The Universal Notebook: Dreamers are Americans

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The extremely unpopular President Donald Trump has now added yet another offense to his growing list of assaults on the America people. He has tried to kill the Affordable Care Act, pulled the U.S. out of the Paris climate change agreement, rolled back environmental protections and last week decided to repeal the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, threatening 800,000 Americans with deportation.

Two-thirds of Americans disagree with Trump on repealing DACA. In fact, two-thirds of Americans disagree with Trump on most things. But we are currently living in a dictatorship of the minority, a sorry state in which the least-qualified Americans have usurped power.

And, yes, the so-called Dreamers are Americans. Most have never known any home other than America. The idea that Trump would deport them is nothing short of cruel. Immigrants who risk their lives to get to the United States in search of a better life are far more American than people who make a virtue out of accidents of birth such as being white, male, American or, in Trump’s case, born rich.

There was no pressing need for Trump to end DACA. He simply wanted to throw some red meat to his base, people who wrongly blame immigrants for their own failures. Republicans used to understand that America needs its immigrant population, both documented and undocumented. That’s why President George W. Bush proposed a path to citizenship. Close to 70 percent of agricultural workers in the U.S. are Mexicans and close to 50 percent of farm workers are undocumented. Our economy depends on immigrants.

And no, Mr. & Mrs. Rust Belt, immigrants are not taking your jobs. They are doing jobs you won’t do. There is no good economic argument for repealing DACA or deporting hundreds of thousands – if not millions – of people who don’t have the right paperwork. Mass deportations of the kind that the unkind would like to see would cost this country more – an estimated $2.6 trillion loss to U.S. gross domestic product over 10 years – than might be saved by sending them away.

President Barack Obama was absolutely right when he made his infamous remark about people in small towns where there have been no economic opportunities for 25 years “clinging to guns and religion.” What people don’t seem to remember is that Obama was sympathetic to their plight and that there was more to Obama’s diagnosis.

He said, “it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”

The deep, dark and dirty divide in this country is a function of people needing someone to blame, someone to look down on, someone to be better than. That is the source of the racism and xenophobia that propelled Trump to power. Pandering to this pathetic prejudice by pardoning former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio and repealing DACA may make Trump supporters feel powerful, but it will only add to the popular sentiment against Trump and will likely fill the streets with protesters.

Trump is a master of creating crises where there were none. In just a few short months in office he has alienated not only the majority of the American people, but also the American business community, which split with him over his perceived defense of white supremacists and now over his sudden need to place 800,000 Americans in peril.

The upside of Trump’s repeal of DACA is that he may have forced Congress to do its job, something it has been unwilling and unable to do in recent years. With the exception of U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin, who weasels out of everything, Maine’s congressional delegation has condemned Trump’s action. It is now up to Congress to act to protect the Dreamers, which President Obama did by fiat only after Congress failed to act.

What Congress should do is grant American citizenship to law-abiding people who are de facto Americans. Even Trump’s own party is beginning to realize how wrong he is about DACA.

“Americans do not hold children legally accountable for the actions of their parents,” Sen. James Lankford, R-Oklahoma, said last week.

That’s because to do so is morally wrong and downright un-American.

But since Trump and his supporters have established the principle that children can be punished for their parents’ actions, perhaps only the children of Trump supporters should be sent to fight the war with North Korea that is the next unnecessary crisis Trump seems determined to create.

Freelance journalist Edgar Allen Beem lives in Brunswick. The Universal Notebook is his personal, weekly look at the world around him.

  • Queenie42

    Mr. “bone spurs” Trump, with his five deferments, seems to be delighted to send these 800,000 people into who knows what kind of fate awaits them only because he is systematically undoing anything President Obama did.
    A Yoda would say, “The hate is strong with this one.”

