The Democrats’ Positions on Immigration Are Starting to Worry a Lot of Democrats

The death of the so-called Gang of Eight bill in the House of Representatives in 2014 marks the point at which the Democratic establishment dropped any pretense of support for immigration enforcement. The last week in June 2019 will almost certainly mark the point at which the party’s leaders declared not only their unconcealed hostility to immigration enforcement, but their rejection of the very notion that the United States should even have immigration laws.

The week began with Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the party’s highest ranking elected federal official, declaring “A violation of status is not a reason for deportation. That’s just not so.” 8 U.S. Code Section 1325 says otherwise, but why let a little thing like a federal statute stand in the way of a political agenda? Pelosi went on to tout a House supplemental appropriation to deal with the humanitarian fallout from the border crisis, “We have legislation to go forward to address those needs,” and also stated clearly her view that anyone who makes it into the country, however they got here, should be allowed to remain. “[I]n terms of interior enforcement, what is – what’s the point?”

But Pelosi’s musings were just the Democratic locomotive approaching the sharp curve at high speed. Just a few days later, the two dozen or so presidential contenders who hope to supplant her as the nation’s highest ranking elected Democrat held their first debate over two nights. That’s where their positions on immigration really went off the rails in the opinion of some high profile opinion columnists whose opinions tend to lean toward the Democrats’ world view.

Andrew Sullivan, writing in New York Magazine, and Jeff Greenfield in Politico, were both left wondering whether the Democrats had lost all touch, not just with reality, but with voters outside of the bubble of the party’s increasingly radical base. “I suspect that the Democrats’ new position — everyone in the world can become an American if they walk over the border and never commit a crime — is political suicide,” wrote Sullivan. Similarly, Greenfield noted, “These candidates aren’t explicitly advocating open borders, but taken together, the policies advocated amount to almost the same thing.” And not just advocating for open borders, observed Greenfield, but also all manner of “’free stuff’ to millions of people who broke the law to get here in the first place.”

Former Housing and Urban Development (HUD) secretary, Julian Castro, who apparently is familiar with Section 1325 openly called for its repeal. He also conceded that many of the people who are now violating Section 1325 are really economic migrants. “A lot of folks that are coming are not seeking asylum — a lot of them are undocumented immigrants,” who should be allowed to remain here anyway, Castro said.

While there was some disagreement among the presidential wannabes about whether we should care if people cross our borders without permission, there was none when it came to the question about what expensive benefit programs illegal aliens should be entitled to. All. When the debate moderator asked the candidates on stage if they agreed with South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttitieg’s suggestion that illegal aliens be made eligible for federal health insurance benefits, every hand went up. The cost of such a plan? Apparently it would be crass to even calculate the cost of allowing everyone who shows up here to exercise their “right” to health care at the American taxpayer’s expense.

Whether last week’s assertions by the Democratic leadership amount to “political suicide,” as Sullivan suggests, will be determined by the voters in 16 months. What is clear is that the week was a definitive turning point. As Greenfield conclude, “Right now, it seems clear that if either of the past two Democratic presidents had shown up Thursday and advocated their positions from five or 20 years ago—the ones that helped them win a general election—they would have been booed off their own party’s stage.”

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. Pingback: Democratic Candidates Go Off Deep End On Deportation – ukraineng

  2. avatar
    conservativeprof on

    The article references Democrat support for enforcement in the Gang of 8 (Gr)amnesty bill. The enforcement provisions were just smoke and mirrors. That bill would have led to a 2 year period of chaos at the border. At the end of two years, there would have been calls for more amnesty and no enforcement. The election of Dave Bratt saved us from open borders and welfare for all. Democrats need another lesson about open borders and amnesty. This issue can help Trump and Republicans win in 2020. Democrat positions on immigration are radical beyond belief. The winning candidate will try to walk back these radical positions. We should **** the winner on these radical positions.

  3. avatar

    This trash that is in fact destroying our Nation needs to be identified and removed from our Country! Maybe a few of these parasites have acceptable claims for asylum but the majority are true welfare seeking scum that has probably never worked an honest day in their lives! The majority only want everything for nothing! It is time to close our borders and start with massive deportations! It is time to start cleaning up America and taking the trash out! I did not serve my Country only to see several of my Brothers in arms neglected or out right ignored while the DEMON RATS hand over the keys to our Nation to Worthless Scum! It is surely time to put armed ******* at our southern border! This insanity must stop! Our politicians must also start being charged with felonies when they are caught aiding this Illegal trash! Why is it that we have politicians turning a blind eye to the suffering of our own homeless Citizens yet they will do everything in their power to aid the parasites that are infesting our society! This insanity must end and every single politician that has aided in destroying our Country must be held accountable!

  4. avatar

    Many years ago I supported the idea of open borders. My reasoning was the USA is the greatest nation on earth, why wouldn’t anyone want to come here and why should we thwart their efforts? I have a feeling the average Leftist does not support open borders for the same reason I once did. In fact, I have spoken to open border enthusiasts on the Left and they have told me that they support it solely because they believe it will bring down the USA, the number one reason why the Left pushes forth most of its policies. I used to work side-by-side with these people. So this answers the question: Why would Democrats push for an open border when they believe the USA is one of the worst nations on earth for minorities? Will the real racists please stand up….

