By Terry Miller
Singer Marvin Gaye, at the height of the escalation of the war in Vietnam, asked perhaps the most timeless albeit poignant question ever asked by a musician: “What’s going on?”
This song has become the Boomers’ anthem for peaceful resolution of conflict: “For only love can conquer hate, you know we’ve got to find a way, to bring some lovin’ here today, oh oh oh … What’s going on?”
There’s so much to absorb in the news, this and every week, that it’s truly hard to fathom the depth to which the divisiveness is affecting our national and international heritage.
I wonder each morning if the next big story will explode and go viral, as they say, in internet-land.
But this is not about social media; it’s about peoples’ lives and their/our immediate future(s).
With two momentous items playing on the world stage this week: the televised impeachment hearings of Donald J. Trump and the Supreme Court hearing the DACA arguments, perhaps this week will be one of the most important and defining in U.S. history.
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), is an American immigration policy that allows some individuals with allegedly unlawful presence in the United States after being brought to the country as children, to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation and become eligible for a work permit in the U.S. To be eligible for the program, recipients cannot have felonies or serious misdemeanors on their records. Unlike the proposed DREAM Act, DACA does not provide a path to citizenship for recipients, who are also known as Dreamers. The policy, an executive branch memorandum, was announced by President Barack Obama on June 15, 2012. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) began accepting applications for the program on Aug. 15, 2012.
The Supreme Court, Tuesday, appeared sharply divided over Trump‘s move to end Obama-era protections for undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as children, as the justices hear oral arguments in one of the most closely watched cases of the term.
According to reports from The Hill Tuesday, “Members of the court’s conservative wing appeared wary of allowing courts to review the Department of Homeland Security’s decision to begin phasing out the program. Their questions during oral arguments also suggested many conservative justices appeared to think the administration had supplied legally sound reasons for eliminating DACA.”
We made a promise to nearly 700,000 young people that, if they trusted us enough to come forward, we would protect them. Trump’s betrayal of DREAMers must not stand. I will fight to honor the promise made to DREAMers who know no other land. #HomeIsHere #HereToStay #DACA https://t.co/DWDMcpK3dD
— Senator Jeff Merkley (@SenJeffMerkley) November 12, 2019
Chief Justice John Roberts, a George W. Bush appointee, was perhaps the most closely watched in the case as a potential swing vote.
“Certainly the human stakes in these cases — Trump v. NAACP, McAleenan v. Vidal, and Department of Homeland Security v. Regents of the University of California — are enormous. Almost 670,000 immigrants are protected by DACA. Ending the program opens them up to deportation. Families could be ripped apart; communities will be devastated. There really is a significant human toll here,” according to VOX.
The confusion and legal questions boggle the mind and this week will perhaps add more uncertainty than ever before about DACA students’ lives, hopes and ambitions.
This is wrong on many levels. People with serious criminal histories are not eligible for DACA. Many of the people in DACA are “no longer very young” but a 2017 study found the most common age of entry was 3 years old. Obama did not say he had no legal right to start DACA. https://t.co/E475Ep23Qe
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) November 12, 2019
As of Tuesday afternoon, not surprisingly, SCOTUS was sharply leaning right.
What is really at stake, simply put, is human rights and the constitution of the U.S. No matter where one stands politically, students and the people of the United States deserve fair, equal rights and honest, thoughtful justice.
Where we will go this week will certainly impact us all, regardless of our dogmatic bent.
According to NBC’s Pete Williams, a ruling isn’t likely until the spring of 2020.