Democratic Hypocrisy on Immigration

Bryce Dunio  ’22, Guest Writer

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 Approximately 12 years ago, then-senator Barack Obama took to the podium to voice his vote on the Secure Fence Act of 2006, a bill with the intent of constructing a multi-billion-dollar series of fences on the US-Mexican border. 

Speaking out to his fellow senators, he asserted that “because we live in an age where terrorists are challenging our borders, we simply cannot allow people to pour into the United States undetected, undocumented, and unchecked.” Continuing with great passion, he added that “Americans are right to demand better border security and better enforcement of the immigration laws.” His view on illegal immigration was not an uncommon one either, with senators Hillary Clinton, Chuck Schumer, Joseph Biden, and 22 other Democrats all voting ‘Yea’ on the bill– ending with a final, passing vote of 80-19.

This hardline stance was quite common for several decades with the Democratic Party. Before it transitioned from a party with sympathy for the working class to a party with hatred for the successful, the Democratic position on immigration was generally much more regulatory than their Republican counterparts. 

The party consistently believed too many unskilled workers could hurt wage growth for the labor unions and disadvantaged they represented. In fact, a considerable chunk of our immigration laws had taken root from Democratic lawmakers – including the placement of children in ‘cages.’ This policy especially has been of major controversy in President Trump’s presidency, leading many to erroneously believe the president is responsible for it. 

One picture in particular became viral almost overnight, depicting several children inside of these ‘cages’ and leading to several prominent Democrats claiming Trump’s immigration policies created this eerily depressing sight. This picture, however, was actually taken in 2014, 1 year before Trump would announce his bid for the presidency. Where was the Democratic outrage at the time, you might – and should – ask? 

President Obama and twice-failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton justified this horrendous sight, with Obama stating “I’ll tell you what we can’t have… It’s these parents sending their kids here on a dangerous journey and putting their lives at risk,” and Hillary Clinton believing that “We have to send a clear message just because your child gets across the border doesn’t mean your child gets to stay” in 2014. 

President Obama also deported more than 2.5 million illegal immigrants, leading to one of his more popular nicknames being the ‘deporter-in-chief.’ Where was the Democratic outrage at the time, you might – and should – ask? In hindsight it appears their outrage was bottled up and made into Molotov cocktails, ready to scorch the next Republican president and leave them with the scars of scandals.

This is not meant to say Republicans are innocent of hypocrisy, but rather to point out one specific example of blatant hypocrisy. 

Looking at the current political landscape, President Trump’s immigration policy should actually be applauded by Democrats; however, the last decade of identity politics and contrarianism inside the Democratic Party have led to the demonization of both Republicans and Democrats who continue to believe a country has the right to enforce its borders. 

The same policies President Obama was hailed for, including by Hillary Clinton, led to the identification of President Trump as a fascist with xenophobic tendencies toward minorities. And with a growing migrant caravan of several thousand individuals slowly moving north to our southern border, it is entertaining to imagine what criticism President Trump will face for enforcing our nation’s laws and borders. 

This kind of blatant hypocrisy is not sustainable and has no place in an honest political landscape.

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