tags: , , , , , Press Releases

As Trump Gears Up to End DACA and Restart Family Separations, Will Endangered GOP Senators Finally Stand Up?

Share This:

Their deafening silence “turns them into the handmaidens of white supremacy.”

By all accounts, the Trump administration is gearing up to officially rescind DACA for Dreamers and to officially restart family separations, again. These are morally depraved policy choices that double as toxic political choices – both for candidate Trump and for in-cycle Republicans who refuse to stand up to Trump.

Yesterday The Hill reported the Trump administration’s plans to issue a new memo to rescind DACA, again, “this week.” Also yesterday, Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf appeared on Fox News and when asked to give an update on the Trump administration’s plans for children and parents inside ICE detention centers following District Court Judge Dolly Gee’s recent order that ICE must release children being held in family detention due to COVID-19 risks, Wolf stated, “Some courts have asked us…let everyone out of ICE detention facilities, that’s about 25,000 folks. We’re not going to do a jail break, that’s not what we do.”

With Trump going all out to rip the nation apart in hopes of saving his flailing reelection campaign, we don’t doubt where he’ll go. Racism, xenophobia and misogyny are who he is and how he campaigns.

But what of the Republican Senators who face tough reelection races in diversifying states? What will we hear from the likes of Thom Tillis (R-NC), Martha McSally (R-AZ), John Cornyn (R-TX), Susan Collins (R-ME), David Perdue (R-GA), Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) and Cory Gardner (R-CO)? Will they sheepishly slink into silence if and when Trump targets Dreamers and restarts family separation? Or will they finally stand up for what’s right and what’s smart?

The polling and electoral analyses couldn’t be clearer: Trump’s efforts to end DACA and separate families have been the two immigration-related policies that have most hurt him and Republicans the most.

  • According to Global Strategy Group polling on behalf of The Immigration Hub, America’s Voice, and FWD.us, Americans support citizenship for Dreamers by 72-19% margin in 12 battleground 2020 states. This included strong majorities of Democrats (88-7%), Independents (69-13%) and Republicans (57-33%). The poll found that the drive to put Dreamers on a path to deportation raises doubts with 69% of voters (51% major doubts). The GSG poll echoes other DACA and Dreamer polls in recent years that find that Americans overwhelmingly support Dreamers. See this recent poll roundup.
  • Overwhelming opposition to family separations and high intensity on issue in “Nationscape Project” massive sample polling. In December 2019, The Upshot in the New York Times showcased findings from the Democracy Fund and UCLA’s “Nationscape Project” — a massive-sample of opinions from 110,000 people nationwide on more than 50 issues. The polling found that the single top-ranked priority issue among Democrats of more than 50 issues tested was “don’t separate immigrant children at southern border,” and that 92% of Democrats opposed this policy. Among Independents, it ranked as the second-most important issue for independents and 84% of independents opposed family separation. Meanwhile, 54% of Republicans opposed family separations as well. From a 2018 FiveThirtyEight polling summary: a collection of polls “found that about two-thirds of the American public oppose the policy…in the partisan era in which we live, it’s noteworthy that Trump’s policy has only about half of Republicans on board.”
  • Political analysts and internal GOP polling: family separation hurt Republicans in 2018 midterms, especially among suburban women. For example, in September 2018, the Associated Press’s Julie Pace referenced an “internal GOP poll obtained by The Associated Press,” which found that “Trump’s approval rating among independents in congressional battleground districts dropped 10 points between June and August. A GOP official who oversaw the survey attributed the drop to negative views of Trump’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin and the White House’s policy of separating immigrant children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border.” In July 2018, National Journal’s Josh Kraushaar wrote that the “family separation border policy badly hurt Rs with suburban women, some of whom voted for Trump in ‘16.” He added that “in the roller-coaster ride that is the Trump presidency, this has been a disastrous summer for Republicans. The backlash against his administration’s draconian family-separation policy cost the party support among moderate suburbanites.”
  • Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg  wrote following the 2018 midterms: “Democrats made big gains because Mr. Trump declared war on immigrants — and on multicultural America — and lost.” Washington Post columnist Greg Sargent put it this way just recently: Because Trump won in 2016, pundits remain reluctant to acknowledge that this anti-immigrant demagoguery has been unsuccessfully wielded by an extraordinarily long series of failed GOP campaigns in the three years since.”

Now, four months before the 2020 election and already facing a political backlash for his dark turn to overt racism and xenophobia, Trump is planning on doing it again.

According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice:

Trump is getting ready to end DACA and restart family separations – again. Morally, these policy choices are repugnant. Politically, these policy choices are toxic.

Of course, immorality and racial incitement is what we expect from Trump. For us, the question is, when are Republican Senators actually going to stand up to him on these and other issues? Will these endangered incumbents in diversifying states – Thom Tillis (R-NC), Martha McSally (R-AZ), John Cornyn (R-TX), Susan Collins (R-ME), David Perdue (R-GA), Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) and Cory Gardner (R-CO) – take a stand?

We’re not talking carefully worded tweets or on-background fretting. We’re talking  actually standing up to Trump publicly and refusing to be complicit any longer, if only out of an interest in political survival. As Dana Milbank put it in his new column, “They think their silence protects them. But it does something else: It turns them into the handmaidens of white supremacy.”

See this detailed recap of polls and political analysis on DACA and family separation, making clear why they are politically toxic issues for Trump and Republicans