FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

DACA and the Future of Conservatism

The potential repeal of Obama’s executive action, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), has put Republicans in Congress in a very powerful position. Not only will the repeal affect millions of undocumented people living in the US, but it may also shape American politics in a radical way. With Democrats following the party consensus that immigration is positive, they support keeping DACA. This means, if  DACA goes, blame would entirely fall on Republicans. This moment could end up defining the future of conservatism.

Some people believe that either way the debate goes in Congress, the GOP will be damaged. That is real possibility, but it doesn’t seem like Donald Trump cares––he’s never been a team player. If DACA stays in place, Trump could at least place blame on Congress. But if DACA is repealed, this could end up unifying Democrats who, despite having fights between their progressive wing and the establishment, still could unify in 2018 and 2020 to fight for immigration reform.

Republicans are faced with two options: option A, in which Republicans keep DACA and attract some moderates and independents, could also lead to a grassroots revolt against the incumbents trying to retain their seats. Some people like to mention that House Speaker Paul Ryan easily defeated his populist challenger Paul Nehlen. However, let’s keep in mind that Eric Cantor was House Majority Leader when he was defeated by Dave Bratan unknown economics professor who made immigration the central issue of the campaign.

It’s possible that incumbents could be challenged by outsiders if they become unpopular in their districts, due to differing positions on immigration. They would ride a populist wave and could gain more notoriety in the media than they would have in a previous election cycle. In swing districts, this challenge could play well for Democrats who could compete against an incumbent’s damage by a nasty primary, or populists could be painted as extremists for their support for deportations of children. In this case, Republicans could at least still make the case to minorities that they care about them––and compete for their votes.

With option B, in which Republicans repeal DACA, would please their most restrictionist and populist base. This might win elections in the short term, but would soon lead to a backlash. Deporting millions of kids and teenagers would look inhumane to voters, and the image of America as a safe haven for immigrants––and a land of opportunity––would decline around the world. Although immigration hardliners are trying to push Trump to support a massive deportation of DACA recipients, polls shows that a majority of Americans including Republicans and Trump supporters oppose deporting Dreamers. More importantly, many of the immigrants affected by this possible law change don’t even speak the language of their home countries and consider themselves more a part of America than the places they were born.

Democrats would then use this as evidence that Republicans are racists––as they often do, but this time, their argument would be more compelling. The DACA repeal would especially affect Latinos. When people mention that demographics is destiny, an idea popular with Democrats, conservatives tend to point that Texas despite its large Hispanic population is still a Republican state. But if the Hispanics who are legal citizens feel that this law is based on prejudice against their entire ethnicity, this could change and complicate the GOP’s path forward. What would happen, for example, if Republicans lost a state like Texas? The Republican congressman for Texas Will Hurd has stood up to Trump, even saying that the Texas GOP should look more like average Texans who are ethnically diverse. The testimony of Hurd is proof that some bad moves could result in the end of Texas’s time as a red state.

Let’s look at a DACA repeal from an alleged conservative ideology. Conservatives generally argue that their problem is not with immigration, but with illegal immigration. However, their compromise bill, the RAISE ACT, would lower the number of legal immigrants showing that they have more problems with  immigrants than their legal status. Keep in mind that many adult Dreamers have kids who are American citizens. Accordingly, Republican arguments about family values would look weak since a DACA repeal would  pull  families apart. The cost to employers is estimated to be around $6.3 billion, so the so-called fiscal conservatives should have a hard time supporting this policy.

Is there a conservative case for restricting immigration? Not everyone who disagrees with  amnesty is racist. In fact, some people rightly argue that America would cease to be the place it is today if immigration continues at its current rate. However,  this is the entirety of American history. Immigrants have changed the country in the past, so why wouldn’t we expect that to happen in the future? If conservatives choose a complete repeal of DACA, they would be embracing the idea that ethnicity is related to culture, but there is still time for them to choose the idea that liberty, justice and the pursuit of happiness is not only a promise for those who are born in the US, but also for those who  decide to become Americans.

