As President Donald Trump has worked tirelessly to better secure the nation’s southern border from unceasing waves of illegal immigration, Democrats have obstructed every effort and inched closer to admitting their support for open borders and no restrictions on migration into the country.
That message came through loud and clear at the recent Democratic primary debates in Miami, where candidate Julian Castro — former mayor of San Antonio and secretary of Housing and Urban Development in the Obama administration — called for the decriminalization of unauthorized border crossings.
The Washington Post reported that other top Democratic 2020 candidates have embraced Castro’s proposal or, like New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, offered up detailed immigration reform proposals of their own that boil down to open borders and minimal, if any, enforcement of immigration laws.
A rather prominent voice from the prior Obama administration has now spoken out unmistakably in opposition to the open borders push of his fellow left-leaning Democrats — former Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson.
With regard to the calls from Castro and Booker and others to decriminalize unauthorized border crossings and cease temporary detainment of illegal aliens in border facilities, Johnson told The Post, “That is tantamount to declaring publicly that we have open borders.”
“That is unworkable, unwise and does not have the support of a majority of American people or the Congress, and if we had such a policy, instead of 100,000 apprehensions a month, it will be multiples of that,” he added.
There has been a surge of illicit border crossings in recent months, with The Post reporting that some 144,000 illegal alien border crossers — largely composed of family units, some seeking asylum and refuge, others just looking for work — were apprehended in May alone.
In fact, the total apprehensions at the border began to exceed 100,000 per month in March and only ticked back down slightly in June. That was after Mexico reached a deal with the Trump administration to crack down on migration within its own borders to avoid an economically devastating tariff on imports of Mexican goods into the U.S.
Considering that border and immigration officials had already been warning in January that resources were stretched thin and detainment facilities were overcrowded, the massive surge during the spring months only further exacerbated the problems faced by the overburdened facilities and officials and brought the long-standing and ongoing crisis to the forefront, so none could deny its existence any longer.
Say what one will about Johnson and his performance with regard to illegal immigration during the Obama era. But to Johnson’s credit, he has been echoing the dire warnings over the past few months from current border and immigration officials about the problems, and pleading with fellow Democrats to provide the necessary funding and resources to address the issues.
Once again, Johnson is correct in his assessment that Democrats have gone too far with regard to support for open borders, and how that openly expressed idea — which is unlikely to ever be implemented — will only serve to encourage many more men, women and children to make the dangerous cross-border journey to attempt to enter the U.S.
Tim Murtaugh, a spokesman for Trump’s re-election campaign, told The Post that Democratic candidates’ support for open borders — plus “free” taxpayer-funded health care for illegal aliens — was an indefensible position that the president would definitely use to his advantage.
“There can be no mystery of what Donald Trump’s view of illegal immigration is. His view has not, and will not, change. