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Trump's wish list makes him worst immigration president

Ruben Navarrette Jr. on

SAN DIEGO -- On his Oval Office report card, Barack Obama earned a massive fail on the immigration issue.

He broke his campaign promise to reform our immigration system, deported about 3 million people, dragged his feet for three years before giving executive relief to young undocumented immigrants through Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), shipped out thousands of Central American women and children refugees without hearing their asylum claims and lied about what he had done by shifting blame to Republicans.

All this cold-heartedness helped make Obama the most anti-immigrant president in modern U.S. history.

But now, in light of his over-the-top and ignorance-fueled demands to Congress in exchange for supporting legal status but not citizenship for Dreamers, it's clear that President Trump wants a shot at the title.

Trump claimed in a statement that each item on his restrictionist wish list will "ensure prosperity, opportunity, and safety for every member of our national family."

Trump tried to accomplish all that by pitching his policy goals as a remedy to what boneheaded Republicans glibly describe as Obama's "illegal executive amnesty" for undocumented young people brought here as children.

For those of you interested in a little thing called truth, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is not "illegal" since the executive branch sets deportation policy and not "amnesty" because it is conditional with strings attached.

Right-wingers confuse feeling strongly about immigration with actually knowing something about it.

Trump made the same mistake when he said that the Obama administration granted in 2012 the "same benefits" that Congress had considered and rejected when comprehensive immigration reform went off the rails several years earlier.

Wrong. DACA is temporary relief that lasts two years and requires recipients to turn themselves in to Immigration and Customs Enforcement; the "deferred action" is deportation. Congress was debating permanent legal status for undocumented immigrants who would not have had to turn themselves in.

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