When political rhetoric turns into national policy, the buck stops with Americans.
This is when we have to decide who we are and what will permit to be done in our name.
Donald Trump has at least two faces on undocumented immigrants.
The campaigner who pandered to the far, far right called them foul, murderous thugs.
In January, the president said dreamers “shouldn’t be very worried” as he doubled-down on a call for widespread deportations.
“I do have a big heart,” Trump said.
The evidence is lacking. Now he’s arresting and deporting dreamers.
Should we expect anything else from Trump?
This is not out of character.
Mothers and fathers have been deported, leaving their American-born children with little recourse beyond hoping for some productive outrage on their behalf from their fellow Americans.
One could simply say these were deportable people.
What, after all, are the tears of a few U.S.-born kids when there is a principle at stake? In Trump’s America, they should salute the idea of ridding their country of the undocumented.
Tough love, kids. He’s your president, too. So tough luck, too.
Ah, but that big heart. It was supposed to be there for the dreamers.
Democrats also are to blame for this
The dreamers were supposed to be different.
They are the group for whom America has long expressed sympathy.
Congress nearly passed official protection for them. The Dream Act would have met the filibuster threshold in the Senate and become law in 2010 if not for the cowardice of five Democrats who were afraid voting for it would hurt their chances for re-election.
Clearly, not all the villains in America’s war against those who came here to do our dirty work are elephants. Democrats are not guiltless. And, yes, President Obama earned the name Deportation King.
But still. We need that big heart.
The dreamers were the ones. The sympathetic group. You’ve heard it so many times, you could chant it:
Brought here as children. Broke no laws. Grew up American. Give them a break.
When ugly rhetoric becomes official policy
So President Barack Obama did. He created an administrative program the let them work and go to school on temporary deferred deportations.
It was a stopgap. A pause until Congress could do its job. To show its heart.
If Trump had a big heart he would call on Congress to make Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) a permanent solution for these kids.
Instead, a 23-year-old with a DACA deferment was deported from California. Juan Manuel Montes is being called the first. But others are in immigration custody, according to immigration advocates.
This is it, folks.
The ugly rhetoric is official U.S. policy. Hatred R Us.
If you are surprised, see me about some wonderful waterfront property along the southern Arizona’s Rillito River.
Time for you (yes, you) to make tough choices
But surprised or not, you need to make some choices.
This country needs to stand for something – and it’s up to you.
Is that something going to be scapegoating? Is OK for Trump to use your tax dollars to split up families? To go after kids whose love of this country grew here along with their American dreams?
Is the America these kids know and love the kind of country that treats families and young adults like something disposable?
This is not up to Trump to decide. Presidents are not kings. They serve the people.
If the people sit back and let him violate our collective decency and compassion and honor, then we become something less than our founding documents promise.
It’s really time to make it clear: This is not Trump’s America. It’s ours. He works for us.
It’s time to speak up. Silence is acquiescence.