Camilo Gómez is a Young Voices Advocate and the host of the Late Night Anarchy podcast. He can be found in Twitter at @camilomgn.

More articles by:

Camilo Gómez is a political writer at The Mitrailleuse. Twitter: @camilomgn.

March 25, 2019
Dave Lindorff
The TSA’s Role as Journalist Harasser and Media ‘Watchdog’
Jonathan Cook
Three Lessons for the Left from the Mueller Inquiry
Tanya Golash-Boza – Michael Golash
Epifanio Camacho: a Militant Farmworker Brushed Out of History
Robert Fisk
Don’t Believe the Hype: Here’s Why ISIS Hasn’t Been Defeated
Jack Rasmus
The Capitulation of Jerome Powell and the Fed
Lawrence Davidson
Israel’s Moves to the Right
John Feffer
After Trump
James Ridgeway
Good Agent, Bad Agent: Robert Mueller and 9/11
Dean Baker
The Importance of Kicking Up: Changing Market Structures So the Rich Don’t Get All the Money
Lawrence Wittner
What Democratic Socialism Is and Is Not
Thomas Knapp
Suppressing Discussion Doesn’t Solve the Problem. It is the Problem.
Stephen Cooper
“I’m a Nine-Star General Now”: an Interview with Black Uhuru’s Duckie Simpson
Andrew Moss
Immigration and the Democratic Hopefuls
Weekend Edition
March 22, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Henry Giroux
The Ghost of Fascism in the Post-Truth Era
Gabriel Rockhill
Spectacular Violence as a Weapon of War Against the Yellow Vests
H. Bruce Franklin
Trump vs. McCain: an American Horror Story
Paul Street
A Pox on the Houses of Trump and McCain, Huxleyan Media, and the Myth of “The Vietnam War”
Andrew Levine
Why Not Impeach?
Bruce E. Levine
Right-Wing Psychiatry, Love-Me Liberals and the Anti-Authoritarian Left
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Darn That (American) Dream
Charles Pierson
Rick Perry, the Saudis and a Dangerous Nuclear Deal
Moshe Adler
American Workers Should Want to Transfer Technology to China
David Rosen
Trafficking or Commercial Sex? What Recent Exposés Reveal
Nick Pemberton
The Real Parallels Between Donald Trump and George Orwell
Binoy Kampmark
Reading Manifestos: Restricting Brenton Tarrant’s The Great Replacement
Brian Cloughley
NATO’s Expensive Anniversaries
Ron Jacobs
Donald Cox: Tale of a Panther
Joseph Grosso
New York’s Hudson Yards: The Revanchist City Lives On
REZA FIYOUZAT
Is It Really So Shocking?
Bob Lord
There’s Plenty of Wealth to Go Around, But It Doesn’t
John W. Whitehead
The Growing Epidemic of Cops Shooting Family Dogs
Jeff Cohen
Let’s Not Restore or Mythologize Obama 
Christy Rodgers
Achieving Escape Velocity
Monika Zgustova
The Masculinity of the Future
Jessicah Pierre
The Real College Admissions Scandal
Peter Mayo
US Higher Education Influence Takes a Different Turn
Martha Rosenberg
New Study Confirms That Eggs are a Stroke in a Shell
Ted Rall
The Greatest Projects I Never Mad
George Wuerthner
Saving the Big Wild: Why Aren’t More Conservationists Supporting NREPA?
Norman Solomon
Reinventing Beto: How a GOP Accessory Became a Top Democratic Contender for President
Ralph Nader
Greedy Boeing’s Avoidable Design and Software Time Bombs
Tracey L. Rogers
White Supremacy is a Global Threat
Nyla Ali Khan
Intersectionalities of Gender and Politics in Indian-Administered Kashmir
Karen J. Greenberg
Citizenship in the Age of Trump: Death by a Thousand Cuts
Jill Richardson
Getting It Right on What Stuff Costs
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail