Since taking office, President Trump has not demonstrated any significant inclination towards looking out for broad issues of human rights, instead opting to simply keep on working to shape America to be more like his radical vision of it. He’s worked to shut our borders and ostracize those who are in the U.S. but aren’t just like the cookie cutter conservatives who are among those who voted for him.
As a part of this, the Trump administration abruptly announced last year that they would be ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program, which was meant to protect hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children from the threat of deportation.
Enrollment in the program has never been automatic, meaning that it’s not as though it has ever harbored criminals, as the president alleges abound in populations of immigrants to the U.S., but that didn’t stop Trump’s team from moving to end it anyway. The official end date for the program, pending other actions, is in March, and if it expires, hundreds of thousands of people would suddenly face deportation to a country they have little if any tangible connection to.
As the debate over the future of this program rages on, Secretary of Defense James Mattis has now made his thoughts on the matter known.
According to Mattis, the 800 or so “Dreamers” meant to be protected by the program who are U.S. service members would be kept from deportation if the DACA program really is allowed to expire.
As he put it:
‘I’m not an expert on DACA, I’m an expert on military. I’ll just tell you that someone who is on active duty, in the reserves — on active reserve or inactive reserve, you know, whatever their reserve status is — they are not subject to deportation unless they’ve committed a felony or a federal judge has ordered them out for some reason, in which case we have to obey the court order… We would always stand by one of our people.’
Besides individuals either currently in active military service or set to soon begin active service, Mattis also said that service members among the “Dreamers” who had received an honorable discharge would also be protected, CNN reports.
The fate of DACA has figured prominently in recent weeks, with Democrats having refused to support a spending bill in January because there were no protections for DACA recipients included in the plan. That impasse, catalyzed by the president and Republicans refusing to hear Democrats’ concerns, resulted in a three day government shutdown — and may soon result in another shutdown.
Besides Trump’s disparaging public comments about immigrants, he has also been reported to have referred to places including Haiti, El Salvador, and some African nations as “shithole countries” during closed door negotiations ahead of that January government shutdown.
He eventually offered a halfhearted denial of having made the remarks, eventually following that up with a plan to allow for Dreamers to eventually obtain citizenship — as long as Democrats agreed to fund his godforsaken, long promised border wall between the U.S. and Mexico.
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