By Chris Jennewein
Democrats in Congress aren’t happy with President Trump’s opening on immigration, but the biggest threat to a genuine compromise that protects California’s 500,000 eligible Dreamers is the “boxcar” Republicans and their friends in right-wing media.
Trump on Tuesday doubled down on his plan to create a path to citizenship for 1.8 million people brought to the United States as children in return for building the border wall and ending both the visa lottery and chain migration.
“Boxcar” is a reference to the horror of World War II, when the Nazis loaded Jews, gypsies and communists onto boxcars and sent them to concentration camps. Of course, conservative Republicans will argue that tearing families apart and sending people to countries they have never known can be done humanely. But tweets like this from King illustrate the viciousness of this group:
POTUS’ opening bid is Amnesty for 1.8 million illegals. Democrats want citizenship for 11 or more million. Let’s start with, “Who & how many would each side deport?” Get that job done, then talk. #NoAmnesty
— Steve King (@SteveKingIA) January 27, 2018
Gosar weighed in the morning of Trump’s State of the Union speech to urge the arrest and deportation of any Dreamers in the Capitol:
“Of all the places where the Rule of Law needs to be enforced, it should be in the hallowed halls of Congress. Any illegal aliens attempting to go through security, under any pretext of invitation or otherwise, should be arrested and deported,” said Congressman Gosar.
— Rep. Paul Gosar, DDS (@RepGosar) January 30, 2018
Right-wing media has piled on, with Breitbart calling the President “Amnesty Don,” and Fox & Friends’ Pete Hegseth saying “Trump supporters expect a wall, not amnesty.”
To the boxcar crowd, it’s all about the law. But it’s important to remember that it was once illegal for Northern citizens to aid escaped slaves, for African-Americans to drink from a “white’s only” fountain or for Asian-Americans to live outside of relocation camps. Sometimes the law needs to be changed, and amnesty is called for
Trump himself was once a member of this boxcar group. He rose to political prominence as promoter of the racist “birther” controversy, and began his campaign by calling Mexican immigrants drug smugglers and rapists.
He tapped the anger and resentment of a large portion of Americans to propel himself to the presidency. But now that’s a liability, especially for the future of the Republican party in an America where whites will soon be a minority.
Rep. Duncan Hunter, Trump’s first supporter in the House and a politician not known for liberal views, was being practical when he wrote in 2016 that “the idea of deporting 11 million people is not within the scope of possibility.”
Let’s hope the the centrists on both sides of the aisle can reach a true compromise on immigration and end forever the specter of boxcar deportations in America.
Chris Jennewein is editor and publisher of Times of San Diego.
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