FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Law, Order and the Dreamers

Photo by Molly Adams | CC BY 2.0

Put yourself in the shoes of a typical “Dreamer” — one of the hundreds of thousands of undocumented youth brought here as small children.

When you were six years old, your mother crossed the Mexican border and carried you into the United States. Although you’ve been here ever since, some people say you must be deported because you’re “illegal.”

True, they might admit, you had no choice about entering unlawfully. Your parents made that decision for you when you were a small child.

But now you’re grown up, they say. You became an adult when you turned 18, so you should have obeyed the law at that point and gone back to Mexico. Instead, you chose to break the law by remaining in America. You’re not entitled to amnesty.

Some people actually argue this. But can anyone honestly say that’s the decision they would make if they were a Dreamer?

If you’re a typical recipient of DACA status — that is, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals — you’ve never left the United States since you arrived, you speak perfect English, and the only schools you’ve gone to are American schools. You have few or no memories of Mexico (or wherever your parents came from), and the only life you know is an American life.

You graduated from an American high school and are now working an American job or studying at an American college. You’ve never been in trouble with the law. You work hard and pay taxes.

Like most Americans, you hope and strive for a better life for yourself and your children. (One in four Dreamers have children who are U.S. citizens.) This certainly describes the young people I’ve helped, as a lawyer, to win DACA protection.

If you were in this situation, would you choose to leave your family, friends, community, and the life you’ve led for 12 years or more — merely because someone called you “illegal”? Of course not.

In the first place, it’s not so clear that the law requires deporting these people. The Trump administration is trying to end the DACA program, which protected Dreamers from deportation, but a federal district judge recently suspended those efforts.

But in any event, 12 years of living in our country created legitimate expectations that cannot fairly be ignored. The claim that we have no choice because “the law is the law” is a monstrous falsehood. There is always discretion to temper law with justice, mercy, and common sense.

The demand that we expel 800,000 young people who are in this situation is a demand that we enshrine cruelty as national policy. Each of these Dreamers is a unique human being with needs, hopes, fears, and dreams. They should never be treated as pawns in someone else’s political game.

Justice must prevail, not callous rigidity. Save the Dreamers!

More articles by:

December 10, 2018
Jacques R. Pauwels
Foreign Interventions in Revolutionary Russia
Richard Klin
The Disasters of War
Katie Fite
Rebranding Bundy
Gary Olson
A Few Thoughts on Politics and Personal Identity
Patrick Cockburn
Brexit Britain’s Crisis of Self-Confidence Will Only End in Tears and Rising Nationalism
Andrew Moss
Undocumented Citizen
Dean Baker
Trump and China: Going With Patent Holders Against Workers
Lawrence Wittner
Reviving the Nuclear Disarmament Movement: a Practical Proposal
Dan Siegel
Thoughts on the 2018 Elections and Beyond
Thomas Knapp
Election 2020: I Can Smell the Dumpster Fires Already
Weekend Edition
December 07, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Steve Hendricks
What If We Just Buy Off Big Fossil Fuel? A Novel Plan to Mitigate the Climate Calamity
Jeffrey St. Clair
Cancer as Weapon: Poppy Bush’s Radioactive War on Iraq
Paul Street
The McCain and Bush Death Tours: Establishment Rituals in How to be a Proper Ruler
Jason Hirthler
Laws of the Jungle: The Free Market and the Continuity of Change
Ajamu Baraka
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights at 70: Time to De-Colonize Human Rights!
Andrew Levine
Thoughts on Strategy for a Left Opposition
Jennifer Matsui
Dead of Night Redux: A Zombie Rises, A Spook Falls
Rob Urie
Degrowth: Toward a Green Revolution
Binoy Kampmark
The Bomb that Did Not Detonate: Julian Assange, Manafort and The Guardian
Robert Hunziker
The Deathly Insect Dilemma
Robert Fisk
Spare Me the American Tears for the Murder of Jamal Khashoggi
Joseph Natoli
Tribal Justice
Ron Jacobs
Getting Pushed Off the Capitalist Cliff
Macdonald Stainsby
Unist’ot’en Camp is Under Threat in Northern Canada
Senator Tom Harkin
Questions for Vice-President Bush on Posada Carriles
W. T. Whitney
Two Years and Colombia’s Peace Agreement is in Shreds
Ron Jacobs
Getting Pushed Off the Capitalist Cliff
Ramzy Baroud
The Conspiracy Against Refugees
David Rosen
The Swamp Stinks: Trump & Washington’s Rot
Raouf Halaby
Wall-to-Wall Whitewashing
Daniel Falcone
Noam Chomsky Turns 90
Dean Baker
An Inverted Bond Yield Curve: Is a Recession Coming?
Nick Pemberton
The Case For Chuck Mertz (Not Noam Chomsky) as America’s Leading Intellectual
Ralph Nader
New Book about Ethics and Whistleblowing for Engineers Affects Us All!
Dan Kovalik
The Return of the Nicaraguan Contras, and the Rise of the Pro-Contra Left
Jeremy Kuzmarov
Exposing the Crimes of the CIAs Fair-Haired Boy, Paul Kagame, and the Rwandan Patriotic Front
Jasmine Aguilera
Lessons From South of the Border
Manuel García, Jr.
A Formula for U.S. Election Outcomes
Sam Pizzigati
Drug Company Execs Make Millions Misleading Cancer Patients. Here’s One Way to Stop Them
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Agriculture as Wrong Turn
James McEnteer
And That’s The Way It Is: Essential Journalism Books of 2018
Chris Gilbert
Biplav’s Communist Party of Nepal on the Move: Dispatch by a Far-Flung Bolivarian
Judith Deutsch
Siloed Thinking, Climate, and Disposable People: COP 24 and Our Discontent
Jill Richardson
Republicans Don’t Want Your Vote to Count
John Feffer
‘Get Me Outta Here’: Trump Turns the G20 into the G19
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail