Texas has been much in the news lately. First you had the winter storms … people dying because of power outages that could have been avoided had it not been for the stubborn resolve of the state to be independent of the rest of the nation. And off went ol’ Ted Cruz, one of two U.S. Senators representing Texas, to warm, sunny Cancun, Mexico. Then there were the bills slashing women’s rights, and most recently the attempt to pass bills that would severely restrict about half the state from being able to vote in next year’s election. It almost seems as if Texas doesn’t consider itself a part of the United States. Oh wait … they don’t! In February, State Representative Kyle Biedermann formally filed proposed legislation that would give Texans a chance to explore opting out of the union in a referendum. Biedermann began talking about the potential “Texit” in early December, saying it’s his response to a federal government that is “out of control and does not represent the values of Texans.”
I say, let ‘em go! Let the “great” State of Texas opt out of the union, let them figure out how to support their own economy, how to take care of their poor and elderly. I would predict a mass exodus from Texas into places like Arizona and Oklahoma within a matter of weeks, especially if Texas keeps the ignoble Governor Abbott in charge!
But I’m not here to talk about the secession that isn’t going to happen because it isn’t legal … I’m here to talk about a ruling yesterday by a federal judge in Texas, Andrew S. Hanen of the United States District Court in Houston. Judge Hanen ruled yesterday that President Barack Obama exceeded his authority when he created the program, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), by executive order in 2012. Nearly a decade after the fact, when thousands of young people who were brought to this country as children, some even still babies, have made this their home, have jobs, school, friends, homes … this judge rules that ultimately they must be sent back???
NO!!!! NO NO NO NO NO, ‘Judge” Hanen! I will fight you tooth and nail on this one, as will MOST of the rest of the nation … apart from those who are so white that they think their whiteness entitles them! Take your Texas narrow-minded ego and shove it somewhere!
Under the judge’s ruling, immigrants enrolled in the program will for now retain the ability to stay and work in the country, though those protections could evaporate. The Department of Homeland Security may continue to accept new applications and renewals for the program known as DACA but is prohibited from approving any of them.
Since its inception, DACA has enabled more than 800,000 immigrants who were brought illegally to the United States or fell into unlawful status when they were children to remain in the country, finish school, go to college, get jobs, buy homes, and start families. The former guy often threatened to force the Dreamers as they are known to return to their countries of origin, even though most have no family or connections in those countries. I thought that with the xenophobic former guy out of the White House, the Dreamers were safe from bigoted persecution. Obviously, I was wrong.
President Biden has expressed an interest in extending a path to citizenship to the Dreamers, but the Texas ruling throws a wrench into that, though the Biden administration is almost certain to appeal the ruling. The other option would be for Congress to pass federal legislation, but we’ve seen in the past months that the Republicans in Congress have zero intention of working with the Democrats and once any such bill reached the Senate, it would be subject to the filibuster and certain death on the Senate floor.
Texas is not alone in attempting to end the DACA program … it is joined by a number of other states … most in the South, not coincidentally: Alabama, Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, South Carolina and West Virginia.
Currently, about 650,000 immigrants are enrolled in the program. Among them are some 200,000 frontline workers who have performed essential jobs in health care, agriculture, food processing and education, among others, during the coronavirus pandemic. About 250,000 U.S.-born children have at least one parent who is enrolled in DACA, and about 1.5 million people in the United States live with a beneficiary of the program. Most of these people do not have family or friends in their country of origin and many do not even speak the language! How cruel, how inhumane it would be to simply end the program and deport these people!
Ultimately, the case is likely to end up on the docket of the U.S. Supreme Court. I wish I had more confidence in the Court’s sense of justice than I have today. The words at the base of the Statue of Liberty read, in part …
“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.”
They do NOT say “as long as they are white people of Anglo-Saxon ancestry!!!”