“We cannot tolerate illegal immigration and we must stop it.”
“We continue to firmly oppose welfare benefits for illegal immigrants. We believe family members who sponsor immigrants into this country should take financial responsibility for them, and be held legally responsible for supporting them.”
“…we must remain a nation of laws.”
“In 1992, our borders might as well not have existed. The border was under-patrolled, and what patrols there were, were under-equipped. Drugs flowed freely. Illegal immigration was rampant. Criminal immigrants, deported after committing crimes in America, returned the very next day to commit crimes again.”
Yes - you guessed it. The year cited in the last paragraph gave it away. These are not contemporary Republican talking points, but direct quotes from the 1996 Democratic Party Platform.
How is it that a political party once deeply concerned by illegal immigration now does everything it can to encourage it? Democrats across the country have established sanctuary cities, inviting more illegal aliens and sheltering them from deportation. Their policies protect them all indiscriminately, from the industrious field laborers andhotelworkers, to drug dealers and other criminals – the ones who are caught and those smart enough to avoid arrest. The Democratic governor of California has opened the entire state to illegal aliens. Many of them survive on welfare benefits funded by the taxpayers, and many are even enjoying the benefits of in-state tuition to attend college – a benefit denied American citizens from other states. And Democrats are inviting more of it by fighting tooth and nail to prevent construction of a border wall.
While some of them still pretend to care about international borders and national sovereignty, their true intention is revealed by the parade of Democrats joining that tired chorus, “We should be building bridges, not walls.”
No, it’s clear that everything they do now is intended to encourage more illegal border crossings.
Why the drastic change in position? How did it happen?
It’s fairly obvious why the Democratic leadership is now so eager to embrace illegal immigration. It has nothing to do with the Statue of Liberty or those inspirational words inscribed on her pedestal, “Givemeyour tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” It has more to do with cold, hard statistics. The 2010 report by the Center for Immigration Studies, and other studies, concluded that immigrants overwhelmingly support the Democratic Party. Simply put, more immigrants equate to more votes for Democrats.
It’s also fairly apparent how Democratic politicians managed to bring their constituents along, to reverse the position they held in 1996.
Under George W. Bush, there were no significant changes to our immigration policies, and likewise, public opinion on the issue was fairly consistent. Things changed dramatically, though, during the Obama Administration. In 2012, after spending three years acknowledging that he, acting alone, had no power to change immigration laws, ultimately issued an Executive Order that did just that. DACA protected certain illegal immigrants from deportation, and under Obama’s tutelage, Democrats became more emboldened to defy federal immigration laws.
But the real impact of Obama’s presidency was in the changes he brought about in public opinion. He and the Democrats attacked anyone who opposed his policies. Those who even uttered the term “national sovereignty” were branded as racist. Worse yet, they were chided with those familiar words filled with condescension and shame: “That’s not who we are.” It was like a parent correcting a wayward child, but it worked flawlessly with Obama’s constituents. They certainly didn’t want to be accused of racism, and no self-respecting liberal would ever allow itself to be labeled insensitive.
Using guilt and shame to mold public opinion has always been a reliable tool for the Democratic Party, the party that invented victimization politics, the party that regularly uses terms like “white privilege” and “hate speech” to shame its critics.
That strategy proved effective on the immigration issue as well.
After eight years of Obama’s influence, and now free from the shackles of shame, those Democrats, who once proudly proclaimed that we are a nation of laws, now openly defy them. And while they spend their time praising each other for their boundless sensitivity and compassion, their leaders are busy counting potential votes.
What about the rest of us? If that’s not who we are, then who are we?
We don’t abandon those things we know to be true simply because some manipulative politician impugns our compassionate nature. We are not governed by emotions, whipped up by political ideologues. We follow the laws enacted by our elected representatives, not the whims of magisterial politicians. We are descendants of legal immigrants, and together we are a compassionate country. As such, we will continue to encourage orderly, regulated immigration, while doing everything within our power to end illegal immigration.
Peter Lemiska has spent more than 28 years in government service. He is a former Senior Special Agent of the U.S. Secret Service and an Air Force veteran. His political commentaries have been widely published on line and in print.
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