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Navarrette: Dreamers debacle leaves plenty of anger to go around

Sept. 9, 2017 at 11:47 p.m.


For writers, happiness is overrated. Some of the best columns have been fueled by anger.

And now that President Trump has turned upside down the lives of about 800,000 hardworking but undocumented young people — all by springing a trap set by his predecessor, Barack Obama, to win re-election in 2012 — I have plenty of anger to go around.

Above all, I'm angry with Trump. Whether he is calling Mexican immigrants criminals, questioning whether a "Mexican" federal judge born in the United States can adjudicate fairly or pardoning retired Sheriff Joe Arpaio after the lawman-turned-outlaw defied a federal court order and continued to profile Latinos, this president seems to enjoy inflicting pain and humiliation on America's largest minority group.

Now, in the deepest cut, the White House has ended the program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Congress has six months to find a solution that allows recipients to stay in the country legally.

I'm no psychiatrist. But the same president who appeared to defend white racists at Charlottesville sees red when it comes to brown people.

Trump will never be remembered by history as a great president; he's too small, weak, petty and thin-skinned. But he may well go down as the most brazenly anti-Latino president in the past 60 years. It was in the 1956 presidential election that the Republican ticket of Dwight Eisenhower and Richard Nixon threw out the first pitch to Latino voters in Nixon's home state of California and put that demographic on the political map.

Thanks to Hurricane Donald, the GOP now stands accused of — as NBC News veteran Tom Brokaw put it — "declaring war on Hispanics in this country." On MSNBC's "Morning Joe," where the liberal hosts seem to care more about defending immigrants since Trump became president, Brokaw called the termination of DACA "a continuation of the Republican determination to cut out Hispanic votes on their side, for as long as we can see."

In the new horror movie "It," there is that moment when a group of children realize a clown is evil.

For Dreamers — who came here as children and, intent on conquering the world, became better at being "American" than the native-born, who think the world owes them a living — that moment came this week when the clown in the Oval Office showed his teeth.

Meanwhile, let's not forget the accomplice. Trump may have fired the shot but it was Obama who loaded the gun.

Half a million undocumented young people who wanted to believe that this country loved them half as much as they loved the country put their trust in the pretty words of a president who sprinkled them like fertilizer. In exchange for a two-year work permit, and a chance to prove themselves to America, they foolishly handed over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement their fingerprints, home addresses and the names of undocumented family members.

Good plan. What could go wrong? This time bomb was bound to explode. That was the idea.

Stick with me. The D in DACA stands for "deferred." What is being deferred? Despite what some wildly misinformed elements of the Latino left tried to tell me last week, it was never legalization. It was always deportation. It's baffling to me that there are liberals so eager to praise Obama that they actually believe DACA put young people on a path to citizenship.

That's idiotic. DACA was only intended to do one thing: Put young people on a bus or plane to their home country. In fact, when you think about it, those 800,000 young people who enrolled are already in ICE custody. They're just on a temporary furlough.

We might as well add them to the tally of the 3 million people Obama deported the old-fashioned way to alleviate the anxiety of African-Americans and white union members who aren't up to the task of competing with foreign workers.

My friends on the left think I'm being too hard on the Dreamers. When you're drowning, they say, you'll reach for anything.

Maybe. But that shouldn't include an anvil.

Americans are right to be angry. Let's channel that anger into something positive. We need something that DACA wasn't: a permanent legislative solution. And instead of an elitist giveaway to Dreamers, we need a remedy that extends to their parents. And we needed it, oh, about five years ago.

— Ruben Navarrette is a syndicated columnist with The Washington Post Writers Group.

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