Thursday, November 12, 2015

"Who will be the first person hauled away?"

Republicans won't touch comprehensive immigration reform. At least not until after 2016, according to Paul Ryan, the new Speaker of the House. And they have no plan that's evident and attracting any support. The only concrete proposal is mass deportation suggested by Donald Trump. But, even about that one, what is not said is more important than what is said.

At the most recent debate Tuesday night, Kasich and Bush were trying to be the pragmatists (aka the only adults in the room). They each took Trump to task on the feasibility of his deportation plan. Even now, though, there remain a lot of devils in the details. For example, assuming the billions of dollars needed for implementation would be in hand, who would do the deportation? Exactly who and exactly how? One of our current uniformed services or agencies? Border patrol? Local law enforcement? Or some brand new national police force? With brown uniforms and jack boots?

EJ Montini ( has some choice words about the deportation plan.

So, who will be the first person hauled away? A father who has worked peacefully and productively for years and has established family roots in the community? Or maybe a mother who must be pried away from her American-born son or daughter?

Depending on who becomes president in 2016, this could get very messy.

By dragging its feet on a decision on President Obama’s deferred deportation program the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit has pushed back the possibility of a Supreme Court ruling on the executive action before Obama leaves office. The conservative court was expected to rule against the president.

Arizona was one of the states that joined the lawsuit against Obama’s order.

Hopefully, the issue will go to the Supreme Court. We KNOW Congress won’t touch it.

But a Supreme Court decision might not occur until the next president is in office and that person can immediately rescind Obama’s executive action.

Will Republican presidential candidates now start promising deportations on Day 1?

From a humanitarian point of view, Obama was trying to protect families from being torn apart.

Obama’s order was meant to protect some of those living illegally in the U.S. by exercising what is called "prosecutorial discretion." Essentially, he directed federal agencies to go after the really bad guys first and leave working folks with families alone, at least for a while. The deferred deportation protection lasts a few years.

But apparently the Circuit court had a different view.

Reporters have described the immigrant families most affected by all this as being in "limbo." That’s not correct. In Catholic school they taught us that limbo was a type of celestial holding area, a transitional place.

Our failed immigration policy is more permanent, more unrelentingly painful. More like hell. At least for the roughly 770,000 undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children – the "dreamers" – as well as for the others living here whom Obama hoped to protect, mothers and fathers with children who are U.S. citizens.

All of them must now wonder: Who will be the first person hauled away?

Maybe the court has an answer to that one.

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