Family values are a pillar of traditional Republican discourse. But as soon as it comes time to address immigration issues, all of their emphasis on family unity goes out the window, replaced by advocacy for division.
This is the logical conclusion that follows from the KIDS Act, being developed by the House of Representatives. While this House bill would legalize the status of minors brought to the United States without papers by their parents, it would be the only measure the lower house would approve to regularize the status of anyone undocumented, unlike the Senate bill that initially aspired to benefit 11 million people.
The bill’s sponsor, Majority Leader Eric Cantor, speaking in favor of the measure, stated that this is a matter of “decency and compassion.”
It is strange to hear him using these words today, when the House of Representatives previously rejected the Dream Act and just recently voted in favor of cutting off all funds to the Deferred Action program, thereby exposing these youths to deportation.
This change in attitude responds to pressure for the House version of immigration reform to contain at least some legalization component. It is also a political strategy to place an unacceptable proposal on the table, exclusively legalizing a limited group of people, in hopes of provoking opposition from the Democrats, who could then be portrayed as betraying the Dreamers.
In reality, using Cantor’s own words, it is cruel and indecent to think that the young Dreamers would be satisfied with a measure that protects themselves but simultaneously deports their parents.
Likewise, it is the height of hypocrisy to posture oneself as representing family integrity, while heartlessly promoting actions that divide the family home, whose human worth knows no borders.
The only aspect worth rescuing in this proposal is a strategic speculation that it might foster conciliation with the Senate measure, and that in the end the Senate’s principles, which are far more just, will prevail.
For now, it is recommended to keep a close watch and be very cautious the next time the House leadership talks about decency and compassion.