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ICYMI: Democrats Need to Lean into, Not Run From, Defending Immigrants

 

In a new “Plum Line” piece, Greg Sargent predicts that:

“No matter what, the Democratic Party isn’t going to back down from aggressively defending minority rights. It just can’t… [The Republican] agenda is likely to feature a major assault on various constituencies that will simply require Democrats to mount an aggressive, sustained defense of them.”

The pro-immigrant movement will work hard to make sure he’s right.

Sargent continues:

“Trump campaigned on a platform that contained explicit vows of naked persecution of minorities. The Democratic Party has to organize itself to no small degree around resisting the implementation of those promises, should Trump make good on them…

“Just consider some of the specifics. If Donald Trump goes through with his immigration agenda — to rescind protections for the DREAMers and to vastly expand deportations of undocumented immigrants — this could precipitate a genuine humanitarian crisis. The Democratic Party is going to have to do all it can to resist this. That means mounting a major defense of the idea that undocumented immigrants are more than mere lawbreakers, and — by dint of many years of contributing to American life — have earned a chance to get right with the law, to assimilate, and to belong.”

Democrats who remain hesitant or fearful of defending immigrants should bear in mind that Americans support immigrants — and that support crosses party lines.

By more than a 2:1 margin, 58%-28%, Americans oppose an effort to repeal the DACA program for Dreamers, according to a recent Global Strategy Group poll. 

A recent post-election Quinnipiac poll found that, by a combined 72-25% margin, Americans support policies allowing undocumented immigrants to stay rather than be required to leave the U.S. (60% support a pathway to citizenship, 12% support legalization short of citizenship, and 25% say they should leave). Of note, the 60% support for citizenship and the combined 72% for “stay” are each record highs in the four years Quinnipiac has asked the question, while the 25% support for “required to leave” is tied for the record low (see trendline here).

According to a recent focus group of Trump voters in Ohio, immigration has faded as a priority and most Trump supporters favor a pathway to citizenship.

According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice Education Fund, “Immigrants and refugees are counting on Democrats to stand up to the radicalism of President-elect Trump. They face an existential threat, and history will be watching – and judging – who stepped up and who did not.”