Nick J. Fuentes, formerly of the pro-Trump outlet Right Side Broadcasting, dedicated his September 1, 2017 episode of America First to savaging immigrant children protected by DACA — or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. The Obama-era policy protects children who: came to the U.S. prior to their 16th birthday; lived continuously in the U.S. since 2007; completed high school or a GED, were honorably discharged from the military, or are enrolled in school; and have never been convicted of a felony or serious misdemeanor.
In other words, DACA does not protect the “bad hombres” that Trump wants rounded up and deported (although that hasn’t stopped him before), but instead productive members of society who serve our country and are continuing their educations. But if you’re, say, the type of person who attends white supremacist rallies and says intercourse between white women and black men is “degenerate,” perhaps their character isn’t really the issue.
“We always start right in the middle of the story where there’s all these poor, helpless people and they’re in the country, and they don’t have anywhere to go,” Fuentes complained. “They don’t have anywhere to turn to. They need to be put up in public housing at the expense of the American taxpayer and educated at great expense in American public schools and go on the dole when they graduate and steal all our low-skilled, low income jobs.”
However, if we “rewind the story a little bit,” it turns out that “every single one, actually, of these illegal immigrant children” came to the U.S. because of the “choices of criminals who entered this country illegally, or overstayed their visas.” Which means, to Fuentes and his alt-right bedfellows, that the children must be punished for the crimes of their parents.
He warned that if these children are allowed to stay, “what you are creating is something called ‘moral hazard'” which will “kill” our nation. “Moral hazard says that if Mexicans, if Guatemalans, and Nicaraguans, and all the fabulous rocket scientists that are swimming and running across the border to get here, when they see that their fellow countrymen are coming into the country, and they’re not immediately removed, well what does that do? Does that embolden them to come over, or does that discourage them from coming over?”
Fuentes also justified the mass deportation of DREAMers by comparing their situation to that of children whose parents were incarcerated for robbing banks. “You know if I’m — if I have children, if I have ten children and I’m robbing banks, I’m committing petty robbery on the weekends and not even to support the family but just for a cheap thrill or something and I get thrown in jail, is that the federal government’s fault for enforcing the laws and putting a lawbreaker in jail and leaving all these kids in limbo? Or is that my fault because I committed crimes? The same logic applies with illegal immigrants.”
Well, not exactly. First of all, it’s hard to take seriously a claim that entering the U.S. illegally is on the same scale of a crime as robbing banks “for a cheap thrill.” But even if we used this example of parents committing a serious felony, it still fails because the federal government doesn’t formally punish the children of bank robbers. Sure, it separates a parent from their child, but it doesn’t treat the child as criminal for, say, eating food purchased with money stolen from a bank.
What we’re dealing with is undocumented immigrants who were brought here by their parents when they were quite young — and therefore did not have any intention of breaking laws against illegal entry — and have been raised here continuously for most of their lives. These are not drug peddlers or gang members or bank robbers. And they ought not be punished for the “sins” of their parents.