Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Congress must act to save the dream

(Gretchen Keller/ Daily Collegian)

The uproar over President Donald Trump’s decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) has been heartwarming, yet very much expected. Seventy six percent of Americans feel that children brought to the United States should be allowed legal status, and a majority of that 76 percent feel they should be allowed to follow a path to citizenship.

If Donald Trump’s xenophobia was the only motivating factor for the controversial rescission, surely DACA would have been shown the door shortly after Inauguration Day. Eight months into this administration, Obama’s policy was still the law, and it will be the law for at least another six months. Trump’s procrastinated rescission of DACA can be clearly explained by two factors: the scandal-plagued first quarter in which Trump had a weak electoral mandate, and new pressure from Republican governors to rescind the order by Sept. 5.

The following day, protests and marches sliced through Brooklyn, Los Angeles, Washington D.C. and small towns across the country, while Northampton held a touching vigil for those threatened by the rescission.

Even if you believe that Trump’s timing was coincidental and that fears of defending Obama’s executive discretion against GOP attorneys general didn’t motivate him to act, take a cue from Republican congressmen. They are quickly distancing themselves and signaling congressional efforts to pass a compromise bill to align their party with American public opinion. South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, a frequent critic of Trump and sponsor of the 2011 DREAM Act, hinted at his support for a comprehensive amnesty bill. Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley called the crisis an “opportunity for compromise between people that want DACA plus a lot of other things dealing with legal immigration,” as if to suggest bipartisan negotiation between Senate Democrats and Republicans.

Polling from Politico shows that 57 percent of the Republican electorate favors DACA’s provisions, and their representatives control Congress and the White House. If the Republican party has an image problem, passing a generous DREAM act could be a cure-all. Leading up to the 2012 presidential election, 42 percent of Latino voters agreed that Barack Obama had failed on the issue of immigration reform, and that they would not commit to voting for his reelection. News of Obama’s executive action on DACA sharply reversed the apathy from Latino voters, as Obama took 71 percent of Hispanic votes in that election. Even if passing a new DREAM Act doesn’t replicate the effect for Donald Trump’s re-election campaign, it might at least stop the bleeding. If moderate Republicans join the outcry over Trump’s decision to separate families and deport Americans to countries they don’t call home, then there is no reason that a comprehensive solution would be denied.

Historically, minority parties have performed well in midterm elections, and despite favorable House and Senate maps for Republicans, the Democrats are almost bound to pick up some seats. Even if a compromise on immigration reform wouldn’t outright help Republicans prevent losses in 2018, it would certainly show incoming Democrats that they’re ready to work on the coming year’s greatest challenges including infrastructure and health care.

It’s so rare that voters of both parties agree on a truly common-sense platform with majority support that’s in the national spotlight. Allowing a path to citizenship to fall by the wayside when it is so distinctly achievable would be a monumental failure for the federal government and for citizens who claim to have an impact on how they are governed. If Republican representatives can’t represent their own constituents and pass universally popular legislation, why should Americans have any hope that more controversial issues like single-payer health care or tax reform are achievable?

William Keve is a Collegian columnist and can be reached at [email protected].

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  • S

    SittingBullSep 14, 2017 at 10:04 am

    It seems a fair offer is on the table. Permit legitimate DACA-eligible people to stay (so much fraud rooted in these things), send back all illegal aliens with any history of violent crime and start protecting the border.

    The hysteria over illegal immigration is insane, and fostered by the crazy media, idiotic university types and the extreme leftists who control the Democratic party. No other nation would permit themselves to be invaded like we have. Being against ILLEGAL immigration is NOT the same thing as being against ALL immigration. We let in more than 3 million people LEGALLY every single year. How illegal immigration became equated with all immigration I will never understand.

    One thing that no one ever brings up: we are consistently being told that almost half the jobs in the current economy will be rendered obsolete by technology. Welfare has been rising to the point where pretty much 50% of all Americans are receiving support or are outright on the dole courtesy of the other 50%. The jobs of the future are only expected to fill a fraction of the jobs lost to automation. Why on GOD’s GREEN EARTH (for those of you who believe in God) would we invite/allow MILLIONS AND MILLIONS of people with no skills, health issues, psychological issues (from living in war zones or under corrupt governments) into an economy that is transforming into an ever more elitist one where coding skills will mean everything? In a society that behind the scenes is already discussing “Basic Income” as a substitute for welfare that up to 80% of the population will conceivably be entitled to? It is clear that our economy, health, law enforcement and educational systems are totally overwhelmed with the people we have here, so WHAT exactly is the reason to let in another 20 million third-worlders? Is it because they “just want a better life” or to make America less white? Are those reasons really worth destroying what’s left of this great nation?

    Wake up, UMASS. Your utopian intentions are good but so naive. Prisons in about 8 border states, not to mention New York, Illinois and other places, are overwhelmed with illegal aliens. The notion that people just want to come here for a better life, as if that were justification for taking them in, is a fabrication. Maybe not every Mexican is a rapist, but if the disingenuous media weren’t so cynical and literal, they would report the truth that property crimes, violent crimes, murder, rape, drug dealing, gun trafficking and human trafficking are primary provinces of illegal aliens and the cartels. There is so much more to this story than some family from Central America just wanting a better life by picking your vegetables.

  • N

    NitzakhonSep 14, 2017 at 9:39 am

    If the population doesn’t go with the program, elect a new one.

    How the Left Wins Elections by Transforming Nations