Wednesday, January 24, 2018


Greg Sargent reminds us of this moment in the DACA fight, from early 2017:
Almost exactly a year ago, Paul Ryan had a powerful, high-profile exchange with a young mother who was brought to this country illegally as a child. This “dreamer” mom was frightened and uncertain about what Donald Trump’s election meant for her future. At a CNN town hall, she asked Ryan whether people like her should be deported.

“No,” Ryan said reassuringly. He insisted that “I hope your future is here,” and that “I’m sure you’re a great contributor to [your] community.” Ryan told her not to worry about getting deported. He said: “We have to find a way to make sure that you can get right with the law.” He stressed that President Trump agrees.

The woman's name is Angelica Villalobos. She was on Lawrence O'Donnell's show again last night, with her young daughter.

She says in the clip that an older daughter is heading to college soon. She lives in Oklahoma City and works as an office manager at a tire shop. She's also a volunteer translator for her local school district and for the YMCA.

Why are we talking about DACA? DACA is an acronym. It's impersonal. Why aren't we talking about passing "Angelica's Law"? Why aren't Democrats making this woman the face of the problem?

Does she not seem like the ideal face of the problem, for some reason? Then find someone else. This is what Republicans do -- they personalize issues. Their anger about criminal aliens is focused on the death of Kate Steinle, even after (or in part because) a jury acquitted the undocumented immigrant on murder charges in connection with her death (the bullet that killed her ricocheted off the ground, so it was reasonable not to describe her death as premeditated murder). President Trump and other immigration hard-liners regularly invoke Steinle's name. A bill to criminalize reentry into the country by an undocumented immigrant is called Kate's Law. She's the face of anti-immigrant anger.

Republicans know how to personalize issues. They regularly focus on martyrs (Ambassador Christopher Stevens and the other Benghazi dead) or supervillains (right now, Christopher Steele, Robert Mueller, Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok and Lisa Page). Democrats do this less often, and haven't done it at all in the case of the Dreamers.

I mention Angelica Villalobos because choosing her gives Democrats the option of letting Paul Ryan make their case for them. See? It's not radical -- this guy agreed last year that this woman and her fellow Dreamers deserve help. I want that clip on TV ads all over America, while Ryan tries to block a deal because the ultras in his own party oppose it.

If not Villalobos, then who? A scholar? A soldier? A pillar of the community? Find someone. Republicans would.

No comments: