Heartless decision

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There’s no reason people living in our community should be living in fear.

But that’s exactly what’s happened in the wake of the Trump administration’s decision to repeal the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, also known as DACA, with a six-month window for Congress to act. It only serves to hurt families in a mean-spirited way under the guise of solving part of the nation’s immigration problem. They’re essentially pawns in the ongoing chess game of immigration reform.

Former Vice President Joe Biden put it well when he pointed out that these are children who didn’t choose to come to the United States. They pay taxes, have joined the workforce, and some have even joined the military.

“These people are all Americans,” Mr. Biden wrote after the decision by the Trump administration. “So let’s be clear: Throwing them out is cruel. It is inhumane. And it is not America. Congress and the American people now have an obligation to step up and show our neighbors that they’re welcome here, in the only place they’ve ever called home.”

There are 800,000 people nationally, and fewer than 8,000 in Massachusetts, who have been approved under DACA.

It’s hard to get an exact count on how many so-called Dreamers there are here on Martha’s Vineyard, but we know through past stories we’ve done and anecdotally that there are many. They are strong contributors to our community.

Under President Barack Obama’s 2012 executive order, they were able to live openly and come out of the shadows.

Now they’re forced back into hiding, fearful that they could be deported at some point to a country they never called home.

None of it makes any sense.

DACA came with strong, built-in safety mechanisms. Dreamers had to reapply every two years, they couldn’t have felony convictions, school enrollment was required (or a job if they were out of school), and if they went into the military, they would have to be honorably discharged in order to reapply.

Let’s not forget, for the ability to work and go to school in the United States, Dreamers gave the government detailed information, including their date of entry into the country, the length of stay, address, school information, and Social Security numbers.

In a court, an attorney would argue that it’s possibly incriminating evidence that could constitute entrapment should it be used against them.

Take a moment to think about what the Trump administration has done just to the Island of Martha’s Vineyard since taking office.

It limited H-2B visas, not allowing, until the middle of August, returning workers to come back to the Vineyard and work the jobs they’ve been doing for years. See, Donovan. According to the Department of Labor, there were 84,627 H-2B visas issued in 2016. Without the returning-worker exemption, almost 19,000 jobs would have gone unfilled in seasonal U.S. businesses.

It has talked about limiting the J-1 visa program, again a pool of foreign workers that allow Vineyard businesses rely on. According to Sen. Julian Cyr’s office, there are close to 6,000 J-1 students working on the Cape and Islands this summer — many of them filling the gap created by the restricted H-2B visas. About 1,000 of those workers are on Martha’s Vineyard alone.

They do jobs, like housekeeping at inns. Not the kinds of jobs teens or other Islanders are fighting to win.

And, now, this DACA decision could also eliminate Dreamers as part of the workforce.

Not only do they contribute greatly to our economy, but they enrich our communities, as anyone who witnessed the recent immigration exhibit at the Martha’s Vineyard Museum could attest.

The argument by the Trump administration that it’s up to Congress to pass immigration legislation is correct on its face, but the House and Senate have been unwilling to collaborate and cooperate on immigration reform.

And if it’s truly Congress that should be enacting legislation, why wouldn’t President Trump file a bill to reform immigration, rather than use the bullying tactic of a six-month deadline to act or else?

Congress should act quickly to right this heartless wrong.

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20 COMMENTS

    • really ? are you reading bubble gum wrappers again ?
      even the racist pigs at motel 6 are calling up ice to get those illegals out of the country. Too bad they didn’t deport all those “commie” refugees from the soviet union 60 years ago– perhaps you would have a little more understanding.

      • Actually many “refugees” from the Soviets were sent back, many to their death at the hands of the Russians. I believe they called it the “country of origin” doctrine.

      • The article s about DACA and no one is getting thrown out until congress cleans up the legislation. Please read dondondon

      • Dondondon it was precisely the Dems under naive FDR who had a love affair with Uncle Joe ( Stalin) who signed agreements at Teheran and Potsdam giving Stalin rights to stop people like me from immigrating. It was also FDR who turned back the ship St Louis full of Jews who some think ( I am not one of them) give Hitler the cue to begin extermination because he thought FDR wouldn’t act.

  1. The author nailed one part of this letter:
    “None of it makes any sense.”
    However in reference to their own argument.

  2. Obama exceeded Presidential authority in the DACA matter. Trump is simply giving Congress the opportunity to codify the excess into law. In this country the Legislative Branch makes the laws – the Executive Branch enforces them. The snowflakes would know that if they paid attention in Civics class.

