People who claim to be shocked that Donald Trump is prepared to make an amnesty deal for the”Dreamers” — most of whom are Mexicans who entered the USA at around the age of six — are being more than a tad disingenuous. The president has been hinting as much for over a year to anyone paying attention. In fact, it’s hard to conceive how he could have done otherwise, considering the (excuse the cliché) “optics” of shipping 800,000 young people back to a homeland they may never have seen.
The question is what your definition of amnesty is. It’s a vague word at best that can mean many things.
I suggest we keep it simple. In the case of the “Dreamers” amnesty should allow for just about anything citizenship entails, for them to work and study here as long as they wish, except for that most precious of all things in a democratic republic — the vote. Under no circumstances can or should someone who has arrived in our country illegally, no matter at what age, be allowed ever to vote in our elections at any level — federal, state or local.
To borrow a phrase from Barack Obama, it “wouldn’t be fair.” Those millions of legal immigrants from all over the world who stood in line and played by the rules deserve the right to determine this country’s future in elections. Those that didn’t, don’t. If the extent of the “Dreamers'” American dream is so great that they feel an overwhelming desire to vote, they are free to go home and wait in line like everybody else.
If the “Dreamers” are given the vote, it will be through the Democrats being permitted once again to play the venal and reactionary game of “identity politics.” It won’t be about the “Dreamers” as people. It will about them as voters — in other words, as props to be easily manipulated and treated like a complaisant herd by the Democratic Party. (We’ve seen what that has done for blacks.) This has nothing to do with compassion and everything to do with power.
Repeat: Under no circumstances should amnesty for the “Dreamers” permit them to vote. Neither Trump nor the Congress should countenance this. “Identity politics” is a cancer eating at America, driving the citizenry apart, and is a far greater racist threat to our country, if we’re honest, than the pathetic maunderings of creeps like Richard Spencer and his minuscule band of white supremacists who are almost entirely media creations.
It would be to the benefit of the Democratic Party as well to separate amnesty from voting and thus strike a blow against “identity politics.” As was clear from the election of 2016, the public is becoming disgusted with it. Identity politics now actually works against the Democrats in the long run and, frankly, makes them seem quite dumb and self-destructive. Democrats aren’t the cool kids anymore. We’re in the era of Kid Rock and progressives are stuck on Linda Sarsour. As liberal Columbia professor Mark Lilla noted in a recent Wall Street Journal essay:
As a teacher, I am increasingly struck by a difference between my conservative and progressive students. Contrary to the stereotype, the conservatives are far more likely to connect their engagements to a set of political ideas and principles. Young people on the left are much more inclined to say that they are engaged in politics as an X, concerned about other Xs and those issues touching on X-ness. And they are less and less comfortable with debate.
The politics of identity has done nothing but strengthen the grip of the American right on our institutions. It is the gift that keeps on taking. Now is the time for liberals to do an immediate about-face and return to articulating their core principles of solidarity and equal protection for all. Never has the country needed it more.
True enough. And while we’re at it, here’s something else on which liberals should flip-flop — the requirement to have an ID to vote. That necessity should be added, as a corollary for clarification purposes, to the Dreamer-DACA legislation. But for those same noxious “identity politics” reasons, libs have always been against such a requirement, dubbing it “racist.” What ludicrous hypocrisy! It’s the other way around and then some. Democrats apparently and insultingly think African-Americans (and other minorities) are too stupid or lazy to get themselves identity cards, although they need them for the same myriad of things almost all of us do at one time or another, such as flying on planes, driving cars, obtaining a bus pass, seeing a doctor, buying or renting a place to live, entering many corporate high rises and business headquarters or even getting into government buildings. Come to think of it, that last may be deliberate. They don’t really want them in government buildings. They just say they do.
(Yes, I know voter ID requirements are unlikely to make it into the DACA legislation — not in our world anyway, and, yes, it’s probably largely a state issue — but I couldn’t resist.)
Roger L. Simon is an award-winning novelist, Academy Award-nominated screenwriter and co-founder of PJ Media. His latest book is I Know Best: How Moral Narcissism Is Destroying Our Republic, If It Hasn’t Already. Follow hm on twitter @rogerlsimon.