Donald Trump sent the American people a clear message on Tuesday when he announced an end to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA): in Trump’s America it is acceptable to deny people their humanity and deport them from the country they grew up in because they have a different skin color, talk with a different accent, or come from a different part of the world.
This is bad if (like me) you think that people should be treated the same way regardless of their skin color. It is good if you think that Making America Great Again means finding a group of people to be the underclass.
By ending DACA Mr. Trump has made clear that he does not care how much someone contributes to the United States or how little say they had in coming to this country. By ending DACA in the wake of pardoning Joe Arpaio, Trump has shown that making America great again means making people that look like him be superior to the latino residents of the United States. Beyond the fact that discriminating against people who have a different skin color or language is just morally wrong, it is also bad for the rest of us.
I happen to be a white guy living in an apartment on Park Avenue in New York City and I don’t even know anybody, as far as I know, who is making use of the DACA program, so I have nothing to worry about. At least, I have nothing to worry about tonight.
But I worry about the future of this country:
The Holocaust Memorial on Congress Street in Boston has Martin Niemöller’s famous poem which ends:
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
And it’s true. If today it’s okay to kill guys who say “adios” and have ancestors who lived near the Sierra Madres, who is to say that tomorrow it won’t be okay to kill guys who say “Mazel Tov” and have ancestors who lived near the Baltic Sea.
I worry too about who, in Trump’s America will be in the school lobby at pick up time, when both parents are downtown working? Who will be driving the Uber car? Who will be picking the apples? Maybe the unemployed air conditioner makers from Indiana, and the unemployed coal miners from Kentucky will come do those jobs. We will all suffer when many of our countrymen are relegated to living in the shadows or not at all.
The third part of the problem is that it is immigrants who made America great.
- Frederick Trump born in Bavaria, came to the United States to avoid the draft, and went from being a barber to being a real estate magnate (and the grandfather of the 45th President of the United States).
- Elon Musk, born in South Africa, came to the United States to further his education, and start his businesses which became Paypal, SpaceX, and Tesla.
- Sergey Brin, born in Russia, emigrated to the United States as a child because his parents could not advance their careers in the (then) Soviet Union due to their Jewish religion. He later founded Google.
A few of us are native Americans, but almost all of us are the children of immigrants.
Lastly, but also importantly, many of our businesses (almost all) depend on selling some kind of products or services. All of those businesses depend on the consumers who have enough money to pay for those things. Making so many of our fellow Americans into second class citizens, afraid to venture out of their houses will be a disaster for so many of our business people (and the people who work in their businesses) whatever the color of their skin.