    • danmaine

      Trump didn’t break the law, Obama did. Our system requires Congress to write laws and the President to sign them into law for them to take effect. It’s Obama’s fault that he wasn’t effective at getting his legislation through Congress and resorted to his “I have a pen and a phone” actions that can and will be overturned by someone else in that position in the future. His one great accomplishment, the hideous ACA only made it through based on illegal wranglings by Congress and those gyrations are coming to roost vs. Democrats too. As usual you attribute actions that you don’t agree with as hate, I’m sorry that is not for you to decide, that is up to God.

      • Queenie42

        I swear, if Jesus ever really did return to Earth, you guys would crucify Him all over again.
        After all we can’t have His teachings of Love, Mercy and Redemption change the hearts and minds of those who are more worried about their own “pieces of silver”, can we? /s
        Badly quoted, perhaps, but I will go with this: “Whatsoever you do to the least of these you do also unto me.”

        • EdBeem


        • Little crow

          Last month you called both danmaine and me hateful racist bigots just because we disagreed with you on subjects that had nothing to do with race. I suppose that was just brotherly love.

          • danmaine

            Because using such misguided and offensive slanders will shut down a conversation. Bottom line, anyone who disagrees with them must be a hateful racist bigot, there is no room for discussions based on logic and reason… I’d love to be able to have an open conversation vs emotional name calling outburst demeaning anyone who disagrees with them 😉

          • Kevin McCarthy

            I don’t know much, but it seems to me that your calls for an “open conversation” based on “logic and reason” are seriously undermined entirely by your gross and vague generalizations about “them” and your conclusory remark that “anyone who disagrees with them must be a hateful racist bigot.”

          • Little crow

            I think he’s referring to many liberals in general but Queenie42 in particular, as she’s done this before. While anyone can use slander and mockery to shut down a conversation, the practice is commonly used by liberals because their arguments are often based on emotion and difficult to defend. Conservatives are more practiced at defending their positions because they are always challenged in a liberal culture, while liberals are assumed to be caring individuals and are rarely challenged. Hence the saying: “a racist is someone who’s winning an argument with a liberal”.

          • Kevin McCarthy

            Sorry, but as presented here, your argument is specious at best. You and danmaine employ the same tactics that are the cause of your complaints. Portraying conservatives as noble but innocent victims of marauding, maudlin liberals is laughable. There’s a striking admission against interest in your statement that “liberals are assumed to be caring individuals”: the obvious implication is that conservatives are not. I don’t think that’s what you meant, but those types of conclusions are easily drawn when you write without regard to the inherent contradictions of your words.

          • Little crow

            I’m not a victim of anything and I don’t employ “tactics”. I just call them as I see them. We live in a culture dominated by liberals, so conservatives and libertarians have to work a little harder to explain their points of view, which I am happy to do.

            As an example, Ed Beem recently accused President Trump of supporting white supremacists and neo-nazis, and I asked him to provide evidence to support the claim, and he couldn’t do it. It is my observation that liberals get away with this a lot more than conservatives.

          • EdBeem

            It’s not that I couldn’t do it, it’s that you somehow don’t hear Trump’s words the way the majority of Americans, including all the major business leaders who have abandoned him, do. No amount of “proof” will convince someone who does not want t believe. Trump’s base will let him get away with anything. That’s because conservatives are driven by feelings and the rest of us are driven by facts.

          • Little crow

            I am not an admirer of Donald Trump; I think he has lots of flaws, but I have never seen evidence that he is a racist or supporter of neo-nazis. The examples you presented that he is a white supremacist were unconvincing.

          • Ted Markow

            “Black guys counting my money! I hate it. The only kind of people I want counting my money are short guys wearing yarmulkes… Those are the only kind of people I want counting my money. Nobody else…Besides that, I tell you something else. I think that’s [sic] guy’s lazy. And it’s probably not his fault because laziness is a trait in blacks.”

