It seems establishment Republicans still don’t understand the importance to Republican voters of fulfilling the Trump immigration agenda. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has been working with Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) to attach a bill known as the Dream Act that would “fix” the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, created through executive order by the Obama Administration, to the year-end government funding bill.
Graham told CNN's State of the Union: “Most people believe we need to go from chain migration, family-based immigration to merit-based immigration and most want to give the Dream Act kids a more certain life.” The Graham-Durbin bill would offer legal status to about 800,000 individuals who received protection under DACA.
Graham and Durbin are contributing to the Democrats’ dramatic plan to possibly attempt to hold up the spending bill in December if it doesn’t include a DACA provision. To avoid such obstructionism, President Trump has said he will wait out the debate and will rescind the program in March 2018 so Congress can create a separate legislative solution for “Dreamers.” Of course, Graham and other establishment Republicans such as Jeff Flake, Jeff Denham, and Mike Coffman are participating in this DACA drama at the party’s own peril.
A poll conducted by NBC News/Wall Street Journal in September showed that a majority of Republican voters, particularly Trump voters, believe that Congress should end DACA. Furthermore, the House Freedom Caucus and conservative senators such as John Cornyn (R-TX) and David Perdue (R-GA) are on board with the president’s plan to leave DACA out of the December spending bill. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) of the House Freedom Caucus told the Washington Examiner: “We got to do what the American people sent us to do on immigration, and I just don’t see that happening on the spending bill.”
Thankfully for conservative voters, President Trump seems to be heeding their calls for immigration reform and is so far holding fast to his plan of letting Obama’s programs expire. Immigration is the issue that carried Trump in economically hard-hit states like Pennsylvania in 2016. The lesson establishment Republicans should learn is that if any Republican participates in the Democrats’ obstructionism on DACA, voters will surely be letting them know how they feel at the ballot box in 2018 and 2020.