would have special identification alerting authorities to their status. Any immigrant in this program who commits and is convicted of a felony or serious state crime would result in immediate incarceration until the sentence is served completely and then that individual, and the immediate family, be deported.

    The idea of crafting a strong comprehensive immigration policy is apparently being dismissed by the incoming presidential administration. Instead, immigration policy is being subjected to the whim of the Presidents already extensive use of executive privilege. In closing, I quote the social statement contained in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America policy addressing immigration, adopted in 1993: “When we rebuild walls of hostility and live behind them – blaming others for the problem and looking to them for solutions – we ignore the role we ourselves play in the problem and also in the solution. When we confront racism and move toward fairness and justice in society, all of us benefit”

    I would love to hear your opinion of my comments.

    Jud Smith

  3. Byrom Smith

    Thank you for your comment on my comment. I have much more to say on this issue but didn’t want to exceed the 750 word limit. There are practical and humanitarian ways we can address the issues of security, control, economic reality and compassion for our fellow man while formulating immigration policy. Were I not nearly 72, many dollars short of billionaire status (almost a requirement to run for office these days), continuing to bond with my wife of 49 wonderful years (yesterday), preoccupied with children and grandchildren (today), attempting to redirect my excess toward appropriate charitable causes and discovering what God has planned for whatever time I have left on this planet, writing, reading, traveling and trying to stay abreast of current events, I might consider running for elective office in my spare time. But, alas, as they say, I believe that train done left the station. Keep your enlightening blog going, T. Carlos. I love it! Jud/Justin

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