Email #273: “with heart and compassion”?

Although there is a great deal of disagreement between Republicans and Democrats regarding immigration, I hope that the statement you released yesterday indicates your willingness to join in bipartisan support of a much-needed “Dreamers” bill.

You praised President Trump’s elimination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals not because of your opposition to the children it helps but because of the manner in which it was created. You claim that President Obama “used his ‘pen and phone’ to overstep his authority and unilaterally rewrite our nation’s laws” in a manner that was “wholly unconstitutional.” Though this claim is both questionable and arguably hypocritical, let’s set aside those issues and acknowledge that, whatever DACA’s current status, President Trump will eliminate it in six months. As a result, roughly 800,000 undocumented immigrants who entered the country as minors will no longer receive a renewable two-year period for work permits and deferred deportation.

This would be a terrible and pointless outcome that violates so many American values. You said yourself, “Individuals who were brought to the U.S. illegally by their parents as children are in a very difficult position, but no president has the authority to change the law on his own terms.” It is therefore up to Congress to change the law. And since the House Judiciary Committee oversees immigration policy, it is specifically your responsibility as Committee chair to lead the process of passing what you described yesterday as “reasonable legislation.”

Happily, you are well supported in this goal. Press Secretary Huckabee said yesterday: “We have confidence that Congress is going to step up and do their job. This is something that needs to be fixed legislatively.”

The President said himself that he wants Congress to “resolve the DACA issue with heart and compassion,” calling these young adults “incredible kids” who deserve a “humane solution.”

Speaker Ryan agrees too: “At the heart of this issue are young people who came to this country through no fault of their own, and for many of them it’s the only country they know. It is my hope that the House and Senate, with the president’s leadership, will be able to find consensus on a permanent legislative solution that includes ensuring that those who have done nothing wrong can still contribute as a valued part of this great country.”

And there is already bipartisan support in the Senate for bills that would turn DACA into permanent law. Republican Senators Graham, Flake, and Murkowski have been on board since February. Surely a path to “reasonable legislation” is within easy reach.

Will you pledge to set aside all partisan politics on this one simple issue and work with your colleagues on both sides of the aisle to achieve this shared goal?

Author: Chris Gavaler

Chris Gavaler is an associate professor at W&L University, comics editor of Shenandoah, and series editor of Bloomsbury Critical Guides in Comics Studies. He has published two novels: School for Tricksters (SMU 2011) and Pretend I’m Not Here (HarperCollins 2002); and six books of scholarship: On the Origin of Superheroes (Iowa 2015), Superhero Comics (Bloomsbury 2017), Superhero Thought Experiments (with Nathaniel Goldberg, Iowa 2019), Revising Fiction, Fact, and Faith (with Nathaniel Goldberg, Routledge 2020), Creating Comics (with Leigh Ann Beavers, Bloomsbury 2021), and The Comics Form (Bloomsbury forthcoming). His visual work appears in Ilanot Review, North American Review, Aquifer, and other journals.

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