Thursday, September 07, 2017

A DACA Parable

A father and his three children live in a somewhat ramshackle home in a neighborhood that is crime ridden, has poor schools and few decent job prospects within reasonable commuting distance. The dad is a good guy and wants the best for his kids but doesn't feel as though he has the opportunities he might want in his neighborhood. He could relocate within his neighborhood and perhaps get into better schools for his kids and be closer to decent work but he can’t help but look to the suburbs to the north where the schools are much better, there is far less crime and there are good jobs a-plenty. It is pretty far away but they seem to have it better.

So this dad, in the interests of his kids, decides to break into the nice home of a person that lives in the northern suburbs and happens to be away on vacation. Perhaps the dad jimmies the lock or perhaps the door was left unlocked, either way they do not have permission to be in this house. The kids might not realize they are doing something wrong but the dad certainly does. They help themselves to the contents of the fridge, hook up to the wifi, watch some cable TV and crash on the couch. Let us even assume that they clean up their dishes and generally tidy up themselves, perhaps even doing some minor repairs around the house. They are not trashing the place or doing any lasting damage but they are without question breaking the law. This goes on for a week.

Well a neighbor sees people in the house and she knows no one should be there as she was asked to keep an eye on the place. She calls the police and they show up at the house. There isn’t any sort of scuffle, the dad knows he is busted and is going away. His concern of course is for his kids. At the same time the home owners show up, having been contacted by the watchful neighbor. They are shaken up as anyone would be upon finding their home had been broken into. They watch as the police put the dad into the back of a patrol car to be taken to the station for processing. Another officer asks them to come inside to make a statement.

The shaken husband and wife bring their kids into the house and head for the living room so they can sit and make their statement but upon arriving in the living room they are shocked to see the three kids have been left behind after their father was arrested. The home owners are startled and look at the cop in dismay. “Why are the kids still here?” they demand?

The cop scowls at them. “Hey, they didn’t do anything wrong. Their dad is the one that brought them into your house. They have dreamed for years of living in this suburb and who are you to quash their dreams!”.

The owners look at each other. “When is someone coming to get them? Don’t they have family that can take them in?” The cop sneers back at them “Of course they have family back in their own neighborhood but now they are comfortable and like it here. You can’t make them leave now. So they are staying here from now on.”.

“Well who is going to care for them?”, cries the homeowner.

“You are of course. They will live here now. You will feed and clothe them. You need to provide them with health insurance. Some of your kids will have to double up in their bedrooms so there is room for these kids. Oh, and they want to go to the same private school as your kids so you will need to pony up tuition for all three of them. After all, they are dreaming of a better life and you are going to give it to them. Jerks.”.

Sure it is kind of a stretch and this is a complex issue but the substance is the same. Just as someone who steals a car with their kids doesn’t expect their kids to get to keep the car if they get arrested, someone who is brought here as a “child” should not get a free pass to avoid our laws.

Ultimately the blame here for the discomfort and possible dislocation of these “DREAMers” is not with President Trump or xenophobic and racist Americans. The fault is entirely with their parents that brought them to this country knowing full well that they put themselves and their kids in great risk to do so. The parents willfully broke the law and did so regardless of the risk to their children. 

If it seems unreasonable to allow 3 children to continue to live in a house that their father broke into and demand the lawful inhabitants of the home to pay their living expenses, why it is not likewise unreasonable for the United States to absorb the 800,000 teens and young adults that entered this country legally at the direction of their parents? What we choose to do about those impacted by DACA now is a complex issue but it is critical to keep perspective here. The wrongs inflicted on the DACA kids is entirely the fault of their parents, not on the citizens or government of the United States.

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