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DACA youths rely on dealmaker Trump

By Clarence Page, Tribune Content Agency on

Good. Considering Trump's past flip-flops on this issue, among others, it was smart of Pelosi to get this promise in writing.

But as much as I dislike adding to the anxiety already being felt by those who currently have DACA protection, experience tells us that when Donald Trump says "you have nothing to worry about," maybe you do.

Four years ago, as Trump was beginning to flirt with a presidential run, he met in Trump Tower with a delegation of a half-dozen DACA recipients, who often refer to themselves as "Dreamers." Afterwards happily declared, "You convinced me."

But when Trump launched his campaign two years later, he slimed Mexicans and other immigrants as mostly "rapists" and "killers," and promised a get-tough immigration agenda, including an immediate end to the DACA policy that he incorrectly called "amnesty."

But after his election, Trump softened his rhetoric, after ramping up immigration enforcement efforts by executive order. Those covered by DACA could "rest easy," he said, because they weren't targets for deportation under his policy.

Yet, contrary to his promise that his crackdown would focus on "criminals" and "bad hombres," U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) revealed in May that the biggest spike in immigration arrests has actually been those with no criminal records. Sad hombres, maybe, but not that bad.

Yet, sadly and significantly, a Texas DACA-protected immigrant named Alonso Guillen drowned in the Houston area where he was trying to help rescue victims of Hurricane Harvey. He quickly became a national symbol of the so-called Dreamers. They have been well-vetted by the government after turning over all of their personal information for scrutiny. Now, if there's a roundup of Dreamers, they'll be just that much more easy to track down.

That would be a double tragedy. The young people who could lose their DACA protection tend to be the sort of honest, ambitious, hard-working and outstanding students, soldiers and workers who have helped make this country great long before Trump turned that into a slogan.

He should help them to help America be even greater. Even a Trump skeptic like me will give him good reviews for that -- and I just put that in writing.

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(E-mail Clarence Page at cpage@chicagotribune.com.)

(c) 2017 CLARENCE PAGE DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES, INC.
 

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