In The Atlantic, Peter Beinart discusses “How the Democrats Lost Their Way on Immigration”:
A decade ago, liberals publicly questioned immigration in ways that would shock many progressives today.
In 2005, a left-leaning blogger wrote, “Illegal immigration wreaks havoc economically, socially, and culturally; makes a mockery of the rule of law; and is disgraceful just on basic fairness grounds alone.” In 2006, a liberal columnist wrote that “immigration reduces the wages of domestic workers who compete with immigrants” and that “the fiscal burden of low-wage immigrants is also pretty clear.” His conclusion: “We’ll need to reduce the inflow of low-skill immigrants.” That same year, a Democratic senator wrote, “When I see Mexican flags waved at proimmigration demonstrations, I sometimes feel a flush of patriotic resentment. When I’m forced to use a translator to communicate with the guy fixing my car, I feel a certain frustration.”
The blogger was Glenn Greenwald. The columnist was Paul Krugman. The senator was Barack Obama…
In 2008, the Democratic platform called undocumented immigrants “our neighbors.” But it also warned, “We cannot continue to allow people to enter the United States undetected, undocumented, and unchecked,” adding that “those who enter our country’s borders illegally, and those who employ them, disrespect the rule of the law.” By 2016, such language was gone. The party’s platform described America’s immigration system as a problem, but not illegal immigration itself. And it focused almost entirely on the forms of immigration enforcement that Democrats opposed. In its immigration section, the 2008 platform referred three times to people entering the country “illegally.” The immigration section of the 2016 platform didn’t use the word illegal, or any variation of it, at all.
I loved this passage:
One way of mitigating this problem would be to scrap the current system, which allows immigrants living in the U.S. to bring certain close relatives to the country, in favor of what Donald Trump in February called a “merit based” approach that prioritizes highly skilled and educated workers. The problem with this idea, from a liberal perspective, is its cruelty. It denies many immigrants who are already here the ability to reunite with their loved ones. And it flouts the country’s best traditions. Would we remove from the Statue of Liberty the poem welcoming the “poor,” the “wretched,” and the “homeless”?
The Zeroeth Amendment!