Gun-Control Debate Overshadowed DACA Victory

DACA recipients were awarded a legal victory Monday, Feb. 26, when the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a case dealing with the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, leaving renewals valid for at least a few months.

Vox’s Dana Lind reported that the decision “partially reanimated the DACA program,” combatting Trump administration moves gutting the program since September 2017.

Given that the overwhelming majority of the U.S. supports DACA, the cost of mass deportations for the economy, and the massive media attention DACA garnered just last month, you would think all eyes would be on the recent legal victories for these activists.

Coverage and fervor around the issue, however, have been shockingly minimal.

Despite the fact the same issue managed to shut the government down just a month ago, DACA and deportation coverage is hardly making any front-page headlines.

“Congress seemed to be on the brink, determined to do something for DACA recipients and figure out a way to stop the potential deportations of people who had signed up,” wrote Z. Byron Wolf in a biting op-ed for CNN.

“Now, DACA and the immigration negotiations, such as they were, feel like a distant memory.”

President Donald Trump tweeted about the lack of coverage himself, using the lack of focus on the issue as a partisan attack against congressional Democrats.

Pundits on the right agreed with Trump’s take on the situation, with conservative political science professor Eddie Zipperer blaming Democrats for the lack of media attention and mocking the party for their political inaction.

“They’re skipping the final exam on DACA to lounge on a beanbag and play Xbox […] The Democrats’ attempt to sabotage DACA for political gain is shockingly transparent.”

People on the right have used the lack of coverage to paint Democrats as spineless, flighty and unprincipled.

Mainstream media coverage of the DACA decision was so minimal–there are hardly any voices from legitimate sources covering the extent of which DACA wasn’t covered.

Many people thought that the public, media and politicians working together could pressure Congress into a legislative compromise protecting these Dreamers. However, it appears that DACA or any substantive conversation on it is out of the media’s sight and out of their minds, at least for now.

It will be interesting to keep an eye on the debates triggered by the Parkland shooting with that lens. Will the media and public be able to urge Congress to pass widely supported gun control legislation, or will the issue be forgotten in the upcoming weeks?

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