Editor’s note: This article follows events of the few days since our earlier article, available here.
by Anne Jaclard
The uproar against ending DACA was so great—a poll showed 88 percent of Americans were opposed to the recipients being deported, although many fewer wanted them to be able to become citizens—that Trump announced that if Congress did not act, he would “revisit” the issue within six month’s (when their deferrals expire). Some Congressional Democrats promptly started to move the Dream Act toward consideration and voting. Meanwhile, Trump invited the Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer to dinner at the White House, where they made a tentative agreement to pass some kind of DACA protection, and in the same bill to “greatly increase border security.” They left aside the issue of Trump’s promised southern border wall, which has no chance of passing Congress on its own but which he will undoubtedly try to tie to something.
The DACA recipients are opposed to any bill that provides for severe measures on the border, and they want to include the original Dream Act’s path to permanent security and citizenship, in an immediate law that stands alone. Yesterday, the California Immigrant Youth Justice Alliance shut down a press conference by Nancy Pelosi, demanding that she back the original Dreamers Act. They shouted, “Fight for all 11 million,” “We are not your bargaining chip,” and “Democrats are not the Resistance,” and she had to leave her own press conference.
Trump is managing to confuse liberals by acting bipartisan in trying to make deals with the Democrats (until now, he had completely ignored the Democrats, thinking he didn’t need them because the Republicans have a majority in both houses of Congress—but the Republicans have been too split to pass anything, making Trump look bad for not having delivered on his promises). Some of his base is outraged at his dealing with Democrats at all, but he is trying for greater popularity (his approval rate keeps falling), and he needs some legislative accomplishments to show. So now he’s claiming to be for a new law to legalize DACA recipients—after having just shut down the program administratively.
This is not him being quixotic or changeable, let alone admitting he was wrong—he never does. Rather, he is trying to escape blame for an unpopular action, to play both sides (or all 3: xenophobes, Republicans and Democrats, and the immigrants), and he likes to keep everyone off-balance and all his options open. As we know, he is the scum of the earth and doesn’t have a whit of concern about the DACA kids.
I think that two of the protesters’ chants are very important.
“We are not your bargaining chip”–they get that Trump is holding them (Dreamers) hostage, essentially saying that he’ll let them stay if the Democrats accept a massive increase in policing of immigants; and the Democratic leadership is willing to bargain on this basis.
“Democrats are not the Resistance”–they’re identifying as part of the Resistance to Trump, unlike so much of the “left.” But they’re also definitely to the left of the Democrats (and the anti-neoliberal “left,” frankly). The smear of the anti-neoliberal “left” against the Resistance is that it’s controlled by the Democrats, just consists of liberals, etc. This slogan shows that it ain’t so.