Listening to the Democratic presidential candidates debate and discuss immigration will instantly make one feel like they are in kumbaya land. If only we stopped the divisive rhetoric, passed comprehensive immigration reform, addressed the migrant border crisis by fixing what ails their native countries the problem would be solved.
Now, I might be naive. But, that sounds a lot like we do not know what to do but we need to blame the incumbent President for the problems and promise to fix it. The problem is, in reality, the best Democrats can offer as a fix is to argue we cannot separate families, hold children in temporary facilities and legalize illegals already in the US.
It is more true than not few people like the actions the administration has taken to secure the border. In response though, Democrats have largely railed against the White House’s actions while only offering sound-bytes.
No doubt, Democrats know how difficult the issue is. Just like Republicans did on amnesty many years ago, Democrats have painted themselves into a corner on opposing a wall. Their primary electorate is now fervently opposed to the idea and the most obvious way to limit illegal immigration is now out.
Democrats have done a lot to show-boat on the issue. The “squad” recently showed up at a detention facility in Texas. The progressive wing of the party fought mightily a supplemental funding plan which did not include additional securities for detained illegal children. In the debates, their presidential candidates have floated one unrealistic possibility after another, floating fantasy ideas like we can fix entire nation’s broken and corrupt governments.
This explains why few voters actually like the President’s ideas on immigration in action but remain committed to some form of border security. Voters might recoil at the President’s rhetoric but Democrats are not offering anything new either in solutions.
The real life problem is now though. School districts in border communities are struggling to handle the influx of new kids, hospitals are being overwhelmed with kids and families with strange cases of disease and, it is not racist to say, entire communities are being changed in a manner of months. On top of this, you have a federal govt bureaucracy completely unable to handle the scope of the issue.
Just consider the entities tasked with handling border security, ICE and the Border Patrol, our housed under the Department of Security and were initially created to handle security related to foreign terrorism. The Democratic talking point of abolishing ICE might eliminate an understaffed and incapable agency but it hardly fixes any underlying issues.
The most vocal presidential candidates on the issue have largely been the ones behind in the polls, struggling with blacks and college educated whites and looking to gain an edge with Latinos. But there ideas make you wonder.
Beto O’Rourke wants the wall taken down in El Paso, Texas.Julian Castro wants to decriminalize border crossings. Marianne Williams essentially wants open borders. The only really realistic policy idea being batted around is keeping the Bush era law criminalizing illegal immigration. A law, by the way, which splits the candidates.
What defines the party as unrealistic on the issue though is their solid rejection of any practical solutions. It certainly was bad optics when the party split on a border security wall to fund bedding for kids. It certainly does not look good when they blanket oppose a merit based system of immigration, as outlined by the administration.
Instead, the party doubles down on the mantra of every immigrant has value, they came here for a better life, and the morals jazz of let’s not speak of the issues this is causing and it will go away. Well, it is not going away.
The more the Democrats dig themselves into a corner on the issue the more they are setting the stage for the White House to actually score a win on the issue. It is yet another issue where the party does not see the danger they are in by playing into Trump’s hands. The President knows Democrats will oppose any plan he has, and by virtue of how the media and our elections work, will be forced to lay out their solutions. The more their solutions are unworkable the worse it gets for the party, even as they play up how Trump’s divisive culture war (including immigration), is driving the nation apart.
Well, yes, but you aren’t solving the issue either by just saying we should all get along. Rather, you’re just kicking the can down the road. Good job!