Political Decay
The DACA Fight and the End of Politics

The DACA chaos isn’t just about immigration. It also points to a growing disturbance within Enlightenment liberal politics.

Published on: September 5, 2017
Jason Willick is an associate editor at The American Interest and a Robert Novak journalism fellow.
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  • Suzy Dixon

    Smart decision by Trump to hand the issue over to congress. Make it their problem and at the same time throw Obama under the bus again for attempting an amnesty by fiat.

    • FriendlyGoat

      It looks to me like those being thrown under the bus most (other than the Dreamers themselves) are the Republicans of Congress.
      There are plenty of them—–probably most—–who have no personal problem whatsoever with DACA, as long as they are not asked to vote against the wishes of the meanies in their bases. They probably all know that the optics of whacking young people do not help them with their one over-riding goal which is tax cuts for the high end.

      • Suzy Dixon

        Yep that’s how much trouble America is in. Elected lawmakers, well-paid and with top notch benefits, don’t want to enforce the countries laws, or even turn DACA into a real law as opposed to executive fiat by coupling it with border wall funding, etc.

        • FriendlyGoat

          Aside from “playing chicken” with the lives of a bunch of young people for the political effect, I don’t think the president is doing his GOP Congress folks any “favor” and I have a feeling most of them know it. Those from the hard-line districts have a choice between pleasing the real jerks of their districts and doing anything remotely statesmanlike.

          • Suzy Dixon

            The first job of the president outlined in the constitution isn’t commander in chief or to kiss puppies for that matter. His job is to enforce the laws. That’s the first job of the office. He’s handing it to congress because congress makes laws. If they want to couple codifying DACA into law with wall funding or better yet wall funding and reform, then he seems willing to sign DACA into law. Don’t fool yourself either. We’re talking about a lot of adults here. They know they’re illegal and didn’t do anything about it.

          • FriendlyGoat

            When you add two hurricanes and a DPRK standoff into this mix, Congress is in trouble. I suspect the old guys (think Orin Hatch, for instance) know it.

          • 李明洙

            We laugh at America. So dumb to be honest. Call any embassy in your country and ask them how to get a work visa much less citizenship. Then ask yourself why did the mexican government even assist them to leave in the 90s? If they were so productive and valuable good tax livestock then they’d build the wall to keep them in mexico. They love them in America getting welfare or working and sending dollars to mexico.

          • Tom

            Blame the last POTUS for that–you know, the one who decided to do everything by executive order.

          • Thack

            Trump is way ahead of Obama when it comes to executive orders.. He’s white, so it’s not a problem.

          • Thack
          • Tom


  • BreitBadger

    The reality is it just isn’t that popular. It’s why Obama acted unilaterally and why Eric Cantor lost his primary. People do not want anymore Amnesty, illegal immigration, benefits for illegals, etc etc. What the Left would have to give up to get a deal for the dreamers is more than they are willing to give.
    Trump did the right thing today. Whatever your beliefs are in regard to DACA and illegals, it was critical to rebuke what Obama did and reinforce our constitutional order. The Executive does not legislate, period. We do not elect kings, its time people start to remember that.

    • Gary Hemminger

      You missed the point of the article completely. the point was that both sides are acting like tribal leaders rather than politicians. Politicians make compromise. No one likes it but that is what they are supposed to do. Maybe you should read the article again because you seem to have just read what you want to hear rather than getting the point of the article.

      • BreitBadger

        I really didn’t, and I caught that obvious point he was making. I am discussing DACA itself, expressing my thoughts on the matter and being critical of the Left because I do not think they will or are capable dealing/compromising. Granted, the right won’t deal easily either(which I am happy about, there have been enough immigration giveaways). Just wanted to point it out and potentially discuss it. Though I do not read this site often so I do not know how the comments section is here as far as rational discussions go.

        • FriendlyGoat

          The comment section here is mostly horrible for “rational discussions”, even though many, even most, of the participants are rather highly educated. I say that from my bias of being a liberal on nearly all subjects, but conservatives here often find agreement with each other.

        • Jim__L

          This is far and away the best website for rational discussions in the comments section. We generally dislike people who are on a single hobbyhorse and post about it whether it is relevant to the discussion or not; FriendlyGoat has a habit of doing that, first about high-end taxes, and now about 81% of evangelicals, and he gets an ever-growing amount of criticism for that proportional to how long he’s been riding it.

