SOME OF THEIR BEST PEOPLE

When we look back at 2016, we’ll see it was the year immigrants won, once and for all

Getty/John Moore

What an ugly year, no? Trumpism begetting Trumptakes on how the country was being ripped apart by the toxic American bundle of born-again nativism, old-school white racism, and “economic anxiety.”

But then there’s this, which the immigration-advocacy group FWD pointed out today: Over the last decade—inclusive of 2016—there’s actually been a massive shift towards a path to legalization for undocumented immigrants.

In a recent poll, Pew Research found that 80% of Americans support creating a way for undocumented immigrants to stay in the U.S. That includes 60% of Trump supporters and 77% of Republicans who voted for other candidates in the primary!

This is a massive shift from a decade ago, in 2006, when only 40% of Americans favored a path to legalization.

By President Obama’s second term, roughly 70% of the public had come to support a path to legalization, with various polls conducted showing the number bouncing in the low 70s: 71% in 2013, 73% in 2014, and then 72% in June 2015, the month Donald Trump launched his campaign calling Mexicans rapists.

So, incredibly, during the Hieronymus Bosch hellscape of the last 17 months, support for undocumented immigrants has actually increased, right through the pus-filled eruption of the alt-right and Trump’s atavistic anti-immigrant rhetoric.

Hell, even a Fox News poll found high levels of support for figuring out a way for undocumented immigrants to stay in the U.S.

This is actually a far more remarkable change in public opinion than even the “dramatic turnaround” the nation experienced about marriage equality! From a nation roughly split between deporting millions of people and letting them stay a decade ago, we now see an electorate as united as the country can get behind a path to legalization. It’s almost as if the frothing, groping demagogue the Republican party nominated unintentionally reminded Americans that they are not frigging monsters. And not just the people of color who are going to save our democracy.

So, with election day upon us, maybe it’s time to reconsider the year that’s been. We thought 2016 was a garbage fire of burning plastic and irradiated pig entrails. But, actually, we saw more movement towards a path to legalization since the Trump campaign began than we’d seen in the previous 3 years. Despite the nastiness of the Trump rallies, the vast majority of American people are enthusiastically ready to accept taco trucks on every corner.