tags: Press Releases

“My Family’s Future Isn’t a Joke” – on John Cornyn and the Right Wing Freakout over Another “National Consensus” Issue

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On another “consensus” issue with the American people – citizenship for Dreamers and broader immigrant population – small GOP minority opposes sensible reforms

Washington, DC – Right wing media and many Republicans on Capitol Hill have been in freak out mode this week, condemning the Senate’s steps forward on moderate gun safety legislation and attempting to destroy any future chance of a similar bipartisan breakthrough on immigration. The exchanges and backs and forths are revealing – again showing how the GOP and its supposed bipartisan brokers, such as Senator John Cornyn (R-TX), remain consumed by the reactions of the small segment of the population that comprise the GOP base at the expense of the interests and wishes of the overwhelming majority of Americans. 

We have never trusted Senator John Cornyn to be a good faith legislative broker on immigration (see our explanation of what we deemed the “Cornyn Con” here). Nonetheless, his walk-back on the notion of a bipartisan immigration bill was remarkably offensive, if not altogether unexpected. As Senator Cornyn told Breitbart News, “The Democrats and their allies in the media really can’t take a joke. There’s no secret amnesty bill.” And as Fox News recapped

“Sen. John Cornyn’s, R-Texas, office on Wednesday denied that a bipartisan immigration bill is in the works after comments he made on the Senate floor that his staff say were a joke, but that sparked uproar from conservatives … on the Senate floor Tuesday evening as the chamber advanced bipartisan gun legislation that he had helped shepherd … Cornyn was smiling as he told California Sen. Alex Padilla: ‘First guns, now it’s immigration.’ … Cornyn’s reported comments drew swift backlash from the right, many of whom were already angered by his support for the gun legislation which advanced 64-34 in the split chamber.”

Speaking of the gun legislation, Senator Lindsey Graham told the Washington Post

“I think the country wants us to find some common ground … When you’re dealing with 80 percent support for these ideas, that’s a national consensus. And, you know, the 20 percent — I respect their views, but when the public says, ‘Can’t y’all do something?’ the answer is yes.”

Though referencing the gun legislation, Senator Graham’s comments also could apply to immigration and citizenship – another area of national consensus with similar margins of polling support among Americans on the core question of citizenship for Dreamers, farmworkers, and other long-settled undocumented immigrants (see an America’s Voice polling deep-dive here and see below for some additional examples).

The following is a statement from Mario Carrillo, Texas-based Campaigns Director of America’s Voice:

“The lives and livelihood of millions of people who’ve been in limbo, some for decades with no end in sight, who haven’t seen family in years, who’ve been detained or deported, who are neglected despite being essential to our country, seem nothing but a ‘joke’ to John Cornyn and a nonstarter to his fellow Republicans. 

Cornyn and the Republican operatives and pundits he wants to keep happy are out of step with the majority of Americans. Whether it is today’s Supreme Court ruling on guns or the pending abortion case – or immigration, the environment, voting rights or LGBTQ equality – the Republican Party consistently stands between the American people and the policies we support to address national issues.

Last week, on the 10-year anniversary of DACA, we heard powerful reminders about why expanding opportunities for Dreamers and other immigrants is not only meaningful for families like mine, but for America as a whole. It’s another ‘national consensus’ issue, only opposed by a minority of the country, concentrated in the Republican base and right wing ecosystem. Sorry Sen. Cornyn, but my family’s future isn’t a joke.” 

Reminders that Immigration Citizenship Remains Another “National Consensus” Issue

  • 70-plus percent of Americans support legal status and/or citizenship for Dreamers, TPS holders, farm workers, and the broader undocumented population settled and contributing to the U.S. In poll after poll and going back years, support for permanent legal status is overwhelming and durable. For example, in NewsNation/Decision Desk HQ polling (February 2022); PRRI polling (February 2022); Data for Progress polling (July 2021); Global Strategy Group, Hart Research, and BSP Research battleground poll (June 2021); NPR/Ipsos polling (May 2021); Public Opinion Strategies/Data for Progress (March 2021); Quinnipiac University (February 2021); the American Election Eve Poll (November 2020); the AP/Fox News/NPR Exit Poll (November 2020).
  • The American public rejects the Republicans’ “border first” excuses for inaction on citizenship, wanting progress on citizenship AND a safe and well-managed border. For example, NPR/Ipsos polling found that while 79% of the public believed “the current situation at the border is a problem,” views are more complex than the GOP’s “keep em all out” position: 73% were concerned about “ensuring proper care for unaccompanied migrant children detained at the border” and 60% were concerned about “reuniting migrant families who were separated at the border by the Trump administration.” Meanwhile, approximately 70% of respondents supported citizenship for each of farmworkers, Dreamers, and TPS holders, with approximately half of Republicans in support.