Call It Abuse

The abuser-in-chief’s bizarre, contradictory statements and actions when it comes to the nearly 800,000 Dreamers in the DACA program has people on edge.

But one thing we can say with certainty as we parse through Trump’s relentless tweets is that we are watching a United States president psychologically abuse vulnerable young people by ordering an end to their legal status while teasing them with the possibility that it might not happen, anyway, even though he ordered it and also wants to build a giant wall between this country and Mexico.

It’s another certainty that any cooperation with the Trump regime by DACA participants or their supporters is a risky endeavor that may well end in massive deportations and epic human suffering. Count on that happening. Don’t count on Trump saving DACA.

DACA stands for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that was created by former President Barack Obama. It allowed immigrant children who were brought here by relatives to come out in the open to attend school, live here openly and then go to college and /or work. For many of these young people, the U.S. is the country they’ve lived in for most of their lives, the only place they really know. The idea behind the initial executive order was to not hold children accountable for the actions of their parents.

The DACA participants, who had to give up their personal information to be in the program, are under strict rules that don’t allow any serious criminal activity. Most of the Dreamers are from Mexico brought here by their parents. They had no choice in the matter. Now these some 800,000 people will have to sink into the underground again because our unhinged leader wants to back up his racist campaign rhetoric targeting, in particular, Mexican undocumented immigrants. Trump ended the program with a 6-month delay in implementation to ostensibly allow Republicans in Congress to act.

Before the decision, Trump said, “We love the dreamers, we love everyone.” Then he made the decision to end DACA and cowardly passed off its announcement to Attorney General Jeff Sessions. After the decision, Trump tweeted, “I look forward to working w/ D’s + R’s in Congress to address immigration reform in a way that puts hardworking citizens of our country 1st.”

Then after this typical American-comes-first rhetoric, Trump tweeted, “Congress now has 6 months to legalize DACA (something the Obama Administration was unable to do). If they can’t, I will revisit this issue!”

This was followed by another tweet today on the issue: “For all of those (DACA) that are concerned about your status during the 6 month period, you have nothing to worry about – No action!” Apparently House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi asked Trump to make this statement about the 6-month amnesty period, but, frankly, it just adds to the confusion,.

Set aside the head-scratching fallacy for a moment that Obama was “unable” to do something. He actually issued the initial order. What’s far more important here is the mixed signals Trump is sending to some 800,000 people, many of them highly concerned if not scared to death about their future.

This is classic psychological abuse. It makes the abused hope their abuser is capable of empathy when the evidence shows otherwise. In this way it toys with the abused emotions, creating a false sense of security one moment followed by panic that next moment. As this pattern continues, the abused become traumatized, unsure of reality, perhaps even emotional paralyzed to take precautions for the future. People might also call this a form of gaslighting, which is also abuse.

This is why the Dreamers and their supporters must get beyond Trump and forge strategies that include psychological protection from this abuse.

Meanwhile, too many psychologists are sitting the Trump presidency out on the sidelines. No one should be allowed to manipulate the emotions of even one person in this manner, and Trump is doing it to nearly 800,000 people. What does it take for our medical community to step forward? This is abuse. Call it what it is.

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