Time and time again, President Donald Trump has proved to be the worst deal-maker ever. Let's look at the latest screwup.
Trump says he is canceling the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) immigration policy because his predecessor exceeded his constitutional authority. Trump's plan is to dump it back in the lap of Congress where its resolution should have been all along. That sounds good. But, by throwing thousands of lives into turmoil, is this good for the country? Does it make us stronger? Are you safer now that many of your friends and neighbors are living in jeopardy?
You may disagree with me, but I believe that Trump's call on DACA is the stupidest, most wasteful, damaging decision for the American economy that has ever been made.
There are approximately 10,000 undocumented "dreamers" in Utah, and hundreds of thousands across America, who make our economy greater than it would be if they weren't here. They have become educated at America's expense—yours and mine—and they pay us back. State and local taxes from these immigrants are projected at around $12 billion. The Penn Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania publishes scads of charts and studies showing that deportations have a direct impact on the retarding of America's GDP.
According to The Economist, illegal immigrants make up 5 percent of America's labor force—most of whom are at the lowest end of the economic spectrum. DACA kids, on the other hand, are upper-end producers—educated, law abiding and a boon to the economy. Sending these American-educated dreamers to Mexico will Make Mexico Great Again, at our expense. It will create a brain drain of some of our brightest and best educated.
Recall that this isn't Trump's first go at mega-stupid. When he was a young businessman, he made stupid deals and got his rich father to bail him out. When he was middle-aged, banks and bankruptcy laws bailed him out while others who trusted his bravado suffered. Now, it's the innocent childrens' turn.
Fifty years ago, I first read about a wall, the Berlin Wall, which turned out to be a political mistake; became a rallying cry for outraged freedom seekers; was a great photo-op for former President Ronald Reagan; and the removal of which is today remembered as a triumph of morality over political stupidity.
Author John le Carré recently added a new introduction to his book about that wall, The Spy Who Came in From the Cold, writing that the book "asked the same old question that we are asking ourselves 50 years later: How far can we go in the rightful defense of our Western values without abandoning them along the way?"
Let's talk about America's version of the Berlin wall. Last week, while everybody was trying to keep their heads above water in Texas, a contingent of Mexican rescue workers crossed the border to help. They did it because they could, and maybe also because there wasn't yet a fortress-like addition to the already-existing U.S./Mexico border wall.
The Cruz Roja Mexicana (Mexican Red Cross) deployed skilled volunteers to Texas, with hundreds more expected in coming weeks and months. The Mexican volunteers are supporting sheltering and distribution efforts, while also connecting with Spanish-speaking disaster survivors to keep them informed about available support. Twelve years ago this month, Mexican troops were deployed to the U.S. to aid in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
Thank you for that, Mexico.
Why bother helping when it's not your own brethren who are displaced, hungry or under water? In his new book, Strange Contagion, author Lee Daniel Kravetz tries to explain a phenomenon that causes people to do both good and bad things in groups. His catalyst for the book was the nine Palo Alto, Calif., high school students who committed suicide by walking in front of freight trains. It appeared these kids were well adjusted—they were doing well in school, had awesome futures and were privileged overall.
Kravetz spent a few years traveling the world, visiting scientists to determine how and why we tend to, in essence, copy group behavior—like protesters carrying "Resist" signs and rocking pink-knit pussy hats; demonstrators donning Nazi symbols representing a culture that tried to destroy America; or those flying Confederate flags.
I read Kravetz' book last week and didn't get the why, but I got the what. "Groupthink" got the Palo Alto kids to kill themselves. "Groupthink" gets some Americans to promote anti-American ideas.
You and I will contribute billions of dollars to help Texans—Texans whose congressional delegation voted not to fund East Coast Sandy victims and whose governor, Rick Perry, campaigned for a state secession when Obama was president. Perry, you'll remember, also campaigned to abolish the federal Energy Department before he became secretary of energy.
No, I am not lobbying against helping Texans. Wayward as some with a pedestal might act, they are part of our family we call America. When members of the family hurt—even if they won't help out other family members, even if they yell and scream that they no longer want to be in our family, or carry the battle flags of America's enemies, even after all that—they remain family.
"How far can we go in the rightful defense of our Western values without abandoning them along the way?" Regardless of popularity, politics or rhetoric, some of us will uphold our true Western values, no matter what. The time for passiveness has ended; the time to act up started yesterday. We will stand up for the DACA kids.
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