Sunday, September 10, 2017

DACA: Lifestyles of the cosseted and illegal - By Monica Showalte

Here's an unintentionally ironic one - the New Yorker has run a profile of a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipient, describing the hanky-filled moment when President Trump ended the executive order-based program and passed the matter back to Congress. In the midst of this supposed purpose, theNew Yorker slyly, incidentally, tried to showcase the young man as a model American, passing him off as not a product of the down-and-out culture, which is where most DREAMers emerge from, but as an overachiever more typical of the upper classes, and like the same upper classes, is now just selflessly trying to 'give back' to his community. What we're supposed to take from that is that allDREAMers are similarly overachieving.
The reality about DACA recipients in the statistics tells a different story: DACA recipients in fact lag behind the general population as underachievers with higher-than-average college dropout rates (which incidentally is often a sign of non-merit-based affirmative action privileges).
The young man featured in the profile casually discloses how his illegal status as a Honduran in Tennessee had brought him a Google ambassadorship, a congressional internship, and teaching posts, plus free college tuition. In addition, he just happened to have the cash to apply to 27 colleges. Hardscrabble he was not.
Never mind that the list of fancy elite opportunities he's had thrown at him came at the expense of some American citizen. Do most legal Americans get free rides through college, emerging without a dime in debt, as he did because he was illegal? Do most legal Americans have the cash to apply to 27 colleges, or have the wherewithal to get their fees waived? Do most Americans get congressional internships or Google ambassadorships? Not exactly.
No, you have to be an illegal to get these things. And it's telling that his 'contributions' to society were pretty much showered honors, not the hard work of building a better mousetrap, which is something that could give him the cash to apply for legal residence as millions of law-abiding immigrants do. For him, it was much easier than that: he got his laurels by pleasing the powers that be. And that calls attention to the agenda of corporate America and the Washington swamp, to put a showcase DREAMER up on a pedestal in the hopes of portraying all DACA recipients as similarly overachieving, and thus, forcing President Trump or Congress into restoring the program. The establishment wants and needs someone exotic to honor such as this young man, much as the rich of Tom Wolfe's Radical Chic loved the exoticism of the Black Panthers and feted them at cocktail parties.
From the young man's point of view, being an illegal has got to beat getting legal any day of the week.