Trump’s DACA proposal displays an apparent disregard for people’s lives

Sarah Baldwin, Opinions Co-Editor

President Donald Trump proposed an end to the now month-long government shutdown on Jan. 19 in exchange for $5.7 billion in order to build a wall along the United States’ Southern border. The president claimed that he would, in return for the funds, extend Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) security for an additional three years. His proposal seems to show little acknowledgment for those whose lives he is manipulating, as he uses DACA to further his own political agenda. Clearly, Trump’s new proposal–and stance on most policies–is more about satiating the Republican party’s desire for power than it is about respecting people’s livelihoods, citizens and non-citizens alike.

As many remember, Trump announced his plans to begin phasing out protection for DACA recipients in 2017–a decision that was met with a great deal of backlash from the left. DACA grants protection from deportation to illegal and undocumented immigrants of a certain age who entered the United States before 2007. Since announcing his plans to rescind the program over a year ago, Trump had shown no signs of backing down. Yet, after over 30 days of the government shutdown stemming from Trump’s inability to get funding for his wall, the president issued a statement to Democrats, pleading for the requested funds in exchange for a DACA extension and the re-opening of the government.

As Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer noted of Trump’s efforts to use a policy that he has previously attempted to rescind, “Offering some protections back in exchange for the wall is not a compromise but more hostage taking.” That is, Trump’s statement attempting to trade the lives of DACA recipients for a U.S.-Mexico wall should be understood as what it truly is: Trump threatening the deportation of hundreds of thousands of immigrants if he does not get what he wants. Trump clearly does not view DACA recipients as humans whose livelihoods are at stake, and instead believes them to be pawns with which he can further his racist policies.

In addition to causing the longest U.S. government shutdown and forcing many federal employees to work without pay, Trump is now treating DACA recipients as bargaining chips. As both Nancy Pelosi and Schumer indicated before rejecting his ridiculous offer, such a “compromise” was all too representative of Trump’s pernicious intentions. Unfortunately, Trump cares more about furthering his party’s xenophobic political agenda than he does the lives of anyone living in this country–U.S. citizens or not.

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