          • danmaine

            Queenie42 and Ed have repeatedly called me a racist bigot for simply using logic and reason supporting my position. They can’t discuss their positions without resorting to name calling etc in an attempt to shut down conversation. It’s about the LAW, it is supposed to be applied with a blindfold over Justice’s eyes. Like it or not Obama himself said over and over he could NOT do what he did in DACA. While the Government can decide not to proceed with a case vs an individual case it can not be done in mass. Many of these “dreamers” are gang members, felons etc… The requirements are a joke for them to stay. By definition you can not vet someone who is undocumented.

        • poppypapa

          Look, as long as we’re at it, how ’bout we open the prison gates and show all them law-breakers some love?

          Which would make all kinds of room for permanently locking up half the lawyers.

  • areyoukiddingme

    Edgar, this one is really over the top, but you understand, but can’t actually bring yourself there to admit it. So Congress (yup those guys who make the law) fail to do something and the last person in charge makes up something that everybody with a brain agrees is not legal (and even he says is not legal) and then the next guy goes back to what the law says and its a now a problem. How about we get the Congress critters to act, and if they don’t we all agree that what they do is we can elect some other people. That’s our system. The original action was simply wrong. correcting it is right. now let’s get to the core issue. Congress needs to act. As far as the other stuff you manage to spin into here, most of it is simply not true, you know it, and you should either know better or do better research of the available data. But that’s for another day.

    • danmaine

      Spot on! Ed’s arguments are based on the delusional perspective of the Political Elites, Main Stream Media and hard Left in the United States. Does he actually believe that 60+ million American Citizens are racist bigots? Trump was elected because Hillary was far worse, a terrible candidate, a proven serial liar and a proven criminal. Obama was the one who created the crisis, spurring on millions of so called unescorted minors to swamp our border in hopes of being allowed to stay illegally. Open a dictionary, deferred doesn’t mean what you think it does Ed, it didn’t stop prosecution or deportation, just delayed it. Ed also confuses LEGAL immigrants with ILLEGAL immigrants. Citizens of our great Country just want everyone to live under the SAME laws. Here is my solution: You came here illegally, prove that you have no other transgressions beyond parking tickets etc and you can pay a fine without deportation. In addition you become a legal alien working in this country. You can however NEVER become a citizen taking full advantage of your original lawlessness. Their parents are to blame, not the law abiding citizens who have shouldered the tax burdens associated with supporting these criminal aliens.

      • Little crow

        Thanks to both of you. You’ve saved me the trouble of having to respond to his latest excursion, and covered all the pertinent points better than I could.

    • EdBeem

      We agree. Congress needs to act to protect the Dreamers.

  • Moishe the Beadle

    What is it about borders, illegal aliens and breaking the law doesn’t the Left get? They think we can’t see their veiled effort to turn these people into Democrat voters. If Beem is so interested in altruism he should join the Peace Corps.

    • EdBeem

      People who came to this country as children through no fault of their own should not be deported. Two-thirds of Americans agree.

      • Moishe the Beadle

        Then, let them stay, but not become citizens or vote for 25 years. Isn’t that compromising? Btw, close to 2/3 of the country doesn’t like President Trump either, but it doesn’t mean they’re right about his policies.

  • EdBeem

    Dreamers are Americans. “A majority of voters, 58 percent, think these undocumented immigrants, also known as Dreamers, should be allowed to stay and become citizens if they meet certain requirements — a sentiment that goes well beyond the existing DACA program. Another 18 percent think they should be allowed to stay and become legal residents, but not citizens. Only 15 percent think they should be removed or deported from the country. “

  • funfundvierzig

    “The deep, dark and dirty divide in this country is a function of people
    needing someone to blame, someone to look down on, someone to be better

    As a prominent Hillary Hugger, Mr. Beem should be careful with this turn of phrase. His idol in the bowling pin pantsuit (her carefully chosen political costume) has just published her Encyclopedia of Excuses, blaming everyone and anything for her keenly embarrassing loss, and dragging the once proud Democratic Party down to massive defeat countrywide, not seen for nearly a century.

    Moreover, remember how a consummately condescending Hillary jeered and smeared the vast Middle of America as “deplorable” and “bigoted” and “sexist” and “xenophobic”?