It’s the DACA Decision, Not Hurricane Harvey, That May Tear Houston Apart – New York Times

Photo Residents and rescue volunteers making their way down a flooded street in west Houston. Credit Christopher Lee for The New York Times

HOUSTON As the floodwaters rose in my west Houston neighborhood after Hurricane Harvey landed, my husband and many of our neighbors pulled boats through waist-high water, knocked on doors and plucked people from their submerged houses. They rescued elderly couples, young roommates, families who do not speak English. There was no checking of IDs, no debate on whether a life was worth saving.

All across the city, as catastrophic flooding threatened to drown us, regular people risked their lives to help others. Alonso Guillen, a radio host and D.J. who lived in Lufkin, Tex., two hours from Houston, brought a boat and a group of friends here to join in those efforts. He was on that boat, saving people he had never met before, when it capsized last Wednesday and he drowned. Alonso Guillen died a hero, if not an American citizen. He was a Dreamer, a beneficiary of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, and like the nearly 141,000 other Dreamers in Texas, he followed the requirements of the program to stay in school or be gainfully employed and had never been convicted of a crime. More than that, Texas was his home.

Around the time Alonso Guillen was buried in Lufkin, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced President Trumps decision to cancel the DACA program, saying that enforcing the law saves lives, protects communities and taxpayers, and prevents human suffering. Instead, what the announcement shows is how suffering can needlessly be inflicted.

The end of DACA means that hundreds of thousands of people nationwide will lose their eligibility to work. As many as 80,000 Dreamers in the greater Houston area alone could be deported to countries where they have no relationships, where they do not even speak the language. It is the disaster of this decision more than the hurricane that threatens to tear our city apart.

On Saturday, after Mr. Guillens boat capsized but days before his body was found, President Trump came to Houston for the second time since the hurricane, to meet with families at shelters and churches. In a dry, air-conditioned building, he met with elected officials, took a few selfies with evacuees and kissed their babies before leaving on his plane.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions called the choice to end DACA the compassionate thing. But this decision doesnt look like any kind of compassion Ive seen in Houston, where everyone I know has chosen to open their homes to strangers, to feed them, clothe them, raise money for the restoration of their homes. Even people whose own houses were destroyed are helping others in the ways they can.

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It’s the DACA Decision, Not Hurricane Harvey, That May Tear Houston Apart – New York Times

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