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Democrats Must Also Address Illegal Immigration

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Democrats Must Also Address Illegal Immigration


As respectable Republicans panic over Donald Trump’s storm of insults against Hispanics, Democrats may be tempted to sit back and watch the other party estrange millions of potential voters. But they do so at their own peril.

Democrats already have the luxury of being far less offensive, whatever position they take on immigration. But they must take a position, and that position must draw a line between legal and illegal. To do so, they can’t flinch when advocates of open borders unleash unpleasant accusations against any Democrat who attempts to honor that line.

Fear of uncontrolled immigration is not limited to crazed right-wing white folk. Blacks have long felt themselves unfairly replaced by immigrants. As poet Toni Morrison wrote, “whatever the ethnicity or nationality of the immigrant, his nemesis is understood to be African American.” The evidence remains anecdotal, but many blacks have expressed support for Trump over this issue.

Many immigrants also have highly mixed feelings about open borders. To my surprise, a nonwhite nurse from the Philippines, a friend, has been sending me pro-Trump literature.

Over half of Latinos in the U.S. workforce were born in this country. They are thoroughly American. And that doesn’t count the huge number of foreign-born Hispanic workers here legally.

Their wages and benefits are also being depressed by unauthorized migrants willing to work for less. And as many states and cities raise their minimum wages, some employers will be even more tempted to hire the undocumented under the table and at lower pay.

Many Democrats who honor and admire immigrants remain frustrated by a surge of unskilled foreign workers into the hard-hit bottom rungs of the labor market. It is one cause of economic inequality. A Pew Research Center poll has 79 percent of Democrats saying that the immigration system needs to be completely rebuilt. And just look at the exasperated comments by self-described liberals following opinion pieces praising the benefits of immigration without making any distinction between legal and not.

The reasonable path out of the mess is to legalize most of the undocumented while stopping future unauthorized migrants. President Obama valiantly tried to win over skeptics by demonstrating a will to enforce. For these efforts, the open-border crowd on the left condemns him as “deporter in chief.”

Note the hostile reaction to Obama’s recent move to discourage a new surge of illegal immigration from Central America. Agents for his Department of Homeland Security had arrested for deportation 121 migrants whose claims for asylum were denied in the courts.

“Our borders are not open to illegal migration,” Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said. In any other country, that would have been an unremarkable statement.

But advocates for undocumented immigrants and some Democrats in Congress went ballistic. They accused Obama of crimes against innocent families.

If powerful Democrats can’t back deporting 121 people whose appeals for asylum were turned down, why would the American public trust them to respect a comprehensive immigration solution?

As the party of unions and working people, the Democratic Party used to be more hawkish on immigration than the GOP — and with the support of its immigrant members. At a certain point, though, many leading Democrats replaced the labor agenda with an ethnic one.

Because Trump’s magic sauce includes a strong defense of the social security net, Bernie Sanders thinks he could attract some of the populist’s working-class supporters. He or Hillary Clinton probably could. But each must first make clear that our national labor market can’t be a global one. That means defending the principle, without apology, that who and how many come into this country matters.

Follow Froma Harrop on Twitter @FromaHarrop. She can be reached at fharrop@gmail.com. To find out more about Froma Harrop and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Web page at www.creators.com. COPYRIGHT 2016 CREATORS.COM

Photo: Immigrants and community leaders rally in front of the U.S. Supreme Court to mark the one-year anniversary of President Barack Obama’s executive orders on immigration in Washington, November 20, 2015. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Froma Harrop

Froma Harrop’s nationally syndicated column appears in over 150 newspapers. Media Matters ranks her column 20th nationally in total readership and 14th in large newspaper concentration. Harrop has been a guest on PBS, MSNBC, Fox News and the Daily Show with Jon Stewart and is a frequent voice on NPR and talk radio stations in every time zone as well.

A Loeb Award finalist for economic commentary in 2004 and again in 2011, Harrop was also a Scripps Howard Award finalist for commentary in 2010. She has been honored by the National Society of Newspaper Columnists and the New England Associated Press News Executives Association has given her five awards.

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  1. paulyz January 12, 2016

    Now that Liberal Democrat-Socialists have discovered Millions of Minorities agree with Trump, & what Conservatives have been saying for decades, they want to jump in ONLY for political reasons. This article states to first legalize all the Illegals here, then keep out any more from entering. That was exactly the Legislation passed way back in the 1986 “one-time” Amnesty. But of course, talk by Liberals is cheap, because they have no intention of actually stopping more coming as we have seen for decades. Pure Political Propaganda. Gee, do you mean that now the Democrat Party is (racist, anti-Immigrant?)

