DACA isn’t about DACA

I was going to publish my post about police violence in the US today, but Schumer and Pelosi released a statement about DACA last night, so I figured that I should make a quick point about this instead. According to their statement, Schumer and Pelosi have reached a deal with Trump that would enshrine DACA into law, in exchange for a package of border security that excludes a wall. The White House pushed back a little this morning, but it’s absolutely clear that amnesty was on the table. Some people are thrilled about this development, while others are appalled, but most people on either side are missing the real significance of this announcement. Indeed, the thing you need to understand about DACA is that, despite all the fuss about it, it isn’t and never was about DACA.

The truth is that, for the pro-immigration side, DACA is just a way to protect the status quo, while most restrictionists don’t care about DACA per se and only see it as a bargaining chip. For both sides, DACA is just a means to an end, nothing more. The Democrats and the pro-immigration Republicans don’t give a shit about DACA. If they really were only interested in protecting “dreamers”, they could get amnesty for them in exchange for cuts in legal immigration and the generalization of E-Verify in a heartbeat. There isn’t a single restrictionist in Congress who wouldn’t take this deal, but people on the pro-immigration side would never agree to that, which shows that DACA is just an excuse for them to protect the status quo and ensure that mass immigration continues. They know that reducing immigration is extremely popular among the marginal voters, i. e. people who tip the elections, which means they can’t defend mass immigration openly. So instead of doing that, they exploit people’s concern about “dreamers”, those poor little children who have spent all their life in the US through no fault of their own, are productive members of society, etc.

Only the pro-immigration side benefits from making the debate about DACA, because as long as the question is whether “dreamers” should be deported, public opinion is on their side. In order to avoid this trap, restrictionists must explain that they are open to a deal that would allow “dreamers” to stay, in exchange for the end of mass immigration through concrete measures such as cuts in legal immigration and the generalization of E-Verify. Of course, people on the pro-immigration side would never take that deal, but in rejecting it they would show their true colors and this would make clear to everyone what the debate is really about, i. e. for or against mass immigration. If restrictionists could pull this off, they would destroy the pro-immigration side, because despite what you often hear (I plan to write a post about this at some point), immigration is massively unpopular.

The problem is that only Trump could do that, because other restrictionists, who openly propose the kind of deal I described above on a regular basis, are constantly ignored by the media, which is on the side of the establishment and does its best to make sure the debate remains centered on “dreamers”. But the media couldn’t ignore Trump if he pitched that deal and explained what its rejection by the pro-immigration side means. Unfortunately, it’s not going to happen, because Trump clearly has no intention to move the debate from the issue of what’s going to happen to “dreamers”.

What this imbecile doesn’t understand is that Schumer just played him like a fool.

His stance on immigration, more than anything else, is what got Trump into the White House. So what he just did is really stupid, even though he doesn’t seem to realize it. But he will, although it might take some time, since many of his supporters just aren’t ready to admit that he’s selling them out. (It’s amazing the ridiculous excuses some of them will come up with to refuse to accept the truth.) To be clear, unlike many #NeverTrumpers, I’m not saying that restrictionists were wrong to vote for Trump. There was always a possibility that Trump would flip-flop on this, but if you’re a restrictionist, he was clearly the most rational option. Similarly, it’s possible that, had Sanders been elected President, he would have reversed his stance on single-payer. But he was still more likely than Clinton to push for single-payer. People who make that ridiculous argument about Trump think they’re smart, but they’re just cretins who don’t understand the concept of probability.

Beside, even if Trump sells out his base on this (which he almost certainly will), his election is still a good thing for restrictionists. If only that, it showed that, in order to win the nomination of his party for the presidential election, a Republican candidate had to take a strong position against immigration. Of course, he can still flip-flop after he is elected, but the promises he makes during the campaign still place constraints on what he can do on that issue. It also moved the Overton window in a direction they favor, which can’t be neglected. But they still shouldn’t fool themselves by refusing to admit that Trump is about to fuck them, because that’s exactly what he is going to do. He’s going to make a deal with the establishment of both parties to enshrine DACA into the law in exchange for empty promises about border security. (It doesn’t mean that it’s going to happen though, because Republicans in Congress are going to receive a lot of angry calls from their base, threatening to cut their dicks off if they vote for amnesty.) You can’t make a deal with people who have no interest in a compromise and the establishment will never compromise on immigration. You have to force them, by using public opinion, but Trump isn’t going to do that.

2 thoughts

  1. Unfortunately, I fear you’re right. Trump could have used DACA as a bargaining chip – but instead he just gave it away for free. Well, whatever. I guess we must make other arrangements.

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