TBJE 27: What is DACA and why it Matters

Today’s episode is the audio of Juhem’s talk at the American Humanist Association (Washington, DC) on October 12, 2017.


Key facts about unauthorized immigrants enrolled in DACA (Pew Research Center)

The Dream Act, DACA, and Other Policies Designed to Protect Dreamers (American Immigration Council)

Public Support for Basic Policies of DACA Program Edges Up (PRRI)

Replace Scalia with an Immigrant Child

I sometimes think that in the minds of conservatives, the best constitutional scholars in this country are not in the Supreme Court, in the halls of our top universities, or in the offices of major legal institutions. The rhetoric about people coming to the United States and immediately gaming the system suggests that in the minds of anti-immigrant conservatives (a Venn diagram that becomes smaller each passing day) our most brilliant legal minds are those who risk life and family to come to undocumented into this country.

Now, a judge thinks that the brilliant legal minds coming to the country includes the thousands of children detained trying to cross the border. According to Judge Jack Weil based in Virginia, children as young as age 3 can be explained our immigration laws and can forgo legal representation.

I’ve taught immigration law literally to 3-year-olds and 4-year-olds. It takes a lot of time. It takes a lot of patience … They get it. It’s not the most efficient, but it can be done.

Judge Jack Weil

I think that his logic opens wide open the pool of candidates to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia. But in all seriousness, this is appalling. This is the same logic that condones charging children as adults. Children of color in this country are not allowed to be kids, they are dangerous minds from birth and not worthy of civil or human rights. And yet we ask why Donald Trump is so popular.

The Donald’s Latino Support is not “Suprising”

A recent piece at The Daily Dot tries to explain Donald Trump’s “surprising” 13 percent support among Latinos. The “explanations” are that Latinos are a diverse bunch and that because Trumps scapegoats Mexicans, many Latinos still “mysteriously” favor him. Of course, 13 percent is small. In a sample of 250 voters (the number of Latinos in the survey cited), this is about 35 people.

I don’t think that fining 13 percent of Latino voters supporting Trump is surprising at all. Trump has a high level of name recognition among all Americans. Many Latinos in the US and people in Latin America recognize Trump for his Miss Universe pageant. I still recall during my teenage years when I was living in Puerto Rico and Miss Universe was a big deal and the local press would highlight whatever the Donald said about our representative. His statement was always flattering the beauty of the contestant since the Donald only cares about the looks of women. The pageant was not just popular in Puerto Rico, but through the region.

Rather than the 13 percent who would vote for Trump, I am surprised by how much attention his statements about Mexican immigrants have received. A recent Univision poll shows that 90 percent of Latinos know about the statements, 71 percent of Latinos have an unfavorable opinion of Trump, and that 79 percent of Latinos find the comments offensive. This latter number includes 77 percent of Latinos who are NOT of Mexican descent. Many Latinos are savvy enough to realize that ignorant bigots use “Mexican” to refer to any type of brown person with an accent where the “Rs” are rather strong.

The Donald’s campaign is highlighting an ugly side of the Republican coalition. At a time when the GOP thinks it is necessary to improve relations with Latino communities, Trump’s surge to the lead at the polls shows the disconnect between some of the party elites’ goals and the rank-and-file feelings. Most Latinos do not identify as Republican and most people in general do not pay attention to the Presidential Elections until they are well underway. But Trump’s statements have made Latinos pay attention to what would be an obscure affair to most of them. And that’s the real surprise of Trump’s run.

Featured image: Donald Trump tours the US-Mexico border (Source: NBC News)