As Greg Sargent points out today, the more carefully self-identified Republicans are polled on what they actually want to do with 11 million undocumented people, the more a clear majority implicitly or explicitly favors deportation.

There’s a tendency among progressives not to dwell on this, because we hope there’s enough sentiment within the GOP to outweigh or bring around the nativists. But at the same time, explaining the president’s use of prosecutorial discretion to give many of the undocumented relief doesn’t really make sense unless you understand Congress is refusing either to set its own priorities, or to legalize most of the undocumented, or to provide the resources to enforce the laws strictly as they claim to want. Truth is I suspect a majority of Republicans actually favor the lazy path of “self-deportation”–making life for the undocumented so miserable that they leave on their own–but Mitt Romney showed that approach was a political loser. Additionally, that’s a legally as well as morally dubious proposition.

So I think it’s important for progressives to get right up in the grill of conservative opponents of any path to legalization for the eleven million and ask them: Where’s the money to deport these people? Where’s the appropriations for the cattle cars? Isn’t there a transportation bill on the floor of the House? Get with it or stop complaining about what Obama’s doing in the absense of any congressional policy.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.