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DACA Offers a Telling Split Inside the Republican Party

Oral arguments in front of the Supreme Court started Tuesday [1] over the Trump Administration’s 2017 decision to end DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). DACA is a program started by the Obama Administration to authorize immigrants who were brought here illegally as children and have not committed any serious offenses to be authorized for work and protected from deportation.

The program, like all immigration issues, is full of sound and fury and the mainstream media makes sure to cover the controversy with all the both-sidesism it can muster. However, it’s worth noting that allowing Dreamers to stay and not be deported is one of the most overwhelmingly popular opinions in politics today.

The exact number varies based on the wording of the question, the sample frame, and when the poll was conducted, but by and large support for allowing Dreamers to stay in the country with protected status ranges from 65% to close to 90% [2].

Image result for daca poll

Image result for daca poll

Image result for daca poll

Bar graphs: Americans' views on four immigration policy proposals, June 2018. 83% favor/strongly favor a DACA recipient path to citizenship.

This post isn’t about the merits or demerits of any particular position. Needless to say, at this point, you either favor protecting Dreamers or you favor deporting them.

The thing is, if you favor deporting Dreamers, you should understand how far out of the mainstream you are. The overwhelming majority of voters disagree with you. Even most Republican voters disagree with you. Your position does not have a broad coalition; it is one of the most narrow coalitions in politics today.

Those who want to deport Dreamers are around the same percentage of those who think the moon landing was fake [3]. The only difference is the out-sized political clout that the anti-immigrant wing has in the GOP Caucus in Congress and the White House.

The bad news is that being radically anti-immigrant is not out of the mainstream of the Republican Party. If the Court rules in favor of the Trump Administration and the deportations start, Republicans across the country will have to defend it in 2020. Most will. Based on the outcome of 2017, 2018, and 2019, that’s not going to work out well for the GOP.