Cruel ironies arise from the latest mass shooting, this one at a South Florida high school where a gunman took apparent revenge on students and teachers in halls he once walked. One irony: the cries of supposed grief and anguish from national leaders for young victims, even as many of these same leaders do everything they can to exile nearly 2 million young individuals whose only crime is they were born in a foreign land and came to America through no fault of their own.
Republican radicals and Democratic opportunists seek to confound attempts by decent Republicans and Democrats to prevent Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients from deportation at a time when even President Trump, for all his rhetoric, makes a promising offer to save them. As U.S. Sen. John Cornyn told Texas press this week, at times it seems certain political bands pretending to care about so-called “Dreamers” are trying to wreck the deal. Cornyn was speaking of Democrats but might as well be talking about some members of his own party — including our most mercurial president.
“In the meantime, the president has made what I would consider to be an extraordinarily generous offer to the DACA recipients,” Cornyn said. “Not only would it cover the 690,000 who signed up for this [DACA] program but it would encompass everyone eligible — some 1.8 million people. And he didn’t just offer them a continuation of the current status or some other legal status, he offered them a path toward American citizenship, which of course is an extraordinary offer to anyone by anyone.”
It is a considerable offer. The president’s bargain squares with polls that show even a majority of Republicans — many of them hardliners on immigration — make a compassionate exception for those who entered our country illegally as minors with parents or guardians. As former federal judge Ken Starr once reminded us on this topic in these pages, when a police officer pulls over a motorist for speeding, he doesn’t ticket the kids in the back seat.
Indeed, many DACA-eligible individuals were raised as red-blooded Americans, every bit as your children were. And if this nation is to truly imagine itself just and Christian, then it must take special consideration of these young people.
Yes, the president demands stronger border security in return, though by now many administration officials and even Trump himself acknowledge this would not be a solid wall “from sea to shining sea” but a combination of boots on the ground, technology and fencing employed in different combinations dependent on such circumstances as topography.
Yet reasonable compromise means no one, not even a president, gets everything he or she wants. Democrats quibbling over immigration policy niceties should remember that they’re in the minority in Congress and the president won the 2016 election primarily because of his immigration views. By the same token, Republicans obviously trying to scotch the deal with amendments such as one on sanctuary cities should remember how easily Capitol Hill can be lost in yet another election. As Cornyn said of a long elusive agreement this week: “Now is the time and now is our opportunity and I hope we won’t blow it.”