Love with a gut-punch

EDITORIAL

BY ART CULLEN

“We love the Dreamers,” President Trump said last week. He sure has a funny way of showing it. Over the weekend Attorney General Jeff Sessions reportedly convinced the conflicted and clueless chief executive to end the program that protected the children of undocumented immigrants from deportation. Everyone was reporting by Monday that Trump would end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program instituted by President Obama by executive order. Trump said he will give Congress six months to figure something out.

House Speaker Paul Ryan promises a fix, and the Republicans finally might ask Democrats to work with them on this one. That’s because the likes of our own Rep. Steve King, R-Kiron, already is howling about amnesty and whipping up the 30 nativist members of the House GOP who brought down Speaker John Boehner not so long ago. If Ryan rolls King he may find the same fate.

 The deal works like this: Children who were brought to the United States through no fault of their own would be given some sort of legal status to work and attend school. King and extreme right lawmakers like Ted Cruz consider that jelly-spined amnesty will lead to cultural ruin. Trump won his election by promising to deport all — including children — undocumented immigrants.

Now he has second thoughts.

So let’s give it six months and come up with a plan built on a moral contradiction:

The Dreamers can stay under uncertain terms but their parents must go.

And, we will continue to arrest and detain women and children fleeing state-sponsored terrorism and narco-terrorism against innocents in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.

The Trump Administration would like to round up every undocumented worker and deport them. These are the people roofing your house, laying your sod and slaughtering your hog. They are cleaning your hoghouses and your hotels. They are cleaning your parents in the nursing home, the work of saints.

They must go.

We don’t know who will replace them, but they must be shipped back to Latin America to a life of poverty or, in many cases, certain death. That would be better than allowing these hard-working, God-fearing poor people to get a job and a house with a yard in Storm Lake or any of the surrounding towns begging for neighbors to fill their vacant lots.

But the children can stay.

We don’t know how. We’re not sure how they will access student aid, or how they will eat or where they will live without parents or any sort of family support system. But they can stay, probably, unless Trump changes his mind again.

And this is if the proposal can get clearance from a Freedom Caucus that can’t even build a wall or kill Grassleycare/Obamacare.

They will have to go begging Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., the man they love to hate, to get the votes in the Senate. But before that, Speaker Ryan must go on bended knee to Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and ask her to help save the dispossessed.

And she should say: “Yes, I will help you. But you will help the remaining 12 million undocumented immigrants by allowing them permanent residence and safety from deportation. And we will not build that wall you want.”

It is not the responsibility of the minority to save the majority from its moral abscess. The minority’s obligation is to press its case for justice for all, not for the few and pretty and optimistic, but for everyone. The dirty, the ones with nothing but ambition and a dream for freedom, the elderly who depend on the young, the mothers just trying to protect their children, the fathers chased from job to job by the feel of ICE at his neck.

This is not a political breakthrough. It is a breaking point. It is a point where we throw people overboard right here in Storm Lake, Iowa. Next-door neighbors. People who bought that Virgin statue for St. Mary’s. Welders and meatcutters and carpenters, the kind of workers we beg for year after year. Young people trying to start families and build an American Dream in Iowa. We are pushing them out and locking them out, and forsaking our own ambitions and dreams in the process.

We want the youth to sign up so the jack boots can find their parents more easily. We want to track them and remind them that they are here only by our generous temper. Yet in Storm Lake we try to go on building lives amid this maelstrom. The schools try to teach. People report to work. Everyone in the shadows is nervous. What will happen in six months? What really could happen in six weeks? Nobody knows or will say. And you call that freedom.