Assuming they would be safe and would have a path to citizenship ,children, too young to have made the decision to come to the United States and too young to oppose their parents, were brought here illegally either by parents who just chose to ignore the immigration laws, or who took the chance for a better life, perhaps getting away from circumstances that could lead to the deaths of themselves and/or the children, followed what was required by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy.
To qualify for DACA, the undocumented immigrants had to have arrived in the USA before they were 16 and lived in the USA continuously since June 2007, and had to be free of any criminal history. Their deportation was to be deferred for two years with an opportunity to renew, and in the meantime they could apply for a driver’s license, a work permit, and enroll in college.
As of last year, Trump’s first year as president, approximately 800,000 individuals were enrolled in the program.
A bipartisan bill had been proposed in 2001 to address the children who had been brought here and afford the opportunity for them to attend college and become permanent citizens of the United States, the only country they ever knew, and it was followed by one proposed in 2007, but which failed because of a bipartisan filibuster in the Senate, and another that failed in 2011 when the bill passed the House, but not the Senate because it did not get the 60 votes needed to overcome a Republican filibuster in the Senate.
Finally, on June 15, 2012, President Obama announced his DACA policy, it was officially established by a memorandum from the Secretary of Homeland Security titled “Exercising Prosecutorial Discretion with Respect to Individuals Who Came to the United States as Children” because of the failure of the House and Senate to come up with anything.
Putting their trust in the only country they knew and not having to face deportation, young people came out of the shadows and handed to those who until DACA could have sent them away, all the personal information about themselves which until then was something not to be done lightly.
In 2017, in an act of subtle cruelty, knowing as we all did that since 2010 congress has been lethargic, divided, and largely unproductive, trump took away the protections of DACA, telling congress they would have to do something by March 5th, or with the aid of the information handed over by them thinking it was the best thing to do, ICE could start to round them up and send them away.
It was a calculated move that would give Trump the out to blame congress for having done nothing, knowing that would be what would happen, while he pandered to his base and played the role of the protector of the borders these kids did not willingly cross. He could create a new “threat to people who had led for years with these kids in their midst with no adverse effects. He invented a nonexistent thret to unify those people who need an enemy to blame their own failures on.
And, by the way, some of those people and some of their spouses are veterans that we robotically thank for their service.
And for the somewhat self-righteous people who say these kids had time to become citizens and have no excuse for never applying, without DACA had they begun the naturalization process, they would have been found to have been in the country “illegally”, and would have been deported from this country to one that is both culturally and geographically foreign to them.
As expected congress did nothing.
And today is the day.