by Brent Budowsky
This week President Trump, who recently had trouble unequivocally denouncing white supremacists in Charlottesville, Va., told the Dreamers who entered our country at a young age and represent the American idea made timeless by the Statue of Liberty, that he loved them.
Shortly thereafter, Trump betrayed them, telling those he had just said he loved that they are no longer welcome in America unless a divided and dysfunctional Congress enacts a Dream Act within six months, which he did not promise to sign and should promise he will not veto.
It was an unnecessary and wrong betrayal for Trump to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy initiated by President Obama. Congress must now pass a Dream Act to ensure that Dreamers are welcome in America today, tomorrow and forever.
Some Republicans who stand by Trump will aggressively oppose any legislation designed to help the Dreamers who love our country, study in our schools, obey our laws, strengthen our economy, worship in our churches and protect our security while serving in the military.
Other Republicans seek a Faustian bargain that would exchange support for the Dreamers in return for agreement to waste huge sums of taxpayer money to build an extravagantly expensive wall on the Mexican border, which Trump repeatedly and falsely promised would be paid for by the Mexican government. The answer to compromise proposals should be increased funding for border security, absolutely yes, but funding for the border wall, unequivocally no.
The Dreamers pose a litmus test for the conscience of the Republican Party. There are many good and patriotic Americans who support Trump, but there are also white supremacists who support him and should not be coddled, courted or have any place in the Republican Party.
Republicans should summon the moral and political courage to stand against the kind of GOP that Trump is attempting to create and the racial divisions that Trump is determined to escalate, exacerbate and exploit. Congress should pass the Dream Act promptly and prevent the cruel mass deportations that Trump’s policy would impose and enforce.
For the same reasons, principled Republicans should join Democrats in opposing the Trump pardon of former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio. This reprehensible pardon would sanction injustice. It is now under legal challenge that will ultimately be decided by the courts.
If the pardon stands, Trump could claim the executive power to destroy any constitutional protection and civil rights law that is violated by anyone acting under the power of the state whose violations of law are sanctioned or protected by a presidential pardon.
The Founding Fathers never intended to grant any president the power to undermine the faithful execution of law, destroy judicial review, encourage contempt of court, undermine constitutional protections or send signals to suspects in criminal investigations of foreign attacks against America that wrongdoers may expect pardons, too.
In communities across America there are young Dreamers and their families who now endure the fear, caused by the president who recently said he loves them, that six months from now there may be a knock on their door and they will be cruelly and forcibly deported from the land they love and the only homeland they know.
The Dreamers are good and decent young men, women and children. They love this country in ways unknown to a president who wears a hat about making America great while he persistently exploits the bitterly divisive politics of race and fear.
The Dreamers are American in the ways that matter the most. They make the country better by their presence. They keep alive by their patriotism the time-honored truth that America is a melting pot of shared values, and not the cauldron of racial injustice and national division promoted by the president who is the temporary occupant of the Oval Office.
Trump said he loves the Dreamers, and then betrayed them. Lets support the Dreamers, because we love America as they do.
Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas) and former Rep. Bill Alexander (D-Ark.), then-chief deputy majority whip of the House. He holds an LL.M. in international financial law from the London School of Economics.