Will the Dreamers survive their President’s racism?

Nearly 700,000 Dreamers—more than 618,000 of them of Mexican origin—are being used these days as political bargaining chips of the game between the Congress and the White House

Trump administration's decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program represents a blow to young undocumented immigrants, "dreamers," who have been shielded from deportation under the program – Photo: Eduardo Muñoz/AFP
English 19/01/2018 18:52 Gabriel Moyssen Mexico City Actualizada 12:25

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There is no doubt about it: Donald Trump, the President of the United States, does not want any immigrants from the so-called developing world in his country. Therefore, his next target is the nearly 700,000 Dreamers—more than 618,000 of them of Mexican origin—who are being used these days as political bargaining chips of the game between the Congress and the White House.

There can be no doubt about it, especially after the shameful and well-known insult that has unveiled the true nature of the U.S. President’s racism and illiteracy, labeling Haiti, El Salvador, and the entire African continent as “s–thole countries” just because their immigrant communities have worked tirelessly to build the American wealth and they are now asking for federal protection against the danger of deportation and to stay in the U.S. as what they are: law-abiding people.

Let’s review the latest facts to sustain our prediction regarding the Dreamers, given the insistence shown by the U.S. President to reconcile the future of this particular group and the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program instituted by his predecessor, Barack Obama, with the negotiations with Capitol Hill to prevent a weekend government shutdown over the spending bill for this fiscal year, that should include USD$18 billion for the wall in the Mexican border.

As an ominous sign, the administration announced on January 8 that it will terminate the provisional residency permits of 200,000 Salvadorans who have lived in the U.S. since 2001, leaving them to face deportation. The White House previously annulled the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Nicaraguans and Haitians, and it is expected to cut off Hondurans later this year.

Thereafter, the U.S. President radicalized his position and sabotaged four months of delicate negotiations between Republicans and Democrats in the Senate over DACA, which expires in March 5, by stating that the program is “probably dead because the Democrats don’t really want it, they just want to talk and take desperately needed money away from our Military,” in a Twitter post.

For its part, the Justice Department said on Tuesday it would take the “rare step” of asking the Supreme Court to overturn a judge’s ruling and allow the administration to dismantle DACA, The Washington Post reported.

To complicate matters, conservative Republicans from the House Freedom Caucus threatened to scuttle Republican leaders’ plans to prevent the government shutdown, saying they now lack the votes to push their proposal through the U.S. House of Representatives.

Zigzagging strategy

As usual, the U.S. President has been zigzagging from one point to another, mixing DACA, his proposed wall, and even the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). For instance, just yesterday he increased his verbal attacks against Mexico once again, claiming, among other things, that “the wall is the wall, it has never changed or evolved from the first day [he] conceived of it”, after John F. Kelly, his White House Chief of Staff, told Democratic lawmakers, opposed to fund the wall in the new spending bill, that some of the hard-line immigration policies the U.S. President advocated during the electoral campaign were “uninformed.”

Kelly—who has been seen by some pundits as the “adult in the room” of White House inner discussions—went further, stressing that the U.S. will never build a wall along its entire southern border and that Mexico will never pay for it, only to find hours later yet another tweet from the U.S. President stating: “The wall will be paid for, directly or indirectly, or through longer term reimbursement, by Mexico, which has a ridiculous $71 billion dollar trade surplus with the U.S. The $20 billion dollar Wall is ‘peanuts’ compared to what Mexico makes from the U.S. NAFTA is a bad joke!”.

As it can be seen, nothing serious can be expected from the highest level of the United States government at this moment. One day the U.S. President says that he will be “a little flexible” in NAFTA talks—the renegotiation process is scheduled to end in March, well before the Mexican presidential elections—and the other he threatens to withdraw from the trilateral agreement, arguing that the way to do the “best deal is to terminate NAFTA.” The same can be said regarding DACA; unfortunately, beyond the closed door efforts undertaken in Washington by the Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray and press releases condemning the U.S. President’s peculiar demeanor, our country needs to prepare for the worst-case scenario with a renewed hostility towards Dreamers and a sea change in regional trade policies.

Editing by Sofía Danis
More by Gabriel Moyssen