I know that some immigrant rights advocates dubbed Obama the "Deporter-in-Chief" for creating "the most sophisticated and well-funded human-expulsion machine in the history of the country," as The Nation put it last year. But that portrait of the previous administration's position on immigration is becoming more complicated as new numbers and more analysis emerges, and it doesn't change the fact that Obama's statement on Trump's DACA decision gets straight to the heart of the matter using language that even your Trumpian uncle can understand:
Let’s be clear: the action taken today isn’t required legally. It’s a political decision, and a moral question. Whatever concerns or complaints Americans may have about immigration in general, we shouldn’t threaten the future of this group of young people who are here through no fault of their own, who pose no threat, who are not taking away anything from the rest of us. They are that pitcher on our kid’s softball team, that first responder who helps out his community after a disaster, that cadet in ROTC who wants nothing more than to wear the uniform of the country that gave him a chance. Kicking them out won’t lower the unemployment rate, or lighten anyone’s taxes, or raise anybody’s wages.
And that's just it. Aside from the cascade of bald-faced lies that poured from Jeff Sessions's mouth this morning, there is no economic or existential justification for this destruction of lives and livelihoods. Dreamers save lives, massively contribute to the economy, and even pay into Social Security and without receiving benefits. And as Vox reports, many Dreamers don't even know they're undocumented until they try obtaining a driver's license.
There is only a racist and political excuse for rescinding DACA, and it's pretty obvious: All he wants to do, to the extent that he's capable of "wanting to do" anything at all, is rile up his own base after months of inaction and basic administrative blunders.
So far, every member of Washington's congressional delegation has at least professed interest in working to draft immigration legislation. But if Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell don't push for Dreamer legislation the way they did with Trumpcare, it won't happen, despite the fact that some claim the votes for such an act are already there:
Vote-counters think we have the votes in both houses of Congress to pass the DREAM Act *right now.* Question is if leadership holds the vote
— Ben Wikler (@benwikler) September 5, 2017
If, by some weird rule of political carnival, Trump's threat forces Congress to pass legislation to protect the 800,000 people whose lives are on the line, he can tell his supporters that he tried to "fix" the immigration system but Congress stopped him. If Congress does nothing to protect Dreamers and a riot ensues, Trump can just blame the partisan system again and appeal to voters for more power.
But no matter what happens, Trump will continue, as he always has, to blame the real effects of economic inequality on immigrants instead of on Wall Street chicanery and the general failure of the wage system.
Anyway, here's the rest of Obama's statement. If you tear up during the second-to-last paragraph, you can blame it on ash from the wildfires burning out the west.