DACA decision is a cruel betrayal cynically justified by junk economics

Having officials make false claims about the economics of DACA is, in a way, just standard operating procedure for this administration. Yet I’d argue that in this context it’s especially noteworthy, and especially vile.

Does it matter that Jeff Sessions, the attorney general, tried to justify Donald Trump’s immigration cruelty with junk economics?

It’s definitely not the main issue. Trump’s decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy is immoral. The 800,000 beneficiaries of DACA — the so-called Dreamers — have done nothing wrong; they came to the United States illegally, but not of their own volition, because they were children at the time.

They are, according to all available data, an exemplary segment of our population: hardworking young people, many seeking to improve themselves through higher education. They’re committed to the values of their home — because America is their home.

To yank the rug out from under the Dreamers — perhaps even to use the information they supplied voluntarily to harass and deport them — is a cruel betrayal. And it’s self-evidently driven by racial hostility. Does anyone believe this would be happening if the typical Dreamer had been born in, say, Norway rather than Mexico?

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Still, Sessions chose to put economics front and center in his statement, declaring that DACA, which allows the Dreamers to work legally, has “denied jobs to hundreds of thousands of Americans by allowing those same jobs to go to illegal aliens.” That’s just false, and the decision to lead with such a falsehood tells you a lot, not just about this decision, but about the Trump administration in general.

It’s true that Trump and company tell a lot of lies about economics (and everything else).

The day after announcing that he would rescind DACA, Trump gave a speech on tax reform in which he claimed, as he has on multiple occasions, that America is the “highest-taxed nation in the world.” As fact-checkers have pointed out every time he says this, this isn’t just false, it’s almost the opposite of the truth — the U.S. collects less in taxes, as a share of national income, than almost any other advanced economy. But Trump just keeps repeating the lie.

So having officials make false claims about the economics of DACA is, in a way, just standard operating procedure for this administration. Yet…

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