    1. Eleanore Whitaker January 12, 2016

      Dream on…Trump is never going to open his books for the pre-presidential vetting. And, he might even be disqualified because of the FINCEN lawsuit by the US Treasury for knowingly allowing money laundering at the Taj Mahal. Check the US Treasury’s FINCEN link.

      Here is the gist of it: For example, “in March 2015, FinCEN imposed a $10 million penalty on Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, N.J., for willful and repeated violations of the BSA.7 In addition to the civil penalty, the casino was required to conduct periodic external audits to examine its anti-money laundering BSA compliance program, and provide those reports to FinCEN and the casino’s board of directors. In the investigation, Trump Taj Mahal admitted to several willful BSA violations, including failure to implement and maintain an effective AML program, failure to report suspicious transactions, failure to properly file currency transaction reports, and failure to keep appropriate records as required by the BSA. Notably, Trump Taj Mahal had ample notice of these deficiencies as many of these violations were discovered in previous examinations. Trump Taj Mahal has a history of BSA violations dating back to 1998, when FinCEN assessed a $477,700 civil money penalty against Trump Taj Mahal for currency reporting violations.”

      So big mouth…now what do you think your lies about Trump will be next? Leave your state once in a while. I live in NJ. I know Trump better than you EVER will.

      1. paulyz January 13, 2016

        I have been to 39 States, but none of the Northeastern States, & have absolutely zero desire to go to New Joyzey. Better get used to Trump, looks like he will be the next President. Hillary may well end up in prison, why she needs to win so badly.

        1. Eleanore Whitaker January 14, 2016

          I have no desire to live with men like you..bossy, illiterate to the max, gender biased, control freaks…Here is why Trump is not going to see this presidential election through…He has a lawsuit against him:

          To whit:

          “The US Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued a $10m civil money penalty against Trump Taj Mahal for willful and repeated Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) violations in anti-money laundering (AML) program requirements, reporting obligations, and record-keeping requirements.

          FinCEN said that prior to current violations; Trump Taj Mahal had a long BSA’s violations history in 2003 and was penalized $477,700 in 1998 for currency transaction reporting violations.

          “Trump Taj Mahal received many warnings about its deficiencies,” said FinCEN Director Jennifer Shasky Calvery. “Like all casinos in this country, Trump Taj Mahal has a duty to help protect our financial system from being exploited by criminals, terrorists, and other bad actors.”

          It’s MY state of NJ that is keeping YOUR freeloader CON states in federal tax dollars. Every Republican state gets back anywhere from $1.35 to $1.87 for the $1 YOU pay in federal taxes. YOur states take that heft sum and leave the Dem states with a lousy 55 cents on average for the $1 we pay in federal taxes. Just how long do you DoPatch Lil Abners and Daisy Maes think we’ll support your lazy butts. YOu have so much free time to troll and post…while everyone in NJ is out of bed every day 5 days a week at 5 AM rushing to get to our jobs. Time to get your lazy butts moving and Work for what you need and want. This is not a Plantation Nation where you sit on your verandahs chomping on Cuban cigars and swilling mint juleps.

          The times they are “a’changin” and CONs are not going to be so happy with these changes. Too damn bad.

  2. itsfun January 12, 2016

    What don’t the politicians understand about the word illegal. People illegally come here, get free housing, medical care, education, etc, while I get fined for going 5 mph over the speed limit.

    1. bobnstuff January 12, 2016

      The crime of driving 5 mph above the speed limit and being in the country illegally are the same type as far as the law goes. If you jump the fence to get here and the government can prove it it becomes more like 25 mph over the speed limit. Illegal is illegal right if you break the law, you break the law. Speeding is breaking the law. Most of the illegals don’t get free anything and a number pay taxes that they will never get anything back from.

  3. Eleanore Whitaker January 12, 2016

    If the Republican Obstruction isn’t an example of how they skank to get border patrol funding that now tallies past $50 billion in just the last decade, what more do Dems need? Conservatives are the ones who benefit most from hiring illegals. After all, isn’t that how they CONSERVE their money?

    In this past 7 years, this president has deported more illegals than Bush ’43 or Bush ‘ 41 who did the wink, wink, nod, nod to the Plantation states who are the ones who hire the most illegals. That should surprise anyone. After all, these are the same states who flout federal laws like E-Verify so they can circumvent fedral government.

