Democrats Wise to Proceed Cautiously on Immigration

“Every single Democrat in the U.S. Senate has signed up for the open borders, and it’s a bill, it’s called the ‘open borders bill,’” said Donald Trump on October 6. 

The statement was completely false – there has never been any such bill – but it was typical of Trump’s fabrications and rhetoric in the period leading up to the midterm elections. He also claimed, without evidence, that the migrant caravan heading for the United States had been infiltrated by Middle Easterners and “stone cold criminals.” To project a sense of looming crisis, he needlessly ordered thousands of U.S. troops to the border. And he falsely asserted that “Democrats want to invite caravan after caravan into our country.” Fortunately, voters saw through the demagogic fear-mongering, and a blue wave swept across the country.

But there is reason to be concerned that heading into the 2020 election, Democratic candidates seeking to placate the far left wing of the party will stake out positions that will alienate moderate voters who are not opposed to legal immigration and even some form of amnesty, but believe illegal immigration should be deterred and the border secured.

Sanctuary city policies and proposals to abolish the Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), are not only unwise and impractical, but send messages that are easily exploited by Trump for political purposes. They are also not supported by a majority of Americans.

Democrats can and should continue to support relief for immigrants eligible for DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) and comprehensive reform that would ultimately grant legal status to millions of undocumented immigrants who have resided in the country for years. Any such reform should also include provisions to strengthen enforcement, such as a mandatory E-Verify system that would require all job applicants to prove their legal right to work. According to a Fox News poll, 83 percent of Americans support this kind of reform.


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