navarrette column sig

State, national columnists

‘Dreamers’ represent a GOP nightmare

By From page A7 | August 07, 2014

SAN DIEGO — I once used the term “spoiled brats” to describe “dreamers,” those young undocumented immigrants brought here by their parents who demand special accommodations such as the deferred action program that President Barack Obama unveiled in 2012.

They’re spoiled because they get seats in the lifeboat and tons of positive media attention.

Yet now I think the real spoiled brats are those House Republicans who – with no skill for leading the downtrodden – settle for punishing the defenseless. The lawmakers resemble the petulant child who loses a ball game and then storms into the house and kicks the dog. Having lost the debate, GOP lawmakers recently went to the House floor and kicked the “dreamers.”

In a vote that was purely symbolic because the Senate had adjourned, and because Obama had threatened a veto, 212 Republicans joined with four Democrats to pass a spiteful and unnecessary measure demanding an end to a program called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. Under the program, eligible young people can apply for a work permit and a two-year reprieve from deportation.

The GOP lawmakers launched their gratuitous attack on DACA under the pretext of dealing with the border crisis involving thousands of unaccompanied minors from Central America.

That’s rubbish. One has absolutely nothing to do with the other. You don’t stop more children from coming to the United States by punishing teenagers and 20-somethings who are already here, and who have been here most of their lives.

If House Republicans were looking for reasons to challenge DACA, I could have provided a list. The program is imperfect.

To start with, DACA was quickly cut and pasted and not thought out, as immigration attorneys would learn. The implementation was sloppy, and “dreamers” were slow to sign up. Some of those encouraged to apply for the temporary deferment were actually eligible for permanent legal status.

The emphasis was on politics over policy. One of the main reasons Obama unveiled DACA in June 2012 was because, two months earlier, it was widely reported that Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida was working on a GOP bill that would have offered permanent legal status to the same group. The White House beat him to the punch.

Also, the mechanics are dubious. Applicants turn themselves into authorities, get fingerprinted, create a file with personal information including home addresses – all for a temporary fix to a complicated problem. Despite what some claim, DACA isn’t an executive order but simply a policy change at the Department of Homeland Security. This means it can be easily undone by this administration or the next one.

Lastly, the program is elitist and unfair. It gives special treatment to students but not their parents and younger siblings.

But DACA didn’t cause the border crisis.

Republicans think the program is the bureaucratic equivalent of a pied piper that, just since October 2013, has lured at least 57,000 child refugees from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador to cross the U.S.-Mexico border.

This is a fairy tale concocted by opportunistic politicians who despise DACA because they fear it produces future Latino Democrats.

What a moronic bunch. Do you know what produces future Latino Democrats? Present-day Republicans, with their gift for angering Latinos.

The GOP’s arguments connecting DACA with the arrival of the child refugees quickly fell apart. To start with, it is now known the administration first became aware of an unexpected surge in minors from Central America coming across the border as early as 2011, and DACA didn’t start until August 2012. Also, the refugee kids don’t meet the cutoff date to be eligible for the program. Conservatives insist that these children from Central America know every detail about DACA. But the kids somehow missed the fine print about how the program is not for them?

House Republicans are afraid of DACA. Yet they don’t have the courage to state their true intentions. By blaming it for the border crisis, they’re hiding like cowards behind a cloak of lies and false assumptions.

The issue here isn’t border security. It’s the Republicans’ insecurity – that if DACA recipients are eventually given citizenship and the right to cast ballots, the GOP will never be in a position to compete for those voters.

That’s true. And, thanks to their antics, it’s becoming more true all the time.

Ruben Navarrette is a nationally syndicated columnist with the Washington Post Writers Group. Reach him at [email protected]

Ruben Navarrette


Discussion | 9 comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Please read our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy before commenting.

  • rlw895August 07, 2014 - 5:06 am

    Yes, what a moronic bunch. One can only imagine mental prowess of the people who voted for them.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Mr. SmithAugust 07, 2014 - 7:39 am

    Says the guy who voted for Obama. TWICE!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • rlw895August 07, 2014 - 10:35 am

    It was also voting against McCain/Palin and Romney/Ryan.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Mr. SmithAugust 07, 2014 - 12:52 pm

    Do you think ISIS would be well on its way to establishing a Muslim caliphate and super terrorist stronghold in Iraq and the rest of the middle east if McCain or Romney had been elected? Would Putin be poised to re-create the Russian Empire if McCain or Romney had been elected?

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • rlw895August 07, 2014 - 2:59 pm

    Mr.S: Good questions, but you're exaggerating where both ISIS and Putin are headed. Obama plays with more cards than our military. Consequently, he is much more patient than either of those presidents would have been. I don't regret voting for Obama over them. Not even close.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • DanielAugust 07, 2014 - 4:01 pm

    RLW you're actually satisfied with Obama? Amazing, you're one of the very few, are you sure it's not delusional because I see nothing positive not even for self described "progressives"

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • And now for something different....August 07, 2014 - 4:05 pm

    per rlw895" "Obama plays with more cards than our military." Some of us think he is playing without a full deck. And all the "playing" he does is on the links, and poorly at that, too, by all accounts.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • StRAugust 07, 2014 - 4:26 pm

    The above was not me

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • JagAugust 07, 2014 - 7:24 pm

    Tell you what, Send them all home, I don't care if you have been her 10,15 or 20 years If you are not legal take your a** back home, Don't want to break up the family? fine take them to. Now lets see if we have enough jobs and support for American's and then and only then we will see how many we can let back in to OUR country

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Recent Articles

  • Enter your email address to subscribe and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • Special Publications »

    Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Terms of Service (updated 4/30/2015) and Privacy Policy (updated 4/7/2015).
    Copyright (c) 2016 McNaughton Newspapers, Inc., a family-owned local media company that proudly publishes the Daily Republic, Mountain Democrat, Davis Enterprise, Village Life and other community-driven publications.