Wednesday, July 18, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Killing DACA shows a lack of compassion and common sense

Say goodbye to the law school student. To the tech industry worker. Say goodbye to the thousands of young adults in Florida who have devoted their lives to the ideal of the American Dream. By announcing the winding down of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, President Donald Trump has broken the nation's promise to these undocumented immigrants who were brought here as children and have followed the rules in the only nation they have ever really known. It is morally and economically indefensible, and it is up to Congress to rescue them.

There is a reason so many disparate voices spent recent weeks imploring Trump not to go down this road. His strategy exhibits neither goodwill nor good sense. That's why Gov. Rick Scott, a stalwart Trump supporter, was among those urging the president to reconsider. So did two Republican candidates for governor, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and state Sen. Jack Latvala of Clearwater. Tech industry innovators from Microsoft, Amazon, Apple and Facebook all disagree with Trump. Leaders in banking (Wells Fargo), retail (Best Buy and Ikea) and transportation (General Motors) are also on board with the Dreamers.

In Florida, the loss of DACA protection means more than 30,000 workers could soon lose their jobs. The turnover expense for employers would be huge, and the loss of tax revenues would cost Florida nearly $6 billion in the next decade, according to a study done by the libertarian Cato Institute. Multiply those numbers nationwide, and you get even bigger losses to Medicare and Social Security because Dreamers with jobs are paying into those entitlements.

None of this is revelatory from an economic standpoint. Go back to 2010, when Congress was considering passage of the Dream Act, and the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office determined that providing educational opportunities to young immigrants would reduce the federal deficit. The whole point is that America's economy is better off with a well-educated workforce.

That's why it's important to understand these are not the crude caricatures of immigrants that Trump once used to whip up support on the campaign trail. Dreamers, by the very definition of the executive order, are the kind of newcomers we should embrace. They are educated — just about half are currently in school and almost one-third are seeking bachelor's degrees. They are employed — a Center for American Progress report says 91 percent of current DACA recipients have jobs. They are law-abiding — anyone with a felony record is ineligible for the program.

So what is the rationale for this move? Ostensibly, it is a response to a legal threat from the attorneys general of 10, mostly Southern, states. But it is also an appeal to Trump's base. If he was merely concerned about the lawsuit, Trump could have announced his intention to get comprehensive immigration reform passed. Instead, he is simply dumping it in the lap of Congress and sent Attorney General Jeff Sessions out to make the announcement.

From the time he signed the executive order for DACA in 2012, President Barack Obama said it was a temporary fix. Eventually the time would come for a legislative solution. Now that time has been hastened by an implicit threat of deportation of those young people this nation has invested in and promised they would be safe if they came out of the shadows and placed their trust in Washington.

Polls say Americans overwhelmingly think Dreamers deserve a chance to succeed. Even some GOP hard-liners are showing signs of compassion. Now it is up to Congress to rescue nearly 800,000 Dreamers, protect America's economy and reaffirm this nation's longstanding place as a beacon of freedom and opportunity in the world.

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Editorial: Sacrificing two kayaks and a Toyota for free speech

Editorial: Sacrificing two kayaks and a Toyota for free speech

Maggy Hurchalla joked this spring that all she could offer a billionaire who won a $4.4 million judgment against her after she exercised her free speech rights were "two kayaks and an aging Toyota.’’ The billionaire didn’t laugh. This week, Martin Co...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Editorial: Trump sides with Putin over America

Editorial: Trump sides with Putin over America

In one of the most surreal news conferences of our time, President Donald Trump actually stood next to Russian President Vladimir Putin Monday and called the federal investigation into Russia’s meddling into the 2016 election "a disaster for our coun...
Published: 07/16/18
Editorial: A vote for preserving waterfront parks by St. Petersburg City Council

Editorial: A vote for preserving waterfront parks by St. Petersburg City Council

The St. Petersburg City Council made the appropriate but difficult decision to reject a contract with renowned artist Janet Echelman for one of her aerial sculptures. It would be wonderful for the city to have one of her signature works, but Spa Beac...
Published: 07/13/18

‘Everybody needed to know what happened’

The brutal murder of Emmett Till, a black Chicago youth, in Mississippi nearly 63 years ago went unpunished, but not forgotten. A decision by his mother, Mamie Till-Mobley, to allow an open casket at Emmett’s Chicago funeral represented an act of def...
Published: 07/13/18
Editorial: Personal bias taints Florida’s clemency system

Editorial: Personal bias taints Florida’s clemency system

A recent exchange between the governor and Cabinet and a felon seeking to have his civil rights restored underscores the arbitrary unfairness of Florida’s clemency system. A long waiting period, a ridiculous backlog of cases and elected officials who...
Published: 07/11/18
Updated: 07/13/18

Trump should work with Congress on immigration

Donald Trump’s resounding victory in the 2016 presidential election came at least in part because the New York businessman grasped the disconnect between how millions of Americans and the political establishments of both parties felt about immigratio...
Published: 07/11/18
Updated: 07/13/18
Editorial: Trump’s trade war hurts American consumers

Editorial: Trump’s trade war hurts American consumers

Voters who looked to Donald Trump to make America great might want to look at their wallets. The president escalated his global trade war this week, threatening new tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports — everything from seafood, beef and ...
Published: 07/11/18
Updated: 07/12/18
Editorial: Rays stadium cost should be fairly shared

Editorial: Rays stadium cost should be fairly shared

The imaginative Ybor City ballpark proposed by the Tampa Bay Rays fits nicely into the 21st century vision of a sophisticated city and would secure major league baseball’s future for the entire region. It also carries an eye-catching cost that will h...
Published: 07/11/18
Updated: 07/12/18
Editorial: Supreme Court pick qualified, but confirmation process should be vigorous

Editorial: Supreme Court pick qualified, but confirmation process should be vigorous

For the second time in less than 18 months, President Donald Trump has nominated a well-qualified, conservative federal appeals court judge to the U.S. Supreme Court. That does not mean Judge Brett Kavanaugh should get an easy pass through Senate con...
Published: 07/10/18
Updated: 07/11/18
Editorial: Nobody uses fireworks to scare off birds

Editorial: Nobody uses fireworks to scare off birds

Americans are accustomed to celebrating the nation’s birthday by blowing up Chinese fireworks for days — a rite of recklessness that kills seven people a year and sends another 13,000 to hospital emergency rooms. The tragic toll struck close to home ...
Published: 07/09/18
Updated: 07/13/18