The Democratic Case for Restricting Immigration is Alive and Well, Unfortunately that Democratic Party is Not

It’s hard to believe nowadays, but the modern immigration reform movement, which promotes limited immigration and strong enforcement of immigration laws, was once closely associated with the center-left in the United States. Liberal icons from the not-too-distant past such as Senators Gaylord Nelson and Eugene McCarthy were among those who championed limited immigration because such policies were (and remain) consistent with their liberal values.

That Democratic Party is now extinct. Concern about the impact of mass immigration – legal and illegal – on working people, education, social services, the environment, and social cohesion is not just taboo in the modern Democratic Party, it is a crime against the doctrine of intersectionality.

But like many extinct species, some of the Democratic Party’s center-left DNA has survived. In an almost Jurassic Park-like experience, readers of T.A. Frank’s latest column in the uber-elitist Vanity Fair can imagine themselves in a world where Democrats still fight for better jobs for working Americans; where less money is spent on bilingual education and more is spent on providing all kids with skills they will need to succeed in the 21st century; where local governments would not “pay millions for interpreting services in their courtrooms” but instead have “funding freed up for hiring more public defenders or creating more parks”; and a nation in which “Americans would be as diverse as ever in appearance and background but more closely knit to their communities, linked by memory and more history that was shared.”

Who knows?  Maybe dinosaurs will again roam the earth. It’s also possible that Democrats will again favor limiting immigration to preserve liberal values. The former would be scary, but the latter would be nice.

About Author


Ira joined the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) in 1986 with experience as a journalist, professor of journalism, special assistant to Gov. Richard Lamm (Colorado), and press secretary of the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee. His columns have appeared in National Review, LA Times, NY Times, Washington Post, Newsweek, and more. He is an experienced TV and radio commentator.


  1. avatar

    The media keeps running articles about how growing our population through ever more immigration will also “grow our GDP”, our total Gross Domestic Product. Of course it does. If you add one more person it increases, even if it’s a dollar. The perfect example is India and China. Their GDP grows every year because of massive population increases, but what sane person would want to live in those polluted, environmentally degraded, over populated hell holes.

    Look at who in the GOP is against Trump’s proposal to cut immigration in half. The usual gang of eight amnesty advocates like McCain, Flake, and Lindsey Graham. When the media needs the “opposition” point of view, one of the guys they invariably trot out is Graham. Graham had to withdraw from the presidential race because he never cracked 1% in the polls, refused to endorse Trump, and criticized Trump for withdrawing from Obama’s fraudulent Paris Climate Treaty. It was fraudulent because it required nothing of China and India, who were allowed to keep increasing their pollution levels until 2030.

    So why are guys like Graham always called on to give the supposed “conservative” view by the media, {including FOX, which has grown ever more liberal}. Why are commentators like David Brooks of the NY Times presented as the “other side” when many times he is indistinguishable from the left. Last week Keith Ellison, the vice chairman of the Democratic party, said that the crazy and erratic Kim Jong Un, who has been threatening us for months, was “acting more responsibly” than Trump. Imagine the media reaction if a Republican had said that about Obama.