Toddlers are ‘criminals’?

I continue to grapple with the “logic” — and I use the term as loosely as is humanly possible — that those who come to the United States illegally as children should be treated as lawbreakers.

They are those who come here as children living with parents who sneak into the United States without proper immigration documents.

They live here under an executive order signed by President Barack Obama that grants them temporary permission to live in the United States. Foes of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals call it “amnesty,” which it isn’t.

Obama is now out of office and Donald J. Trump is pondering whether to rescind the former president’s action and order the deportation of those DACA residents back to their country of birth.

I cannot think of many more inhumane reactions to a standing U.S. policy than that.

Yet, many anti-DACA proponents suggest that those who were brought here — perhaps as infants or toddlers — are “criminals,” that they need to be treated as lawbreakers. I certainly get that those who come here illegally aren’t following the law; they should face potential deportation if they are discovered by immigration and customs officials.

Their children? Those who arrived here under their parents’ care and who’ve grown into de facto Americans and carved out productive lives? Should we treat them that way, too?

I just cannot fathom why we would do such a thing to these individuals who’ve known no other country than the United States of America.

The events of the past few days on the Texas Gulf Coast and the possibility of rescinding the DACA order that affect so many displaced residents — who fall into that category of “illegal” immigrants — might make it tremendously more difficult for the president to make good on his campaign threat.

Someone, though, will have to explain to me — in language I can grasp — why those who come here as children need to be manhandled as if they broke the law.

They did no such thing. They deserve the chance to continue living here and they need protection so they can do what’s right: seek to become U.S. citizens or obtain permanent immigrant status — that makes them legal residents of the only country they know.

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