A cruel twist for the nation’s young immigrants

Let’s be clear about what just happened to the program that shielded immigrants brought here as children from deportation.

The Trump administration, after the president feigned sympathy for so-called dreamers, announced Tuesday it is phasing out the program but giving Congress six months to come up with a substitute — a Congress that has been so dysfunctional it hasn’t been able to approve legislation with an iota of controversy.

For instance, “amnesty” is what critics label more recent immigration reform efforts. So, President Trump, in announcing this end, called it an “amnesty-first” program, also invoking the “rule of law.” And some cited the need to keep our communities safe.

But under what rule of law should children be held liable for the alleged lawbreaking of their parents? And there is absolutely no evidence that dreamers are threats to the community — quite the opposite.

This is what President Obama, though he had a deplorable deportation record generally, understood. This country has essentially been the only home these immigrants know. They’ve been educated at public expense in our schools. They are assets in which we’ve invested — to be nurtured, not deported.

daca

This is why Obama started the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. It allowed an estimated 800,000 immigrants to gain work permits and other benefits. But in signing up for the program, they gave the government their personal information. So, imagine the fear that this immigrant is now feeling, though the administration says it will not specifically be targeting this community for deportation. However, it simultaneously stressed that they won’t necessarily be shielded from it either.

Some of the immigrants who got their work permits will be able to renew their two-year legal stays. This applies if their permits expire before March 5. But those whose permits expire March 6 and after will be deportable if Congress doesn’t act. And this, unfortunately, is the majority of that 800,000 who got the permits.

President Trump tried to distance himself from this decision, letting Attorney General Jeff Sessions, an immigration hardliner, do the heavy lifting in announcing it. But it comes on the heels of his pardon for Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who made his reputation targeting immigrants and Latinos. Got it? Children brought here by their parents and are now contributing to our society might get deported, but the sheriff who illegally targeted and detained Latinos received a pardon.

Trump owns this.

Our hope is that Congress surprises us on this. It must — led by Texas’ delegation.

How should we respond to Vegas carnage?

Las Vegas is arguably America’s playground. On Sunday evening it became yet another killing ground. Rapid gunfire split the sound of joy and revelry during an outdoor concert attended by as many as 22,000, again posing the question of how Americans should to respond to a type of carnage that has become too common.

Here’s an idea: Wait for all the facts to come in before applying motives to people or groups of people.

There are conflicting reports about the shooter. He had “run ins” with local police but no criminal record in Las Vegas. Or he had virtually no criminal record. claimed responsibility for the shooting, but authorities say he had no connections and say his “belief system” is unknown. Moreover, has a record of claiming responsibility quickly even if there is no link — the better to burnish its reputation for savagery.

So, what can our reaction be to this latest tragedy?

image2

Deep and profound sadness, certainly. As the president said Monday, unity. A resolve that the hateful among us will not inform our own beliefs. Much is unknown about Paddock as of this writing, but hatefulness is certainly a belief system we can safely assume for anyone who fires on and kills innocents. And this reaction: a dedication to the notion that, whatever Paddock’s background and ideology, we can calmly and reasonably discuss any policy implications that arise from this latest tragedy.

We must have that discussion.

Yes, more people die every year in random violence, suicide and auto and other accidents, but mass shootings also deserve our attention for the very reason that makes them mass shootings. They are periods of concentrated action, designed to kill as many people in as short a period as a hateful person or persons can accomplish.

Our hearts and thoughts go out to the victims and their families.