Email #287: “we cannot fix the DACA problem”?

“I believe in the idea of amnesty for those who have put down roots and lived here, even though sometime back they may have entered illegally.”

Do you disagree with that opinion? If so, you disagree with Ronald Reagan. He said it during a presidential debate in 1984, but he began promoting the policy during his first year in office. It became law through the bipartisan Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, which increased security along the U.S.-Mexican border and also allowed undocumented immigrant who entered the country before 1982 to become citizens.

“The vast majority of illegal immigrants are decent people who work hard, support their families, practice their faith, and lead responsible lives… there are differences between an illegal immigrant who crossed the border recently and someone who has worked here for many years, and has a home, a family, and an otherwise clean record. I believe that illegal immigrants who have roots in our country and want to stay should have to pay a meaningful penalty for breaking the law, … to pay their taxes, … to learn English … and to work in a job for a number of years. People who meet these conditions should be able to apply for citizenship.”

Do you disagree with that too? If so, then you also disagree with President Bush. He announced his immigration reform plan in 2006, one that would have combined amnesty with increased border security. The bill died in the Senate the following year.

Now even President Trump—easily the most anti-immigration President of the modern era—has vowed to protect undocumented immigrants who entered the country as children from deportation and to provide a path to legal residency. Though the President’s commitment to replacing DACA with legislation falls far below his Republican predecessors, you have not expressed support of even this limited gesture. You said last week:

“President Trump has called on Congress to address this issue the right way through legislation. However, we cannot fix the DACA problem without fixing all of the issues that led to the underlying problem of illegal immigration in the first place.”

Does this mean you will vote against a DACA-replacing bill endorsed by the President? He has given Congress only six months to fix DACA, but “fixing all of the issues” related to immigration will take considerably longer. Rather than tackling this task in stages, will you block the President’s first, bipartisan step?

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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