Temporary dreams



The United States Supreme Court bought time for Dreamers left in a legal limbo as President Trump has sought to end their protected status and deport them since the day he took office. He will try until the day he leaves office. Last week, the high court ruled that the Trump Administration did not end the program properly, failing to take into account what will happen to those brought here as children by parents seeking work. Many are now critical health care workers fighting in the trenches of the coronavirus pandemic, Justice Sotomayor noted.

Chief Justice John Roberts, writing for the 5-4 majority, hewed his opinion to the technical process requirements for winding down the 2012 Obama Administration order protecting Dreamers from deportation, and allowing them to pursue educations, jobs and military service as legal residents. Roberts wrote of the Department of Homeland Security:

“Here the agency failed to consider the conspicuous issues of whether to retain forbearance and what if anything to do about the hardship to DACA recipients. That dual failure raises doubts about whether the agency appreciated the scope of its discretion or exercised that discretion in a reasonable manner.”

We would like to think that the chief justice, with great respect for the court’s role, realizes that it is the key institution in holding the Republic together at this moment. He used a process argument that avoids the heart of the debate about whether the policy is sound to force the administration to start over on terminating DACA. Roberts suggests that immigrants have some rights, or at least deserve some deference.

Theodore Olson, a former Republican solicitor general for President George W. Bush, argued the case on behalf of the Dreamers and told the justices that the administration “triggered abrupt, tangible, adverse consequences and substantial disruptions in the lives of 700,000 individuals, their families, employers, communities and the armed forces. That decision required the government to provide an accurate, reasoned, rational and legally sound explanation. It utterly failed to do so.”

Trump will not have time before November to build a rationale for ending the program while considering the interests of Dreamers as the court requires. If he is re-elected, he will have that time. Trump made clear during his opening debate rally in Tulsa on Saturday that a hard line on immigration will be drawn for the campaign.

The nation would do well to follow Sotomayor’s caution. Dreamers are our essential workforce. They work in the nursing homes, in the packing plants, in our schools and in our clinics. Many who were children in 2012 now have children of their own in school.

We never were comfortable with the Obama executive order because we knew it would come to this. The nation punted comprehensive immigration reform and allowed it to stew into a political mess. Now we have anywhere from 10 million to 14 million undocumented immigrants, including Dreamers, who work hard and live by the rules and build communities like Storm Lake. They need to be made citizens. All of them, not just the Dreamers.

That’s why it is so important that everyone in Buena Vista County who is eligible to vote gets registered and votes for a permanent solution that respects the rights of immigrants to make a living, and to apply for citizenship and freedom without having to fight an unrelenting bureaucracy. Donald Trump, Joni Ernst and Randy Feenstra want to build walls between people who need each other. The court ruling briefly interrupts them until we can set things straight.

Begging China for help

President Trump begged the leader of China to buy soybeans to help the re-election of the most corrupt administration in US history, according to former National Security Director John Bolton. He did this last summer, about the time he met with former Gov. Terry Branstad, now ambassador to China. Branstad brought in a map of Iowa to show Trump where he was in trouble because of his wars on ethanol and trade with China, according to a story by Reuters. Trump became alarmed, and called up Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue and the EPA chief. “Let’s fix this right now!” Trump commanded. The Administration threw $30 billion in trade relief packages at agriculture. Still, markets have languished. Trump said China will double its ag purchases from the US. It has not. It buys when it is good and ready, and when the price is low. They knew they didn’t need beans while their pork herd was ravaged by swine fever. So China backed off buying, and used that time to firm up its ownership of Brazil. US beans are so cheap that China is wading back into some buying with us, giving traders irrational exuberance about what might happen just before the election.

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