“I used to be in the shadows, and I refuse to go back into the shadows.”–Osmar Abad Cruz, DACA recipient
A Tuesday night rally at the County administration building by immigration advocates and allies was part of a nationwide response to the announcement that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA program was finished.
The beauty of a San Diego sunset provided a vivid contrast to the ugliness being thrust upon nearly 8 million people in the United States brought in as children by undocumented parents.
In New York and Washington, Chicago and Los Angeles, along with dozens of other cities around the United States undocumented immigrants and supporters of immigrant rights turned up in droves to condemn the Trump administration’s decision, and compel Congress to take action to protect DACA recipients and the other millions of people living in the United States without legal status.
Today’s column will be a roundup of reactions, with photos from last night’s rally.
Voice of San Diego Morning Report:
…virtually every San Diego politician and official was eager to speak out Tuesday on an issue over which they have little to no control: President Donald Trump’s decision to end the DACA program.
Members of the City Council, as well as San Diego Unified’s superintendent and school board president, joined a press conference condemning the move. Mayor Kevin Faulconer released a statement urging Congress to protect young immigrants.
Actions speak louder than words. The Union Tribune ran an article full of quotes from local politicians. A few samples:
Kevin Faulconer, San Diego mayor:
“The young men and women here under DACA — many who are living in the only country they have ever known — are students, innovators, business owners and veterans who enrich our country and contribute to our economy and culture. Only Congress can provide the legal certainty on immigration that our country needs and these young people are relying on, and it’s time for the legislative branch to act.”
Rep. Susan Davis (D-San Diego):
“By ending DACA, President Trump ignores the Dreamers’ economic impact to our country. He has not only put them at risk, but our economy at risk as well. While it’s sad that Trump is siding with the worst elements of his administration, it’s not surprising given his past rhetoric on immigration.”
Rep. Scott Peters (D-San Diego):
“President Trump, in a display of total and complete cowardice, has outsourced the announcement to end DACA to the Attorney General — a remarkable abdication of responsibility for the heartlessness of an action that leaves 800,000 lives in the balance.”
It should be noted I can find no indication of Peters or Davis supporting the American Hope Act of 2017, (H.R. 3591). Introduced by Illinois Democrat Luis Gutierrez in late July, the bill has 116 co-sponsors.
The Union-Tribune editorial board was appropriately cynical about the possibility of Congressional action:
But our fear is Trump will let Attorney General Jeff Sessions take the lead on the issue, as he did Tuesday, when the DACA-loathing former Alabama senator — not the White House — announced the program’s days were numbered. Sessions is no more likely to support a congressional version of DACA than he is to change his retrograde views on criminal justice. Ryan will issue platitudes but won’t risk his political capital by taking on the House Freedom Caucus. And in six months, the U.S. government — with DACA residents’ addresses provided “when appropriate” by Homeland Security officials to immigration enforcers — could begin a crackdown.
That would likely please millions of Americans who support Trump and who want immigration laws rigidly enforced. But heartlessly dashing the hopes of 800,000 well-meaning dreamers would be a self-defeating act that would mar America’s image as a beacon around the world. Ryan and McConnell need to rescue more than DACA. They need to rescue the idea of America as a land of compassion.
In Sacramento, reactions to the administration’s announcement were overwhelmingly negative.
From the Los Angeles Times:
Democratic leaders of the California Legislature accused Trump of acting primarily to appease his conservative political base. And they pledged to take steps in Sacramento to protect thousands of immigrants who benefit from the protections, known as “Dreamers.”
“The Dreamers who were brought to this country as young children, who are American to their core, deserve better,” said Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Paramount). “The Legislature will do everything we can working with local governments, universities and schools to keep these young people secure, safe and here where they belong.”
The strongest take I saw on ending DACA coming from the state level came from Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez:
“It’s hateful. It’s vicious. It’s cruel. It’s disgusting. My heart breaks for the hundreds of thousands of people who are now forced to cope with this living nightmare. I can only pray Congress musters some basic human decency and prevents this horrific policy from becoming reality.”
Officials at area schools also denounced the Trump administration decision.
San Diego-area colleges and universities have been strong supporters of DACA — San Diego State University administrators addressed an open letter to Trump over the weekend urging him to reconsider his decision to end the program — and Tuesday was no different.
Constance Carroll, the chancellor of the San Diego Community College District, called it a sad day, especially since DACA provided youth with educational opportunities. She said Dreamers were among the “best and highest achieving students” at City, Mesa and Miramar colleges, and the Continuing Education campus.
