by G. Brown
“Born in the USA”…it’s more than an 80’s rock anthem. While some thought it a song about American privilege and exceptionalism, Bruce Springsteen’s hit record wasn’t about American pride as much as it was about America’s shame of big government, big military and the way some people are disregarded as nothing more than disposable. The refrain “Born in the USA” at its core is about the lack of life, liberty and happiness for those unfortunate to be born without a silver spoon in their mouth.
“Born in the USA” is three decades old and the lyrics never seemed to ring truer than following Donald Trump’s announcement to dismantle DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program. Trump announced on Tuesday that in six months the children who entered the country as illegal immigrants will no longer be protected from deportation or eligible for a work permit.
DACA was created by the Obama administration five years ago. Known as the Dreamers Program, DACA has grant permission for an estimated 750-thousand to nearly two million immigrants —especially minors—to attend school and/or work until they are approved for U.S. Citizenship eligibility. The immigrants were safe, being productive and working to become legal U.S. citizens.
Former President Obama has stood silently on the sidelines since leaving office as his successor has tried to erase much of his legacy. Trump has gone after 56 environmental executive orders and legislation, 23 labor and finance orders, decisions and acts and 12 health care policies. He’s made immigration the unwanted step-child with his base by pushing hate. But now, Obama is finally pushing back.
Obama released a statement on his Facebook page acknowledging that immigration is a controversial issue, but it will take goodwill to fix the problems. Obama says that is not what Trump is after, his statement says.”…But that’s not what the action that the White House took today is about. This is about young people who grew up in America – kids who study in our schools, young adults who are starting careers, patriots who pledge allegiance to our flag. These Dreamers are Americans in their hearts, in their minds, in every single way but one: on paper. They were brought to this country by their parents, sometimes even as infants. They may not know a country besides ours. They may not even know a language besides English. They often have no idea they’re undocumented until they apply for a job, or college, or a driver’s license.”
Obama calls Trump’s action “wrong” and “self-defeating” saying that he is targeting young people who have done nothing wrong. Obama says Trump’s decision to dismiss DACA is as much about morality and basic decency as it is about politics. The 44th president says “this action is contrary to our spirit, and to common sense…”
But it’s not contrary to the spirit of Trump. The man rode to policitial victory on the coattail of promises kick out immigrants. At support rallies, he’s still whipping his base supporters into a frenzy with his tired dog whistle of “build that wall” and has even threatened to shut down the government to get his way. Obama’s statement makes yet another logical argument for the program much like his initial pitch for its implementation five years ago. Unfortunately, a logical approach will fall on deaf ears when it comes to Trump who is driven by two imperatives it seems–to push hate and to erase everything Obama accomplished while in office.
Millions of undocumented immigrants escaped or came to this country hoping fora better life. An estimated half-million of these immigrants are Black. Some of these young people are just entering middle school, some are already enrolled in college or just graduated. In six months, they can be snatched from the lives they’ve built and deported to countries they’ve never seen. Once there, they won’t even be able to complain because some of them don’t speak the language of their native countries…only English.
Trump doesn’t have the last word on DACA, congress does, but that is little comfort to hundreds of thousands of young people who call America home and may be kicked out because they weren’t “Born in the USA” . They only made or their parents made a decision to live here because they thought America welcomed “the poor, the tired, the huddle masses yearning to breathe free.”