          As for the rest — “read the article again” isn’t the worst critique you’ll see if people disagree with you, but it’s not uncommon to see that level of courteous disagreement here (as opposed to actual flame wars, which are rare.)

  • QET

    Putting DACA to one side, I don’t think the premise is correct. What liberalism separated was law and religion. At a time when religion and morals were one and the same, separation of law from religion was separation of law from morality. The impetus was not so much to get free from Christian morals as it was to get free from the power of the Catholic Church. It’s not as though Protestant, so-called bourgeois morality isn’t evident in the laws of classical liberalism. The old principle of cuius regio, eius religio has never really been abandoned, anywhere.

    • Gary Hemminger

      Yes, I do think the premise was correct.

  • QET

    Also, I fail to see why the reasoning here must begin with the premise that the “Dreamers must be protected.” That is precisely the issue, if by protection you mean citizenship. The Dreamers are merely here; any debate that assigns them the status of a fait accompli has already conceded the political point, liberal or otherwise.

  • Gary Hemminger

    This gets my award for the best, most accurate, succinct political writing I have seen in my lifetime. Very well done Jason. You hit the nail right on the head. Nothing else needs to be said. Everyone in the US should read this article. Bravo!

  • Beauceron

    “Some Congressional Republicans would be willing to codify DACA (which shields unauthorized immigrants who came here as children from deportation) if it was accompanied by certain restrictionist measures.”

    How convenient it must be to have such a selective memory in politics. Republicans did just that, remember? Back in 1986, Reagan signed a law enacting sweeping immigration reform and granting amnesty to 3 million illegals. There was a deal put in place back then, remember? The Democrats swore– swore up and down– that they would then back a more restrictive immigration system, which would include greater enforcement. We all know what happened– illegal immigration skyrocketed (see chart). The number of illegals grew from 3 million to what the government says is 11 million, but most NGOs on both the left and right say is probably closer to 20 million.

    You cannot make compromises with people who lie. And the Left, which views mass immigration as the engine that will drive them to a permanent majority, have always lied about immigration. Go back and read the legislative history of the 1965 Immigration Act.

    In pushing the 1965 Act, Ted Kennedy said:

    “First, our cities will not be flooded with a million immigrants annually. Under the proposed bill, the present level of immigration remains substantially the same…

    Secondly, the ethnic mix of this country will not be upset… Contrary to the charges in some quarters, [the bill] will not inundate America with immigrants from any one country or area, or the most populated and deprived nations of Africa and Asia…

    In the final analysis, the ethnic pattern of immigration under the proposed measure is not expected to change as sharply as the critics seem to think… The bill will not flood our cities with immigrants. It will not upset the ethnic mix of our society. It will not relax the standards of admission. It will not cause American workers to lose their jobs.”

    Every single assertion in that statement has proven to be a lie.

    The Democrats will happily take an amnesty now just as they did in 1986. Then they will not keep up there end of the bargain. They will get their millions of voters, we will get nothing but more immigrants.

    That is not compromise. That is stupidity.


  • Ulysses4033

    The twist to the tribalizing tendencies noted here is the impact of postmodernist “thinking” on the Left, and its unfortunate spillover onto the rest of us. Another improvement that classical liberalism brought humanity was its emphasizing reason over emotion, which postmodernism assails and undermines at every opportunity. Most socialist and communist programs since the unlamented François-Noël Babeuf’s French Revolutionary manifesto have been part of the great counterrevolution against modernity with its Enlightenment project to create autonomous and self-actualized individuals capable of leaving the tribe and living life on their own terms (“pursuit of happiness”). “Class warfare” was just tribal warfare renamed, as are today’s silly “identitarian” politics.

    Willick’s noting “the Democrats’ moral indignation” leaves out its anti-rational emotional energy. The unholy alliance between “progressives” and the rent-seekers among the Western elites (perfectly emblemized by the Marx-Engels relationship) generates through its control of academia and the MSM clerisy mass emotion-laden propaganda seeking to whip us all up against the radical achievement of constitutional government created in 1788.

