Experts in autocracies have pointed out that it is, unfortunately, easy to slip into normalizing the tyrant, hence it is important to hang on to outrage. These incidents which seem to call for the efforts of the Greek Furies (Erinyes) to come and deal with them will, I hope, help with that. Even though there are many more which I can’t include. As a reminder, though no one really knows how many there were supposed to be, the three names we have are Alecto, Megaera, and Tisiphone. These roughly translate as “unceasing,” “grudging,” and “vengeful destruction.”
So, we’ve talked before here about deported veterans (“deported veterans” – doesn’t that just physically hurt to read or say?) But we haven’t talked about, because I didn’t realize it could happen until I received an email this week, deporting people who are essentially active duty military.
Among those who watched the smoke rise from the World Trade Center into a perfect blue sky on 9/11[/2001] were an Army Reserve officer on the cliffs at West Point and a 7-year-old undocumented immigrant on the street in Queens.
The officer, Major Margaret Stock, wondered if the attacks might have been prevented if only the military had enough personnel fluent in foreign lamguages, such as those spoken by the plotters. So she started designing and creating the Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest program (MAVNI). It would offer expedited citizenship to immigrants speaking certain critical languages. It would also make the same offer to physicians, nurses, and dentists (of which the military has been pitifully short for a long, long time.) The point was to make sure, in Major Stock’s words, “we have enough people to protect the country.”
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which began in June 2012, opened the pool for MAVNI to these immigrants, better known as “DREAMers.” When his mother heard about the program on TV, it was 2016, and the seven-year-old boy from Queens was now 21. He was immediately interested. His native language (Punjabi) qualified him, and he passed the language test fluently. He signed the contract, and he took the oath.
“I, Harminder Saini, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.”
Saini was now a soldier. The only thing missing was his background check.
But the Army had tripled the number of background checks for MAVNI without hiring enough checkers to actually do them.
Saini is now 23 – still prepared to ship out at a moment’s notice. He’s been reading from a list that James Mattis gave to a TV interviewer, and going to the gym a lot to stay fit.
But in September, Saini and hundreds of other waiting MAVNI DREAMers learned
…that the president to whom they were all sworn to obey had revoked DACA. The termination was to take effect in six months, at which time the MAVNI DREAMers who were not yet in basic training and on the way to naturalization would be in jeopardy of being deported from the country they had sworn to protect.
Back in September, there was some talk about a bipartisan effort led by Lindsay Graham and Dick Durbin to retore the DREAM program by act of Congress. But so many things seem to have gotten in the way since them … has anyone heard anything lately?
Certainly there’s at least one Congressman, I am thinking particularly of a certain dentist from Arizona (who incidentally never served himself) who will gladly torpedo any such effort if he can.
Congress also has characters such Rep. Paul Gosar, a former “Arizona Dentist of the Year” who has proposed legislation barring what he calls “DACA aliens” from serving in the military. Gosar himself has never served, though the armed services have long suffered a shortage of dentists, as MANVI seeks to address.
“I agree with @POTUS that it’s time to get rid of #DACA!” Gosar tweeted on September 5, making sure to append a DDS to his name.
Tell you what, Dear Furies, how about you, Alecto, go after Durbin and Graham and – well, the old saying it put a flea in their ears, but I am thinking more in terms of putting a bee where the sun doesn’t shine, to really get them moving on this. Megaera and Tisiphone, you get hold of Gosar, and find out who the rest are, both in the House and in the Senate, who feel this way (we all know these people are big on feeling, since they don’t think at all), and – apply some compulsory re-education.
The Furies and I will be back.
Cross posted to Care2 HERE.