A Dream Deferred

In: barack obama|immigrants|latinos|politics|Public policy

15 Jun 2012

thanks to a friend for reminding of this poem:

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore–
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over–
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

While I know everyone is gushing right now about the Obama administration’s announcement that up to 800,000 youth could be eligible to stay in the U.S. with work permits, we should be careful not make this out to be more than it really is.

First, it is true that undocumented kids with blemish free records who arrived here before the age of 16 and have completed high school or served in the military, may now be eligible to have the deportations suspended.

Second, it is also true that they may be eligible for work permits that would be valid for two years with the possibility of renewal.

This is certainly a change from the status quo and it does give youth a leg up in their deportation proceedings.

But let’s be clear, this is not a DREAM Act equivalent.  The 800,000 kids are only theoretically eligible.  In the real world, this will be administered via the prosecutorial discretion process.  This could be a big problem.  Take the Morton Memo, for instance.  A year after its announcement, only 300,000 cases were reviewed at all and of those only 5000 cases were actually closed.  A tweep of mine is betting that they won’t be able to process even a quarter of the applications by the November election.  Permits will not fall from the sky.

Politico quotes Janet Napolitano, herself, saying that ”a grant of deferred action is not immunity, it is not amnesty,” Napolitano told reporters. “It is an exercise of discretion.”

I don’t want to rain on anyone’s parade.  I certainly do think that this makes a huge statement and that some kids will benefit temporarily.  It’s a lot like Barack’s statement on Gay Marriage–it does make an impact on the public discourse.  He should get Kudos for making such statements.

But these kids deserve way more than a dream deferred.

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1 Response to A Dream Deferred



July 11th, 2012 at 9:44 am

From an off-the-record conversation I had with an ICE attorney recently:

When the June 2011 PD memo came out, ICE headquarters in DC first said they would take care of all of the requests. Local ICE attorneys were incredulous: “How would headquarters decide cases if they did not have the files?”

Lo and behold, in November, headquarters sent all of the PD requests back to the local offices for processing. That could explain why there is such a low number of decisions on PD: it is harebrained and impossible to implement on such short notice, regardless of the administration’s intentions.

See an analogy…?

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While some people look at cockroaches as disgusting pests, We view them as resilient organisms that predate humans and will likely outlive us as well. People of color, the poor, the downtrodden, and the oppressed, much like cockroaches, are often despised, feared and in some cases have been the objects of extermination.

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