    Let’s call the Confedracy what it is…freeloaders who benefit most from hiring cheap labor they can hold the threat of deportation over. Can’t do that with AMerican born citizens, can they?

    So you’ll get righties all bitching about illegals when they are the ones who refuse to use E-Verify or comply with federal regulations on immigration all while they help themselves to billions in border patrol funding.

    Sorry but this post is so typical of the irresponsible, reckless right wing conservatives in this country who are guilty, guilty, guilty of recklessness and think if they blame it all on Dems, they’ll come up smelling as sweet as roses. The stink of right wing lies and corruption is becoming a tighter noose around the GOP necks and they know it.

    With Republicans acting as if they are the ONLY government, overruling anything the Dems propose like the control freaks men of the GOP are, it’s typical of GOP jerks to blame the party they opposed on every issue for the last 7 years.

    Games are over boys…Get another whipping post. Dems and more than 90% o Americans know the GOP neocons and right wing anti-government nut freaks are not going to control our tax dollars or us. The more they bitch, blame and refuse to accept responsibility for the crooks and corruption in the GOP, the faster their party dies a painful death.

  4. Laura Mullen January 12, 2016

    You don’t stop illegal immigration by rewarding foreign nationals who broke our laws and invaded our country by making them legal. That’s the problem with the current batch of politicians. They really think they can solve the problem of eleven million illegal aliens, by calling them legal and reporting the problem solved. Its kind of like when DHS changed their reporting of numbers of people deported to now include people turned back at the border so it would look like they were doing their jobs. The current politicians are convinced that Americans are stupid, and won’t see through their BS. That’s why they are so shocked to see Donald Trump’s numbers in the polls.
    The illegal aliens in this country need to be removed. First, cut off all benefits to them including food stamps, subsidized housing, free emergency room visits, and education.
    Next, Use Social Security’s databases to locate all the fake SSN users, and notify their employers to fire them or their business will be closed. Require that every business in this country use Everify. If they don’t, close the buisness down until they do. Next, go after the employers of illegal aliens if they ignore the above and make it more expensive to hire illegal aliens, than pay a few fines every few years as part of the cost of doing buisness.
    Next, raid every construction site in the country, and arrest every illegal you find, and deport them, if they have a family, deport them too. We wouldn’t want them to be separated. Then raid every cleaning service, landscaper service, and hotel known to hire illegals.
    If churches try to give “sanctuary” arrest a few clergy for harboring a fugitive or conspiracy to hinder prosecution and see if the rest get the message.

    Finally, after some period of time, have ICE go get the rest of them who haven’t already left.

    1. bobnstuff January 12, 2016

      Illegals can not get food stamps. Most “fake SSN don’t show up as fake on the data base because they are not fake, they belong to people who have left the country for one reason or an other. They also belong to people who don’t use them so they show up as OK in the data base.

      1. Laura Mullen January 13, 2016

        The Social security people know about thousands of the fake ones. All you need to see is multiple people in different jobs across the country to know one of them is fake. But by law they are not allowed to share this info with ICE.

        1. bobnstuff January 13, 2016

          Not 100% true SSA must first check to see why the numbers are wrong, was it written down wrong etc. It takes about two years of checking before the pass the information over to HLS. This rule is from 2005 and is a memo not a law. The IRS is much faster. If you apply for the ACA with a bad number they will send HLS the information right a way. All of these rules are to protect you rights under the constitution.

  5. @HawaiianTater January 12, 2016

    “The reasonable path out of the mess is to legalize most of the undocumented while stopping future unauthorized migrants.”


    This was one of the better articles from NM. Yeah, we can’t have open borders. Illegal immigration has to be stopped. We can’t round up and kick out 11 million (or whatever the number is) people either. Without borders, we don’t have a country. We don’t have to stop allowing any immigrants into the country but we have to do a lot better job controlling who gets in. If you’re going to be here, you’re going to have to do it legally.

    The other major point was being a part of a global workforce. We have to stop allowing underpaid illegal workers to drive down wages in this country. No more corporations paying slave labor at home or abroad for their business in the USA. If you want to do business in the USA, then you’re going to have to play by the rules and take care of your employees. And if you don’t like it, you’re welcome to take your business to another country. Paying 50 cents and hour to some kid in Taiwan to make tennis shoes won’t do you as much good if you are not allowed to then sell those tennis shoes in the USA. There’s still more money to be made in the USA by paying good money to your employees than there is losing the USA as a market altogether.


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