    They’ve been brilliant at it because they seduced/bullied mainstream conservatives to play by its rules, even as the Perot/Tea Party/Trump voters have been screaming NO for decades–and even as GOP control of government at both the state and federal levels are at their strongest in 90 years. They don’t simply moralize policy positions, they emotionalize them, and this scares the modernists. The appeal of President Trump to many of us has been his utter contempt for the rigged game, which should provide breathing space for confidently changing the rules–if it’s not already too late.

    It is not clear to me that Trump’s stance is anything more than instinctual. Until the rational stream of American exceptionalism devises a superior post-postmodernist approach to neutralizing the postmodern poison, we are doomed to assault on both our flanks from the premoderns and the postmoderns.

  • Anthony

    Another view: “The entire discourse of the Dreamers is based on identity – love us for who we are for being Americans to the core, for being indistinguishable, really, from…American norms – rather than constitutional equity or human rights derived from Enlightenment conceptions….The Dreamers themselves, their supporters and opponents in Congress, the various organizations lined up for and against them, the media apparatus that refuses to ask large questions about immigration policy are all engaged in ‘spectacularization’…To those playing the Dreamer game…it seems like a hopeful, enchanting, magical discourse, where merely the act of declaring one’s identity serves to hold its own fulfillment. Whether or not laws change in consequence seems almost secondary.” ( http://www.salon.com/2017/09/02/time-to-give-up-on-identity-politics-its-dragging-the-progressive-agenda-down/ )

  • Proud Skeptic

    Trump’s recent move to place a deadline on the DACA program has all but guaranteed that those it was intended to protect will be granted some form of legalization enshrined in actual law.

    This, to me, is the only thing we can be certain of…

    No, wait…we can also be certain that lots of right wingers currently (wrongly) think that Trump is doing one more thing to kick illegals out of the country. We can also be certain that the Democrats will be declaring that a humanitarian crisis not seen since the Holocaust is underway and that the media will be right in there supporting them. We can also be certain that the Republicans will further soil themselves during the ensuing process.

    Whether Trump is using this as a bargaining chip to get other things like the wall or continued enforcement of existing immigration law adequately funded it remains to be seen.

    From almost the very beginning of his presidency (not his campaign) Trump has said that he would prefer so called “dreamers” be taken care of.

    There is a downside for both political parties. For the Republicans, it is another opportunity for them to demonstrate their fecklessness. For the Democrats, it removes a portion of the “Palestinian Strategy” they have employed for over a decade. Keep the Hispanics in a constant state of political uncertainty in order to maintain influence over them as a block.

    Once again…just as he did with ObamaCare…Trump will reinforce his own position with his constituency by simply requiring that Congress do its job.

  • Stephen

    This post like most commentary overlooks a fundamental problem: All proposals are built on the assumption that legislators and administrations will perform their constitutional duty to faithfully execute law. But for decades now, lawmakers have made no effort to oversee the enforcement of the immigration laws they passed. They have proceeded in bad faith by passing law whose lack of enforcement they have willfully chosen to ignore. They have campaigned on the promise to pass new law to rectify problems that their bad faith has contributed to creating and in doing so have lied repeatedly. Their tolerance of, indeed abetting of, the faithless execution of law condemns them. There is no reason believe that any new legislative “fix” will be faithfully executed.

  • D4x

    June 22, 2017: President Trump and First Lady Melania welcomed members of Congress for the First Annual Congressional Picnic at the White House, eight (8) days after the

    “At the start of his remarks, Trump told the politicians in attendance he gave Steve Scalise’s children a tour …”

    “Congressional Shooter Loved Bernie, Hated ‘Racist’ Republicans, and Beat His Daughter James Hodgkinson’s first foster daughter committed suicide by lighting herself on fire, and he beat his second foster
    daughter. Three months ago he took ‘target practice’ at home.

    Brandy Zadrozny, Kelly Weill, Katie Zavadski, Emma Kerr 06.14.17 4:55 PM “ET

    “…On social media, Hodgkinson presented himself as a Sanders supporter and a longtime critic of Republicans, particularly Trump. (Sanders said in a statement that Hodgkinson had volunteered on his campaign.)

