The Politics Of DACA

Personally, although I understand and appreciate arguments against a favored path to citizenship for people in America who qualify for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program [DACA], I believe this is one segment of our population that we have an obligation to consider separately from other issues labeled as “amnesty” in debates about finding solutions to the extremely complicated issue of illegal immigration. These are people brought here illegally as children. They were too young to know that what their parents were doing was illegal, and they have grown up here and know of no other previous life elsewhere. Many [most, as I understand it] have become productive residents, have jobs, and pay taxes. Many have gotten an education, some at advanced levels. The problem is our fault, not theirs — i.e., our lack of resolve in dealing with the issue of border control and illegal immigration over many decades has resulted in numerous problems, the plight of these people being only one relatively small part of a bigger whole.

The Right Thing To Do [But Don’t Kid Yourself About Supporters’ Motivations]

Whenever politicians even within their own party have differing opinions on an issue, there is at least a modicum of rationale for assuming that the differences of opinion are not party-line focused. However, any time you hear all politicians of one party expressing themselves at every opportunity in a party-line monolithic mode, giving impassioned speeches about the plight of a certain segment of our population and pushing for legislation to “ease their pain”, you can bet that their motivation is not altogether altruistic. This is true regardless of which party is trying to capture the “high-road” [ostensibly the more altruistic] image.

In the case of DACA, it’s the Democrats that are trying [and so far, in my opinion, succeeding] to portray themselves as their advocates. Because of their monolithic solidarity, though, my suspicion got the best of me, so I decided to do a little research. My findings revealed some interesting correlations between their ostensible passion for DACA beneficiaries and just plain run-of-the-mill politics.

Looking Deeper

Let’s just look at the numbers. In the 2016 presidential election, all the hype about Hillary Clinton winning the popular vote by 2.9 million votes is meaningless [that’s only a 48.1% to 46.1% victory — neither Clinton nor Trump got a majority of the popular vote]. Clinton lost the Electoral College vote 306 to 232, and that 70% to 30% trouncing was achieved by a margin of only a few hundred thousand votes. Which states? Five states that supplied 109 Electoral votes for Trump [more than enough to have swung the election to Clinton] were in the top ten states in terms of DACA applications — Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, Texas and Georgia. In each of those states, the number of DACA-eligible people not currently in the DACA program averages 30% of the votes that would be required to swing the state from Republican to Democrat in terms of Electoral College votes [the range is 17% in Georgia to 45% in Arizona].

The bottom line is that, under two assumptions, current and future DACA participants would be a major component of the votes that could swing these Trump states to a Democrat challenger if Democrats are able to solidify the perception that they are the true DACA advocates. The two assumptions are 1) that all current DACA participants [who would supposedly ultimately become voters] vote Democrat and 2) all newly-approved DACA participants [i.e., those eligible to vote under a new law] vote Democrat. That would enable Democrats to focus their advertising dollars on other segments of those states’ populations, dramatically improving their chances of turning those states from red to blue on the Electoral map.

It Would Be Great …

It would be great if motivations to support current and potential future DACA participants were pure, and driven by people in our elected leadership who have true concerns for the people in the program — but the truth is, it’s just politics as usual.

Thanks for reading this post, and if you regularly follow my Blog, for that, too. Please consider sharing this or other posts with your friends, colleagues and associates.

Charles M Jones

Charles M. Jones

Author: Charles M. Jones, PE, CPA

[retired — neither license active]

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