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Wednesday, September 06, 2017


The Great Leader

by Tom Sullivan

America would be great again. "Again" being the racial dog whistle in the great leader's campaign slogan. He would even sell you a ball cap — a really great ball cap — with the slogan.

So where was The Great Leader (TGL) yesterday when it came time to announce ending the DACA program (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival)? TGL sent out Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions to do the dirty work of threatening to deport 800,000 residents for whom this country is the only home they’ve ever known. The same Sessions who TGL a few short weeks ago tried to humiliate into resigning because he lacked the nerve to fire Sessions face-to-face.

There has been a flood of commentary against the actions. So, a sampling.

"Heartless," the headline on the Washington Post's lead editorial calls the decision. "The president didn’t have the spine to announce his decision himself," the editors write. So, spineless too. "He shuffled it to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, an anti-immigration extremist who seemed to relish sticking a knife in DACA."

TGL "didn’t even have the guts to do the job himself," the New York Times Editorial Board reiterates, noting the diminutive Sessions did the dirty work TGL couldn't stomach:

Mr. Sessions, a longtime anti-immigrant hard-liner, was more than up to the task. In a short, disingenuous speech, he said a program set up by President Barack Obama in 2012 — known as DACA, for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals — was a lawless policy that “yielded terrible humanitarian consequences” and denied jobs to hundreds of thousands of American citizens. (Mr. Trump echoed these claims in a statement released by the White House.) Mr. Sessions called DACA “an unconstitutional exercise of authority” and said “failure to enforce the laws in the past has put our nation at risk of crime, violence and terrorism.”

False, false, false and false.
Some of it, right out of headlines at Breitbart, Mark Joseph Stern writes at Slate:
Sessions could have given a straightforward speech that criticized the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program’s alleged legal infirmities and urged Congress to legislate a solution. Instead, he slandered DACA’s nearly 800,000 recipients in nativist language with barely concealed racist undertones.
Not that we might have expected any better.

The Post, the Times, Slate and others decry the false narrative presented by TGL's administration. DACA participants have to possess a near-spotless record to be accepted. The program President Obama announced in 2012 did not generate a surge in new immigration. That started in 2008. The notion that his actions were unconstitutional are "nonsense," Ian Millhiser details at Think Progress:
It’s tempting to think of DACA as a single act of the executive branch — the government offers certain immigrants a package of benefits as part of a single, unified program. Legally, however, it is a mistake to envision DACA this way. The program offers its beneficiaries a basket of certain freedoms, including security against deportation, permission to work in the United States, and the opportunity to become eligible for Social Security and Medicare benefits after 10 years of working and paying taxes. So the proper legal question is whether the executive branch has the authority to offer each of these benefits on their own.

The question whether the executive can simply choose not to deport certain individuals turns out to be very easy. As the Supreme Court explained in Arizona v. United States, “a principal feature of the removal system [used to remove immigrants from the country] is the broad discretion exercised by immigration officials.” When confronted with an immigration who is eligible for deportation, executive branch officials still must decide “as an initial matter, must decide whether it makes sense to pursue removal at all.”
Even though some among its leadership on Capitol Hill support retaining the program, based on past experience this is a decision the Republican Party will come to rue, writes James Fallows at The Atlantic:
When listening to Sessions’s announcement, I could not help thinking of Pete Wilson, then governor of my home state of California, exulting over the passage of the state’s famous Proposition 187 in 1994. Wilson, a Republican, had tied his own reelection campaign to passage of Prop 187, which included a number of tough crackdowns on illegal immigrants. It passed; Wilson beat Kathleen Brown—Pat Brown’s daughter, Jerry’s sister—and stayed in office; “We won, you lost, get over it.” But then, as all chronicles of California politics attest, the “getting over it” involved not simply federal courts staying and eventually throwing out Prop 187 (as improper state interference with federal immigration law) but also the near extinction of the Republican Party as a force in current multi-ethnic California. In the nation’s most populous state, Republicans hold no statewide offices at all; make up less than one-third of both the state assembly and the state senate; and hold just over one-quarter of the state’s 53 Congressional seats (14 Republicans, 39 Democrats). And this is under a non-gerrymandered, “fair” redistricting plan.
The country doesn't yet look like California, so the impact might not be as strong. Nevertheless, it could be a decision the GOP will come to regret. Not that TGL thinks that far ahead. Anthony L. Fisher writes at The Week that eliminating DACA is about TGL chalking up another "win" at others' expense. Cruelty is his brand:
Trumpism is a zero-sum worldview — someone has to lose for someone else to win — and winning isn't worth the effort unless your opponent isn't merely defeated but also crushed.
But as enjoyable as crushing others' dreams may be, TGL is faced with huge blowback, tremendous blowback from his DACA announcement. Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg called the decision to end DACA "particularly cruel." As we knew he would, TGL is already waffling.

It's who The Great Leader is.

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