After months of lies and fear mongering about immigrants by the Trump administration and its utterly shameless supporters in Congress, and as many months of ineptitude and utter spinelessness by Democrats in the U.S. Senate and House, the Senate defeated several immigration proposals Thursday. This leaves Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients, often called “Dreamers,” without a safety net.
None of the proposals were particularly good. Numerous Democrats co-sponsored one of the worst of the these, calling what was known as the Schumer-Rounds-Collins Amendment a “compromise” measure crafted in the name of “common sense.” This is the ultimate in inside-the-Beltway self-congratulation: Any proposal based on lies and the allocation of billions of dollars to solve a problem that does not exist is, by definition, not based on “common sense,” and certainly is not a compromise for any of the people actually affected by this legislation.
Apparently the only sense this makes is in the minds of weak-kneed Democratic senators who somehow see it as a goal to “compromise” with a white supremacist administration that stokes hatred for people of color and immigrants, and lies with abandon in doing so. Indeed, Democrats have displayed no willingness or ability whatsoever to make a coherent case for what is true and what is just, notwithstanding months of grandstanding about their very deep concern for Dreamers.
The lack of seriousness with which the Senate is taking the lives of the millions of undocumented immigrants in this country can be summed up in Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) flippant remark last week: “Whoever gets to 60 wins.” In saying so, he was treating the votes as though he were running a pick-up game and completely erasing what is at stake—the lives of literally millions of people.
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The most modest and least problematic of the amendments in the view of most immigrants’ right’s groups was the McCain-Coons Amendment, named for Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Chris Coons (D-DE). McCain-Coons would have enabled Dreamers to qualify for permanent residency, but did not offer a pathway to citizenship for them, nor address the plight of their family members in this country. On a positive note, it would not have placed limits on future legal immigration, and rather than allocating billions of dollars to further militarize the border, it required a comprehensive study of border security needs required to be completed in one year.
[W]hat he’s doing is requiring local law enforcement to use their local resources to work with ICE to detain people and, unlike under the Obama administration, where there was a set of priorities and people with felonies were a priority and Dreamers were not a priority, there’s no prioritization anymore. And this administration has even said they’re not going to go after Dreamers but if they apprehend Dreamers, they’re going to be deported. So they’re basically trying to get a force multiplier out of local law enforcement and Philadelphia has said no to that.
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