The Hypocrisy of Conservatives Opposing the Dreamers

For Christian Trump voters, the decision must be at least a little awkward, as faith leaders across the country came out strongly against the decision to rescind DACA protections.

The Trump administration’s first several months holding the reins of executive power has been notable for the clustering of policy failures. Whether it be its inability to compose a legally sound travel ban, its mishandling of nuclear de-escalation in North Korea or its health care bill’s agonizing defeat in the Senate, it’s difficult to see anything resembling the art of a deal.

One thing this White House has shown itself adept at time and again, however, has been revealing its own hypocrisies. And this week’s announcement from Trump’s Department of Justice that the federal government plans to rescind DACA was one of the most typical — yet most horrifying — examples of this trend to date.

DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, is an Obama-era policy that protected some 800,000 children of undocumented immigrants from deportation. Participants, who were mostly children of immigrants from Mexico, could obtain permits to work legally in the United States and could renew their participation in the program every two years indefinitely. The Trump administration’s decision to provisionally axe this program demonstrates that, as far as it’s concerned, the Republican Party’s stated ideals are nothing more than a pretext for an agenda of prejudice. 

Foremost among the Republican Party’s professed ideals is a devotion to the country’s business health and cautious government spending. A large part of candidate Donald Trump’s electoral appeal came from voters who wanted the reality TV star to run the government like a business. But if a CEO were to make a decision like the one the president made earlier this week, he or she would likely have to face an angry board of directors — Trump’s policy change will cost an enormous amount of money to enact and exact billions of dollars in projected profits from the private sector in the long run.

According to a study published in January by the libertarian-leaning Cato Institute, the federal government will forfeit as much as $60 billion in lost taxes and costs of deportations in the next ten years as a result of Trump’s decision. And the reduction in overall business growth over that period is projected to be even higher — Cato’s estimate is $280 billion.

Another key aspect to the Republican brand and the national conservative coalition currently in power is Christianity. Examples of the president’s attempts to court the religious vote during the campaign were numerous, and the strategy seems to have worked: according to a post-election report from Pew Research Center, Trump won a majority of both the Protestant and the Catholic vote.

For these Christian Trump voters, the decision must be at least a little awkward, as their faith leaders across the country came out strongly against the decision to rescind DACA protections. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a condemnation of the Republican administration’s decision almost immediately, calling the move “reprehensible,” “unnecessary,” and “unacceptable.” Evangelical Christians were also broadly in favor of continuing the program, according to a Politico poll conducted August 31 to September 3, 57 percent responded that they wanted to let DACA recipients remain in the country.

The Trump regime has consistently pushed a narrative that it represents the will of a “silent majority,” likely to give itself the legitimacy that comes with democratic approval of an agenda. But two-thirds of the country — and even a majority of Republicans —support keeping the program in place, according to polling published in August by the Public Religion Research Institute.

If President Trump represents business interests, Christian morality or the will of the people, as he claims, it’s unclear how acting to rescind DACA does anything to further any of those interests. Far more likely is that the Trump administration’s decision was guided by sheer prejudice searching for an outlet in public policy.

Democrats and those on the progressive left have already demonstrated a broad, strong opposition to the senselessly cruel move to deport children. If Republicans and conservatives want to appear to have even a semblance of concern for their own self-identified principles, they will do the same.

Henry Glitz is a student at the University of Pittsburgh. 

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