As President Trump’s talking point of choice, immigration policy took center stage for much of the campaign. Now, as the new presidential administration attempts to put these promises into action, many are watching how President Trump will handle “Dreamers” — the colloquial term for undocumented immigrants protected under the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy. As its title suggests, DACA provides temporary relief from deportation for children who were brought to the United States as children by their parents.
If President Trump’s objectives are what he claims, he should be interested in protecting immigration programs that weed out the criminally convicted yet allow those with no record to remain. DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) falls into that category and adds requirements of education or military service, meaning those who receive protection are highly contributing members of society with plentiful aspirations.
DACA does not provide blanket amnesty. The program’s stipulations are strict, requiring Dreamers to not have had any felony (or major misdemeanor) convictions and either be currently enrolled in school, have attained a high school degree, or be serving in the military. For those who have not attained a high school degree, a GED can also be sufficient for DACA qualification. Protection expires and must be renewed every two years and only those under the age of 31 are eligible, provided they initially entered the country while under the age of 16. Dreamers, by definition, are contributing members of society who entered the U.S. by no illegal action of their own and who are serving their communities in myriad ways.
On 15 March, the Dutch voted in their parliamentary elections in favour of the ruling Liberal party and against their own version of the alt-right. Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) won 33 seats compared to insurgent candidate Geert Wilders’ Freedom Party’s (PVV) 20 seats. Although this triumph will act as a speed-bump for ethnic and economic nationalism, it is a temporary effect. The election was mostly about immigration, particularly of Muslims, and how to integrate them into Dutch society.
Now that they have won, centrist parties must learn that without incorporating some of the more legitimate and palatable concerns of voters concerned with immigration, they will be unable to maintain power. During the lead up to the election, Rutte warned of the need to integrate ethnic non-Dutch people to ensure every citizen shared the same basic secular and liberal values.
Rutte said everyone needed to know that the Netherlands wasn’t for people who “litter,” “spit,” “attack gay people”, or “shout at women in short skirts.” All of this was declared in a full-page advertisement which said people should “act normal or go away.”
By doing this, the VVD was able to steal some of the PVV’s rhetoric and, in turn, some of their voters. While such language from an establishment leader rattled the liberal and centrist press, it worked well and was copied by other parties. Finally, Rutte benefited from taking a firm stance on a visceral row with the Muslim-majority country, Turkey. The problem facing centrists is how to stop nativist parties that thrive on marginalising others without alienating increasing numbers of nativist voters.