    • Snowflakes did pay attention in civics class and know executive orders are quite constitutionally legitimate. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Executive_order_(United_States)
      It’s time you quit bashing snowflakes for their ignorance. You could have had at least some justification to criticize our “weak” president, who ruled by executive order while you believed the “untruths” that candidate trump was throwing around. But now, it seems the shoe is on the other foot, and our “great leader” is making America great again by trampling on the constitutional rights of our citizens with — guess what ? —wait– executive orders !
      90 of them in his first 100 days . http://www.businessinsider.com/trump-executive-orders-memorandum-proclamations-presidential-action-guide-2017-1
      And just so you know– “W” Bush signed 291 —More than Obama — 276–
      trump is gonna crush those numbers–
      And just in case YOU were not paying attention in civics class– you can catch up right here—
      https://www.ixl.com/social-studies/civics

        • hanley– look up trumps executive orders– they are in large part directed at u.s. citizens.
          http://www.philstockworld.com/2017/02/01/heres-the-complete-list-of-donald-trumps-executive-orders/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIhNLy5OCo1gIVDweGCh3rrAJkEAAYASAAEgLCv_D_BwE
          you can have your very narrow view of the situation in our country and blame the “others” just like a certain political leader did in the late 1930’s.
          And you are correct– DACA beneficiaries are not u.s citizens– but the great majority of them have never known any other country. Only speak English, and have been contributing to our society for years– now they are coming into adulthood, have been educated here, and know the culture. They are ready to enter the workforce — and NOW you want to throw them out ? Highly educated people with skill sets unique to people who have lived all their lives in the United States. What is the point ?
          We have 800 thousand people who walk like Americans, talk like Americans and act like Americans, and you want to give them no path to citizenship– and deport them to a country they have never known–
          Let me ask you if you have any knowledge about the most brilliant minds of the 1930’s and 40’s people like Einstein and Oppenheimer — they fled persecution in Germany and came here — they were not citizens — they came to the land of the free and the home of the brave– the country that takes in the huddled masses– the light of liberty beside the golden door– and they defeated the scourge of racism, xenophobia and genocide that nearly claimed the planet..
          DACA victims are not citizens– they are people — do you understand that ? they are humans who have grown up here– it is the only life they have ever known. If you, as an American citizen can justify such cruel treatment to this group of people , i would suggest that you relinquish your citizenship and go to some oppressive country where you might be happier.. but I, as a citizen of this great country, choose to embrace the values this country was founded upon. Compassion, tolerance and inclusiveness.

          • You play the Nazi card way too early in a discussion (Godwin’s Law), silly too, since I substantially agree that something should be done for the DACA beneficiaries.

  3. I get what you are trying to say, but it’s an emotional argument. It has little to do with legislative reality. Cruel is keeping these people in limbo, passing the buck to the next president( like so many other things) and not negotiating some law which would end this debate. You can’t hate the man for being a realist.

    • hanley.
      Thanks for providing a link to something that is probably relevant to the conversation. However, it is from the Wall street journal, and if you don’t pay, you don’t read.
      If you are familiar with the concept of “cognitive dissonance” you might realize why it’s subscribers (often people with right wing views) are reluctant to criticize it, and hold the opinions put forth in it a bit more strongly then other publications. It’s a pretty good business model to have an online readership that actually pays to read their opinions, while the majority of publications give their content away for free. Even the Ny times lets you read a certain number of articles a month for free.

          • hanley
            I was not able to read the article you linked to me. If I criticize the WSJ for it’s greed, it is not in any way a criticism of the people who read it. They have the same basic psychological defense mechanisms as readers of mother earth news, or info wars–. my point is that the more you are invested, in any way, with any sort of organization, publication, or political party, the more likely you are to defend it regardless of the accuracy, integrity or intention. My comment ( in my opinion ) was in no way an “ad hominem” attack– it was not at all directed towards you personally — specifically — I do not feel in any way that you deserve any association with the political party associated with Godwin’s law. if you feel in any way that i associated you with them , I apologize. it was not my intent to personally criticize you.

  4. hanley –Godwin’s law does not apply to my comment. I alluded to people who fled persecution. It just so happens that the victims I referred to were being persecuted at the hands of the National socialist German worker’s party. My point is, we didn’t send those people back– although there were cases when Jews were denied entry into the U.S, and were sent back to Germany where many of them died. (ss st Louis) .
    But to the point– why has there been no agreement about the fate of these people ? I agree with the whale — It is cruel to keep these people in limbo. There should be agreement on this, but one side of the debate just wants to throw them out — trump has said that he thought one of the most inhumane programs this country has ever implemented (operation wetback, 1954 ) as “very effective” . Perhaps it was, but I would think we have come out from under rocks and have some understanding of the human condition. It is no surprise that trump, and his conservative base will not agree to anything short of just getting them out of the country. Deferred Action– Obama couldn’t get congress to even consider a debate — so he did what he could legally do. And trump has legally disposed of it. To replace it, we need the racists at the highest levels of our government to negotiate a solution. Unfortunately, their “solution” is not much better than the “final solution”. There– now you can accuse me of invoking Godwin’s law. 😉

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