    Hodgkinson’s Facebook profile was linked to his listed telephone number. “Trump is a Traitor,” Hodgkinson wrote in a May 22 Facebook post above a Change.org petition to remove Trump and Vice President Mike Pence
    for treason. “Trump Has Destroyed Our Democracy. It’s Time to Destroy Trump & Co.”

    On Facebook, he was a member of groups including “Terminate the Republican Party,” “The Road To Hell Is Paved With Republicans,” “Donald Trump is not my President,” and “Memic Overlords.” …”

    June 18, 2015: “At the Mulberry School for Girls in Tower Hamlets she opted for a £2,056 sleeveless Mary Katrantzou dress with graphic paisley prints and high-neck detail

    She’s the First and the finest!

    We might be biased because she’s ours but let’s be real, can you think of a more fashionable First Lady than Michelle Obama?

    She won the fashion community’s vote when we met her in 2008
    and since then she has firmly secured a seat as a fashion icon. …”


    That PHOTO of Michelle Obama from June 18, 2015 was used by Mary Katrantzou March 11, 2016 Instagram praising 2016 INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY:

    To all the women who empower and support other women

    ���������@michelleobama #internationalwomensday


    March 08, 2016 :
    Remarks By The First Lady At Let Girls Learn Event
    Celebrating International Women’s Day
    Union Market Washington, D.C.
    12:18 P.M. EST

    Wow! (Applause.) Thank you so much. Hey. You guys good? All right, rest yourselves. We’ve got a lot to do.

    Hi, everyone. It is a pleasure to be here with all of you on this International Women’s Day as we
    mark the first anniversary of Let Girls Learn.
    And today, we want to celebrate all of the wonderful progress we’ve made
    and the momentum we’re seeing around girls’ education across the globe.

    But before we get started, I just wanted to briefly express my sadness over the passing of former First Lady Nancy Reagan.

    Mrs. Reagan was a woman of incredible strength and grace, and she was a passionate advocate for so many important
    issues. Through the example she set, both during her time in the White House and beyond, Mrs. Reagan reminded us of
    the importance of women’s leadership at every level of our society.

    And on a personal note, Mrs. Reagan also understood the value of mentoring. She warmly and
    willingly offered advice and encouragement to me as I settled into my role as First Lady.

    And I am so grateful for her kindness and generosity to me and my family over the years, and I hope that
    our continued work to educate girls worldwide is a fitting tribute to her legacy. (Applause.) …”

    Aug. 17, 2017: Same March 2016 Instagram was used by Harper’s Bazaar on :

    NOVEMBER 2016 print issue Harper’s Bazaar feature on Michelle Obama’s fashion stylist, Meredith Koop:

    “I am impressed by Meredith’s ability to think not only about fashion
    but also the moment and the message.” —Michelle Obama”

    [This article originally appeared in the November 2016 issue of Harper’s BAZAAR.]

    Harper’s Bazaar has been covering the British Royal Family since March 8, 2017, when FLOTUS Melania hosted the International Women’s Day Luncheon.

    March 8, 2017: “I’m an immigrant who grew up under Communism, so I know all about equality
    says Melania Trump as she makes rare White House appearance to mark International Women’s Day

    First lady Melania Trump hosted her first luncheon today at
    the White House, honoring International Women’s Day

    The first lady wore black – not the red women are wearing as part of the ‘Day Without Women’ protests

    The White House also announced that it would be holding an
    Easter Egg Roll on the Monday after the holiday, the traditional day”

    By Nikki Schwab, U.S. Political Reporter For Dailymail.com
    Published: 13:57 EDT, 8 March 2017 | Updated: 23:47 EDT, 8 March 2017

    “First lady Melania Trump made a rare appearance at the
    White House today, as she hosted a ladies luncheon in the State Dining Room in
    honor of International Women’s Day.

    ‘As an immigrant myself, having grown up in a communist
    society, I know all too well the value and importance of freedom and equal
    opportunity,’ the first lady said, according to prepared remarks provided to
    CNN. ‘Ideas which this great nation was founded and has continued to strive
    towards throughout its history.’

    The White House also announced that there would indeed be an
    Easter Egg Roll this year, which will be held on Monday, April 17, as it’s
    tradition to host the event a day after the Easter holiday.

