Unraveling DACA, the Obama program that allows the children of undocumented immigrants to reside in the U.S. with rights similar to citizens, is the latest in Donald Trump’s effort at erasing the legacy of Barack Obama. If you examine Trump’s “agenda” it ultimately boils down to one Prime Directive: eliminate any trace of the United States ever having had a Black President. Trump is conducting a "Presidential Apprentice" Reality television program whose theme is to un-do anything and everything the Black Guy did. It explains his pandering to white supremacists and angry white workers as well as his “preserving our (white) heritage and culture" comments for Southerners. Starting with his disgraceful “birther” campaign, Trump’s real focus, as far as the American political landscape is concerned, is the total annihilation of Barack Obama’s accomplishments. And now, in turning DACA over to the Congress, Trump is trying to drive 800,000 productive inhabitants out of the country. And why? To appease his frightened white base but, more importantly, to un-do another Obama legacy.
What made this action all the more disturbing was the clear glee the craven, elfin Jefferson Beauregard Sessions reveled in as he announced the administration’s plan to end DACA. While cloaking the termination under the legal pretense of its unconstitutionality (which may be legit), Sessions promoted the great white nightmare the Trump administration wallows in:
The effect of this unilateral executive amnesty, among other things, contributed to a surge of unaccompanied minors on the southern border that yielded terrible humanitarian consequences. It also denied jobs to hundreds of thousands of Americans by allowing those same jobs to go to illegal aliens. (Axios, Sessions quote - Sept 5)
At the heart of Sessions’s (and his fellow “conservative” Alabamians) obsession with driving undocumented residents out of the country is a belief that they are, in fact, taking jobs away from worthy (read “white”) Americans. However, if we look at the results of the draconian (“extreme vetting”) immigration law passed in Alabama in 2011 we see a different story. An October, 2011, a CBS News story entitled “Few Americans take Immigrants’ jobs in Alabama" reported the following:
ONEONTA, Ala. - Potato farmer Keith Smith saw most of his immigrant workers leave after Alabama's tough immigration law took effect, so he hired Americans. It hasn't worked out: Most show up late, work slower than seasoned farm hands and are ready to call it a day after lunch or by midafternoon. Some quit after a single day.
"I've had people calling me wanting to work," Smith said. "I haven't turned any of them down, but they're not any good. It's hard work, they just don't work like the Hispanics with experience." A crew of four Hispanics can earn about $150 each by picking 250-300 boxes of tomatoes in a day, said Jerry Spencer, of Grow Alabama, which purchases and sells locally owned produce. A crew of 25 Americans recently picked 200 boxes — giving them each $24 for the day. It may make sense for some to sit on the couch. Unemployment benefits provide up to $265 a week while a minimum wage job, at $7.25 an hour for 40 hours, brings in $290.
Spencer said the Americans he has linked up with farmers are not physically fit and do not work fast enough.
So much for immigrants “taking jobs away” from “deserving” Americans. In this instance, the Americans simply could not do the work the immigrants were performing. In the same way, many of the DACA young adults (93% of the 800,000 are employed or in school) are working at jobs that “real” (“white”) Americans are not qualified for --- jobs requiring college degrees or advanced training that many of the citizens Sessions claims are being “victimized” are simply lacking.
Similarly, in June of 2012 Pamela Constable reported in the Washington Post “Alabama law drives out illegal immigrants but also has unexpected consequences.” Describing “A massive factory that processes 130,000 chickens a day” Constable notes:
For years, most poultry workers here were Mexican immigrants, including some who were in the country illegally. But last fall, after a tough state law against illegal immigrants took effect, many vanished overnight, rattling the town’s large Hispanic community and leaving the poultry business scrambling to find workers willing to stand for hours in a wet, chilly room, cutting up dead chickens.
But it’s not just the chicken factory that suffered. As Constable goes on:
A variety of employers in Alabama said they have not been able to find enough legal residents to replace the seasoned Hispanic field pickers, drywall hangers, landscapers and poultry workers who fled the state. There was an initial rush of job applications, they said, but many new employees quit or were let go.
A telling anecdote was about one Wayne Smith.
Wayne Smith, 56, raises tomatoes on a family farm in the misty hills of Chandler Mountain, a 40-minute drive from Albertville (Alabama). Last fall, he said, his entire Mexican crew ran off, and Smith and his neighbors scoured the area for new workers. The growers pay $2 for every large box of picked tomatoes, and a worker must be able to pluck fast all day, bent over in the hot sun, to fill two or three dozen boxes.
“The whites lasted half a day, and the blacks wouldn’t come at all. The work was just too hot and hard for them,” Smith said. He dismissed the argument, often made by critics of illegal immigration, that Americans might do the work if offered a higher and hourly wage. “We’ve been using Mexicans for 30 years, and now they’ve been run off,” he said.
There was even an attempt at replacing lost labor with convicts --- but, just as in Wayne Smith’s stories, the “forced labor” workers proved uncooperative and unproductive and the experiment was quickly abandoned.
Ending DACA could result in a $200 billion dollar hit for the economy over the next decade, according to Ike Brannon at the CATO Institute. According to Brannon’s study, the “gains” made by ending DACA would not even come close to that $200 billion dollar loss that’s projected.
If you’ve been following this story you know that killing DACA is far more than potentially damaging to the economy --- it’s reneging on a social contract that America has thrived on since its founding. To abandon the Dreamers is to abandon the American Dream --- no more, no less.
And Jeffrey Beauregard Sessions is smiling about it.
He's making America Great Again.