Democrats refuse to say what America should do about border crisis

What do Democrats want to do about illegal immigration? Will they ever tell us? Or will they keep emoting about how deeply they care about the issue without ever offering a plan?

Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez made a splash last week by referring to the detention centers housing illegal immigrants as concentration camps. Using the rhetoric of “never again,” she drew a revolting false parallel between the Holocaust and an imperfect democracy’s efforts to deal with tens of thousands of illegal migrants crossing our southern border.

When called out, she doubled and tripled down. Yet she was never pushed to explain what she would do with the influx of people coming in from Central America. She’s not alone in having no follow-up plan.

Democrats know what they oppose: any proposal from President Trump. But what they support in regard to illegal immigration is much harder to pin down.

Responding to Ocasio-Cortez’s comments, Sen. Bernie Sanders said that while he wouldn’t use the same terms she did, “we need in this country, comprehensive immigration reform; We need to deal with the 1.8 million young people in [the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program] to get them legal status; and we need to move toward citizenship, a path towards citizenship.”

He didn’t answer the obvious follow-up questions: a path toward citizenship for whom? For all immigrants here illegally? For all immigrants who will come here illegally in the future? How is that different from the open borders he says he adamantly opposes?

Many of the candidates push that line about comprehensive reform. But they don’t explain what it actually means. Last week, The New York Times asked all the Democratic candidates whether they considered illegal immigration to be a major problem. Amy Klobuchar, Pete Buttigieg, Kirsten Gillibrand and Kamala Harris used the exact same “comprehensive immigration reform” watchword, but they mostly spent the rest of their time bashing Trump’s “inhumane” and “cruel” border policies.

They want the emotional validation of being the “good guys” without having to actually lay out their positions on what to do about tens of thousands of people entering the homeland illegally.

They’re unwilling to articulate either an open-borders position or some form of restrictionism. They can hit Trump on his callousness and congratulate themselves on caring more, but that’s where their thinking on immigration stops.

Anyway, this deep concern for the undocumented is fairly new for Democrats.

According to the liberal Web site Vox, “Customs and Border Protection spent $2.3 billion building and maintained 654 miles of physical barriers on the southern border between 2007 and 2015, with the support of congressional Democrats.”

Nancy Pelosi was House speaker for all but four of those years, but now the idea of a wall is “immoral” to her.

Meanwhile, President Barack Obama deported more people than any other president. A PBS report from February noted: “Last year, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement deported more than 256,000 people, a 13 percent increase from the previous year. The agency said the 2018 total was the highest number of deportations since 2014.” But get this: That Trump-era high is “still lower than the number of deportations during Obama’s first term. In 2012, for example, the Obama administration deported more than 409,000 people.”

What the Obama administration knew, and what any of these Democratic candidates will find out if they make it to the White House, is that we simply can’t admit every person who wants to come to America.

Democrats can continue to do this strange dance around their actual opinions. They can fill the airways with lofty words about how deeply they care. But it’s all talk until they outline their actual policies on illegal immigration.

Yes, we should push for a more humane approach, better conditions and faster processing times at these detention centers. But unless Democrats are willing to come out and say they believe America should open its borders to all comers, the camps are likely to remain open under the next Democratic president.

Twitter: @Karol

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