    At the luncheon, the first lady was dressed in a black Ralph
    Lauren – and not the red many protesters are wearing in solidarity today – and
    was given a standing ovation when she entered the room.

    Later on, both President Trump and Vice President Pence dropped by to say hi to the crowd.

    In a speech that struck a serious tone, the first lady talked about the plight of women around the world.

    ‘There remains far more brutal and terrifying incarnations
    of actual gender persecution which we must face together, such as forced
    enslavement, sexual abuse and absolute repression of far too many women and
    girls around the globe,’ she said.

    ‘We must remember these women in our daily prayers and use
    our combined resources to help free them from such unthinkable and inhumane
    circumstances,’ the new FLOTUS continued.

    ‘I continue to firmly believe that education is the most
    powerful way to promote and ensure women’s rights,’ she said. ‘Together we will
    do this not only by striving for gender parity at all levels of education, but
    also by showing all children, and especially boys, that it is through empathy,
    respect and kindness that we achieve our collective potential.’

    The first lady said the White House wold join with the UN
    Women for Peace Associates to ‘educate and reinforce the importance of
    tolerance and a society filled with inclusivity regardless of race, gender or

    “Mary Anne Huntsman (pictured), daughter of 2012 presidential candidate and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman – who just agreed to
    become the ambassador to Russia – was photographed playing piano at the lunch by her mother Mary Kaye”


    [[Gov. Huntsman’s Senate confirmation hearing is tentatively scheduled for Sept 11 -15, despite the deliberate Obstruction of ambassadorial nominees. 28 more nominees await a hearing & vote, leaving 25 Vacancies. ]]

    Sept. 4, 2017:

    “Mamma mia! Trump tweets about building a future with American products in honor of Labor Day… and accompanies it with a picture of Melania wearing a $2,255 ITALIAN-made dress
    By Ashley Collman For Dailymail.com
    Published: 15:28 EDT, 4 September 2017 | Updated: 15:45 EDT, 4 September 2017 ”

    President Trump tweeted a message in favor of bringing jobs back to America on Monday, Labor Day, while including a picture of his wife in an Italian-made dress

    Melania Trump wore this dress by Greek designer Mary Katrantzou to the Congressional picnic back in June.
    It originally sold for $2,255

    The dress’s listing on Saks Fifth Avenue’s website shows that it is manufactured in Italy.”


    Sept. 1, 2017:
    “Melania Trump Is Not Your Friend Her six-inch stilettos in Texas were the last straw.

    By Jennifer Wright Sept. 1, 2017

    -In the end, it was the shoes that did it.

    -I should have begun to despise Melania Trump a long time before that.

    -God knows there were enough reasons to.”

    postscript: The First Lady of the United States, a Legal Immigrant who grew up in then Communist Slovenia, Melania Trump, has effectively been DISAPPEARED by the style/culture/fashionMedia clamoring for DACA.

  • ვეფხისტყაოსანი

    I think a compromise is perfectly feasible. Allow the dreamers to stay as permanent residents, but not citizens. Allow their children the usual birthright citizenship. Do not allow them to bring any other members of their family to the US, except for short visits.

    This will offend the open-borders crowd — the Democrats, the Republicans, big business, the MSM, bien-pensants of all sorts — but will seem quite sensible to hoi polloi.


      Ted Cruz already tried this. Every benefit guaranteed. The Dems. would not touch it. All this illegal immigration is nothing but a Dem. voter scheme. They know this is their best chance of winning the national elections in the future. Progressive humanity stops at the voter registration table.

  • Bogtrotter

    The DACA conundrum is a symptom of the overall immigration problem.
    One side has forgotten that the problem of illegal immigration was solved 30 years ago with “comprehensive immigration reform.” Amnesty, a program more comprehensive than DACA, was granted with the agreement that the borders would be controlled and any changes to immigration policy would be accomplished through the legislative process.
    Without assigning blame, the comprehensive part was ignored. Only the amnesty part was implemented.
    With this track record behind us, why would anyone want to grant further amnesties, regardless of how warm it would make us feel.
    It comes down to, “Fool me once…..”

  • Trajan Fanzine

    Its not use of speaking of ‘liberalism’ as if there were Liberals left in the Democratic Party, there aren’t. They have been with replaced by Progressives, Alinsky disciples to the core.

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