    • avatar

      I agree. I also believe this is the fastest way to an outright uprising from the people. If the think the Civilians patrolling the border was a problem before, they have no idea what would happen if everyone started thinking that way.

  5. avatar

    Sullivan’s article is generally good but it’s also more of the “send more aid” to the Northern Triangle countries. Already done that. It just disappears in a fiscal black hole. Better spent at the border to build barriers.

    The ICE raids that Trump announced were for people who had their asylum claims denied and failed to leave the country. Naturally these proposed raids were denounced by everyone from Pelosi on down. But wait. Don’t they all say that we should have no detentions and everyone should get to “wait in this country”. OK, those people did that, they lost their cases, and now you say they shouldn’t be deported.

    So why trust you. You unfailingly lie. You say what you have to, you claim you don’t want an open border but then you undercut every effort at enforcement. The classic case of actions speak louder than words. If we had a real media, every Democrat would be asked a straightforward question.

    You don’t want detentions and you don’t want deportations, so how is that not open borders.

  6. avatar

    When a large percentage of Americans want immigration laws enforced that includes Democrats and Independents. Myself included. How dare they take amnesty, open borders and the flow of illegals okay. Democrats were not asked but party leaders do as the please. We are lawful. They are not.

    Both parties put on an act but neither listen to the people who elected them.

    There is a shortage of jobs (especially good paying ones with benefits) not people to do them. How can an American citizen who pays taxes compete with this flow of unskilled and non citizens who don’t pay taxes or can’t afford to? Why pay big taxes or become a citizen when you are given everything…and in some cases more.

    The Dream Act makes me angry since one group of persons should not be given education benefits but all Americans wanting it. The group given a Dream Act college education have not paid taxes at all…or their parents. It send a bad message for abuse and resentment.

    Reagan’s amnesty was a failure. More came then were here and the flow has never stopped.

    How dare they want to open our borders without our say or vote. That is treasonous.

    They don’t represent us but corporations and owners who want cheap labor at the expense of the American tax payer. We have not agreed to their six or seven big unions in the world ruled by the few bankers and elites. We are a democracy with a Constitution and immigration laws which are being ignored.

    What oath of office did they take? They are not protecting us from outside and inside enemies out to ruin our democracy and power.

    As a senior, I am seeing my care and benefits cut. Critical ones such as physical therapy after surgery, etc. Drug prices are sky rocketing. We seniors who paid taxes and pay for medical benefits get cut and illegals get our money for homes, food, jobs, education, etc.? WHAT!!

    • avatar

      You say “there is a shortage of jobs”, but I see “now hiring” signs all over the place, and help wanted signs in many windows. Your claim does not agree with the reality.

      • avatar

        You must have forgotten to put your brain in place today.

        Illiterate & non English speaking immigrants solve NO employment problems and their costs create a huge hole for you to fill by removing your assets and revenue.

    • avatar

      And as another senior (72 y.o.), I do not see the situation you describe. My Medicare coverage is good, and medications are affordable. Again, I do not see the problem. What is your REAL complaint?

    • avatar

      Illegal aliens do NOT get the benefits you describe.. what sources do you have? Is it all Fax News? You might want to get other info.

      • avatar

        Illegal aliens cost this country $139 billion dollars ANNUALLY in health care, education, criminal justice and other sundry costs. In the last two years 266,000 illegals have been arrested. Charges resulting from those arrests, besides illegal entry, include 100,000 for different degrees of assault, 30,000 for sex crimes, and 4,000 for homicide. This doesn’t include other charges including DWI and theft. These statistics are fairly common knowledge it your ignorance is preventing you from understanding this the information is documented and readily available at Homeland Security, Dept. of Heath and Human Services, Department of Education, and Department of Justice websites. You apparently have a computer. Crawl out from under your rock.

      • avatar

        FYI, every illegal family of an “illegal” anchor baby has full access to all our welfare services on behalf of their “newborn citizen.” Each additional anchor baby just increases that families welfare take and the number of years getting it (forever). Today, we are hearing much from the democrat presidential candidates intending to give illegal aliens free health insurance. Truth is, these people have always received free medical care at our hospitals/emergency rooms/clinics and view it as they “right” that we pay for it. Our public schools are overwhelmed with foreign nonEnglish speaking students, but are held accountable for educating them. Therefore, our public school systems are forced to spend huge chunks of their budget providing expensive special tutors speaking each student’s language. Some schools have to contend with many different foreign languages (12 or more). Because these students spend the majority of the school day in regular classrooms, those teachers are forced to spend the the majority of their time, effort and expertise dealing with these foreign students because the teachers are held accountable for their academic success. The result is a tremendous loss in the education of our own American citizen students, the very ones for whom our schools exist. Oh, yes, the foreign noncitizens living in our country, both legal and illegal, often get more freebies than USA citizens, but actually deserve none of them. And their constantly increasing great numbers (tens of millions) and entitled, demanding attitudes are an annual horrendous cost to American taxpayers, a huge drain on our nation in every way, no benefit to the USA or Americans from their being here, just the opposite.