More than 100 people attended a rally at Palomar College in San Marcos in support of DACA on Tuesday afternoon.
Late in the afternoon, there was also an event in Escondido. Organizers counted over 200 people present by the end of the rally.
From 10 News:
Supporters of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program rallied in Escondido Tuesday, where they say they’re more united than ever.
The rally, held off Interstate 15 near the Westfield North County mall, saw a few dozen locals waving signs and chanting “love not hate makes America great,” and “education, not deportation.”
President Trump appeared to waffle late yesterday, saying via Twitter he could “revisit” the issue in six months if Congress fails to act.
I’d take that statement with a huge grain of salt, especially after reading the White House talking points on DACA advising recipients to self-deport.
White House talking points on Tuesday urged DACA recipients to prepare for a “departure from the United States,” a much starker possible future than Trump administration officials used in public when announcing an end to the program.
The statement was contained in a background document that was sent by the White House to offices on Capitol Hill, obtained by CNN from multiple sources.
In the “DACA talking points” memo, the White House laid out a number of bullet points for supporters on Tuesday’s announcement outlining the administration’s action. One bullet point suggests DACA participants should prepare to leave the country.
‘We’re not racist…’ I’d also like to point out what was said during press briefings on Tuesday (Emphasis mine).
Via Daily Kos:
As with the statements made earlier in the day by Sessions, Huckabee Sanders attempted to paint the presence of Dreamers as something that affected employment and safety. In particular, she called out unemployment among African Americans and Hispanics in an effort to pit minorities against DACA. She redefined Trump’s “compassion” to say he was compassionate toward these 4 million out of work Americans somehow affected by 800,000 Dreamers. Obviously, Dreamers must be America’s hardest working group since they’re holding down five jobs each.
Asked if Trump would sign a bill similar to DACA if it reached his desk, Huckabee Sanders pushed such an idea away, saying Trump would only sign a comprehensive bill, and she scoffed at the idea that it would be difficult for Congress to design and draft such a bill in time.
So much winning… Or is that losing? James Fallows at the Atlantic correctly points to a grim future for the national Republican party coming out of the DACA decision:
Hard-edged “We won, you lost, get over it!” statements like Sessions’ today are satisfying for true believers in the short run. But they often create resistance and reaction that makes them backfire longer term.
When listening to Sessions’ announcement, I could not help thinking of Pete Wilson, then governor of my home state of California, exulting over the passage of the state’s famous Proposition 187 in 1994. Wilson, a Republican, had tied his own reelection campaign to passage of Prop 187, which included a number of tough crackdowns on illegal immigrants. It passed; Wilson beat Kathleen Brown—Pat Brown’s daughter, Jerry’s sister—and stayed in office; “We won, you lost, get over it.” But then, as all chronicles of California politics attest, the “getting over it” involved not simply federal courts staying and eventually throwing out Prop 187 (as improper state interference with federal immigration law) but also the near extinction of the Republican Party as a force in current multi-ethnic California.
In the nation’s most populous state, Republicans hold no statewide offices at all; make up less than one-third of both the state assembly and the state senate; and hold just over one-quarter of the state’s 53 Congressional seats (14 Republicans, 39 Democrats). And this is under a non-gerrymandered, “fair” districting plan.
The day’s most honest take came out of the snarkfest otherwise known as Wonkette:
So let’s review: In announcing the end of DACA — if Congress doesn’t do anything in the next six months — Attorney General Jeff Sessions (retching noises) argued that Barack Obama’s executive action creating DACA was unconstitutional. By Tuesday night, Trump had decided it’s up to Congress to “legalize DACA” (possibly only for medicinal but not recreational use), and if it doesn’t do so within six months, then Trump will “revisit” the issue.
Like how? Possibly with an executive order? It’s entirely possible that Trump has no idea that Obama instituted DACA in 2012 after Congress failed to pass the DREAM Act over a Republican filibuster, passing the House but getting only 55 votes in the Senate. Or, in Trump math, doing whatever the opposite of that humdinger was he said about losing the Obamacare repeal-and-replace bill “48 to four.”
Here in San Diego, we know immigrants are the of our city, county, & nation.
— Indivisible SanDiego (@SDIndivisible) September 5, 2017
Looking for some action? Check out the Weekly Progressive Calendar, published every Friday in this space, featuring Demonstrations, Rallies, Teach-ins, Meet Ups and other opportunities to get your activism on.
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