DACA sophistry: Trumpery at its worst

Another round of punitive disruption-for-disruption-sake Trumpism – except for the innocence of the targets. DACA children, brought into the only country they know, are now reduced to ideological bargaining chips to distract from endless failures. Trump populism? Little more than an unfeeling tyranny of the shrinking minority.


The contradiction-loaded DACA “wind down” is more quick sand Trumpery. Behold the heartless, ever-shifting non-solution that defies what makes America great (as dynamic melting pot) while manipulating fully-vetted, resolute Dreamers as anti-immigrant pawns. What notion captures Trump’s latest maelstrom of mean-spirited misdirection: crack-brained, spiteful, appalling? Other than terrorized Dreamers (as deadlines loom), how can savvy adults take as credible either muddled threats or facile assurances from a centerless, rudderless opportunist?

On top of the six-month duration scam (why not 12?), Trump defaulted to a dysfunctional Congress (so easy to blame), then instantly lurched backward to “revisit” his own bluster before the ink dried. What a triumph of knee-jerk symbolism and coded sophistry over humane, coherent immigration planning. What disruptive roulette wheel will then determine who, when and how many hundreds of thousands of homegrown children are exiled to what are in fact foreign lands?

Punitive from the get-go

Trump’s bad faith morass initiates a six-month nightmare that in advance punishes anxious Dreamers scapegoated because they trusted the U.S. government. Because divided Republicans will gag on serious immigration reform whatever the time span, this commander-of-chaos afflicts innocents that 75% of his own anti-immigration base think should not be deported. Trump populism? Little more than an unfeeling tyranny of the shrinking minority.

Worse still, huge numbers of Dreamers are Hispanic, mostly from Mexico, which makes the DACA demolition as racist and unjust as the slapdash Muslim ban. That’s why a dozen state attorneys general, per New York’s Eric Schneiderman this week on Rachel Maddow, are attacking Trump’s latest scam as unconstitutional discrimination, assaulting a specific (and law-abiding) ethnic group.

If Dreamers are dispatched, isn’t it just as logical to exile all those state names swiped from the earliest Hispanic pioneer culture: Texas, Utah, Florida, Carolina, Nevada, Colorado, Montana, and New Mexico? By what unjust standard can we reject today’s productive children from the same first European culture, preceding English, French, German or Dutch invaders? Non-native “Mexicans” founded “New Spain” in 1521, a century before fleeing Puritans made it to the “New World.” By this historic logic, we should be speaking Spanish, not exporting distant kin.

Line in the quick sand

So, here’s Trump, desperately pandering to his base, drawing the fuzziest of lines in the quick sand, nearly as likely to sabotage his unworkable campaign pledge as fulfill it, thanks to a potent grassroots outrage. What stops him, now besieged with majority opposition, from postponing the DACA pull date – assuming his embarrassment of a regime lasts a full year? Laughably, Mr. Great Deal Maker is an utter flop, nothing more than the frantic Great Deflector, obsessed with symbolic fireworks, not defensible, thought-out, immigration solutions.

Who knows whether the con artist who just partnered with Democrats on the debt ceiling won’t find the Democratic Dream Act more to his liking? It’s so easy to compromise when you believe in nothing but self-aggrandizement. What will prompt Trump six months hence to accept whatever messy, conflicted DACA bill Republicans hobble together? I am hardly alone in asking: how does the defiant “law and order” Trump perpetuate an allegedly unconstitutional mistake, per his stooges? Even populist “pragmatism” has limits when crashing into contradiction.

And where does Trump’s instant “revisit” dodge fit – except to pre-empt pressure on Congress to touch this hot potato with a ten-foot pole? So, what Trump’s mock DACA declaration offered, then obscured and confused, epitomizes the madcap Trump way. Offer empty words that appease his incredibly gullible base, then stir in mountains of mud so everyone is bewildered. This Trumpery only looks like a nothing burger, combining malice with scheming, fear-mongering in place of humane leadership. So much so, in response to Nancy Pelosi’s request (!), Trump dug the hole deeper with this tweet of phony assurance: “For all of those (DACA) that are concerned about your status during the 6 month period, you have nothing to worry about – No action!”

Don’t worry, be happy

Right, just like telling the convicted on Death Row they have nothing to worry about; the execution is still months off. And when a belligerent ICE happens to corral undocumented suspects, it won’t mess with DACA recipients with minor legal issues? Anyone who believes the Donald “loves” DACA folks, or has a heart, is as deranged as our most deranged president. Reports now indicate Trump didn’t understand the most obvious implications of his own impenetrable termination threat(s).

As George Will pinpointed, Trump’s most damning disorder is “not to know what it is to know something.” Worse still, per the very conservative Sen. Corker, Trump does not understand “what has made this nation great and what it is today.” So the ignorant, reckless, increasingly cruel Trump, desperate for any semblence of a mock win, shoots first, then gets swamped by nearly universal outrage – excepting alt-right types deluded that DACA workers worsen their employment woes.

Not much here that isn’t routine, disruption-for-disruption-sake Trumpism except for the innocence of the targets: children brought into the only country they know, now reduced to ideological bargaining ploys. That makes the Trump DACA nonsense more dangerous, and more contemptible, than anything else he’s done to American residents. Who says bad can’t get worse – though bad enough becomes its own kind of silver lining.


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For over a decade, Robert S. Becker's independent, rebel-rousing essays on politics and culture analyze overall trends, history, implications, messaging and frameworks. He has been published widely, aside from Nation of Change and RSN, with extensive credits from OpEdNews (as senior editor), Alternet, Salon, Truthdig, Smirking Chimp, Dandelion Salad, Beyond Chron, and the SF Chronicle. Educated at Rutgers College, N.J. (B.A. English) and U.C. Berkeley (Ph.D. English), Becker left university teaching (Northwestern, then U. Chicago) for business, founding SOTA Industries, a top American high end audio company he ran from '80 to '92. From '92-02, he was an anti-gravel mining activist while doing marketing, business and writing consulting. Since then, he seeks out insight, even wit in the shadows, without ideology or righteousness across the current mayhem of American politics.