The Winners And The Losers Of DACA

Joanne Butler Contributor
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The late Ted Kennedy’s spirit must be laughing right now over the Republicans’ struggle with Dreamer legislation.  Kennedy knew well of the political power of benefits for children.  In 1997 he cleverly got federal children’s health insurance legislation passed (with Senator Orrin Hatch’s (R-UT) support).  President Obama followed Kennedy’s example when he gave a waiver to illegal immigrant minor children, generally known as ‘Dreamers’ (an acronym from prior legislation).  This waiver expires in six months.

Whatever Congress decides to do about the Dreamers, there will be winners and losers.

One overlooked sector of ‘losers’ are the disabled, especially high-functioning Downs Syndrome people.  For example, Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) put a hold on one of President Trump’s nominees to the Department of Homeland Security until he could get more guest-worker visas for jobs such as grounds keeping (North Carolina has many golf courses).

Considering how Tillis’ guest-workers likely would have little education and English language ability, it seems to me there are disabled people who could fill those jobs, if employers would make an effort to reach out to them.

The same goes for granting visas to people to work in hotels, making beds, running vacuum cleaners, mopping floors, etc.  There are disabled people who could do these tasks.

I assume Mr. Tillis claims to be pro-life.  If that’s the case, he needs to be pro-disabled workers, as it is the disabled who are more likely to be aborted these days (in Iceland, Downs Syndrome births are practically zero).

Another group of ‘losers’ are white male veterans.  In a pool full of Dreamers, simple labor economics says this makes it more difficult for these veterans to obtain entry-level jobs or jobs requiring community college certificates, etc.

In some sectors, hiring is limited informally to an ethnic group.  A Guatemalan construction crew chief may prefer to hire other Guatemalans.  A Mexican managing a motel may prefer to hire others from his Mexican locality.

Higher up the ladder, hiring a Dreamer can help a large firm meet its ‘diversity/affirmative action’ goals.  A white male veteran is at a disadvantage because ethnic diversity is more highly scrutinized than veterans’ employment.

In corporate America, ‘diversity executive officers’ are the norm.  There’s IBM, Google’s brand-new diversity officer, American Express, the Walt Disney Company, and many more.

The primary job of these officers is to recruit minority workers and retain them.  Naturally, statistical goals are a measure of their success.  Putting Dreamers to work helps meet those goals.

Law enforcement is another loser.  While pro-immigration groups display photos of cute little Dreamers, not all Dreamers are law-abiding.  President Trump should commission a study from the Justice Department to determine what would be the impact on crime rates (and related costs) per each version of proposed Dreamer legislation.

While economic reports on immigration are commonplace, the impact on law enforcement is overlooked.  It’s time to put law enforcement into the immigration legislation equation.

Now for the winners.  Besides the Dreamers themselves, any legislation legalizing Dreamers’ status will result in chain migration. While Trump did not renew a waiver for Dreamer parents, we can expect to see sweet wee Dreamers hold signs begging not to deport Mommy.  Or Daddy.  Or Grandma – and Grandpa.

Holding the line on chain migration will be tough, if not impossible, as Republicans can expect heavy pushback on being hard-hearted against undocumented mommies, daddies and grandparents.

House Republicans will have nightmares over 2018 attack ads featuring sobbing tiny Dreamers being forced from their parents.  Democrats are the big winners here.

More winners include industries dependent on immigrant labor (e.g, landscaping), community colleges (increased applicants), beauty schools and other dubious trade schools, plus the aforementioned corporate diversity officers.

Ted Kennedy’s spirit must be delighted as President Trump and Congressional Republicans twist themselves into knots over what to do with young, sympathy-drawing, illegal immigrants.  President Obama followed Kennedy’s playbook exactly, and, like Kennedy, made it impossible for Republicans to take a hard line on an important policy issue (and in Trump’s case, a campaign promise to his base).

Obama’s Dreamer gambit has turned Trump and Hill Republicans into a bunch of pathetic Sideshow Bobs, constantly getting whacked by rakes.  Man up Republicans, if you truly want to stop this madness.  Otherwise, Obama and the Democrats will come out on top.