For decades now the Ds have had this two-part public, official stance on immigration. We’re for a pathway to citizenship for the 11-20 million undocumented, and we’re 110% for securing our borders.
Everyone knows we are, on the down low, actually for amnesty, and that’s what the “pathway” dodge is about. We are way too timid to just come out and say what we think and feel, because “amnesty” doesn’t poll well. I’d say approx 100% of us believe that of course deportation is a breathtakingly unjust consequence to impose on someone who’s lived here and contributed for even a year, much less 30 years. But the alternatives to deporting them all are only two;
- make all 20 million citizens
- leave the 20 million in legal limbo
We won’t choose even here, this far down the decision tree. We’re not for citizenship because that’s amnesty, we’re only for a pathway to citizenship whose chief and defining characteristic is always that it remain so nebulous as to be effectively limbo. I think the Catholic Church recently had to abandon limbo as an unsustainably ridiculous intellectual compromise, so it is available for our expropriation.
Maybe if the Rs decide to commit electoral suicide and join us in actual amnesty, maybe we’d take that pathway to giving the 20 million citizenship, but no way do we do it on our own. If we did it on our own, without R cover, their noise machine would denounce the effort as amnesty, and we are absolutely 110% against amnesty, at least publicly and officially.
Most Ds are also really for borders open to economic migration, This isn’t nearly as unanimous among us as being for amnesty, because some of us are worried about the competition for jobs. Our failure to have an honest ideology on immigration is part of a wider failure to have an ideology about anything, so many of us are susceptible to comic book supply-side nonsense that completely discounts the demand-side effects of millions of new immigrant consumers spending their paychecks generating the demand that creates even more jobs. We can’t point out that leaving 20 million in legal limbo helps the owners suppress wages for everybody, because second-class citizens can’t protect any of their rights, not even the right to higher wages that would also lift all boats. But even those of us who aren’t completely in thrall to supply side and crony capitalist thinking are afraid to be for open borders because it polls almost as badly as amnesty. Thus we are for “securing our borders”. Against what? Smugglers and terrorists, sure. But against people who want jobs that will otherwise go unfilled, and, remaining unfilled will keep down the real tide that lifts all boats, increased demand? I don’t want our borders secured against that. No reasonable person does.
Sniping this hypocritical mess is beyond easy. Of course we’re not really for securing our borders against economic migration, because we’re for rewarding people who break the laws controlling entry into the US by giving them citizenship. Most voters aren’t paying sufficient attention to the reality of this or any other issue to judge politicians based on the fidelity of their positions to that reality. They have to judge by flop sweat, and our side hands down wins the competition to have the most flop sweat on immigration. It’s a wonder we haven’t all been carted off to jail, but the Trump administration is young yet, so give it time.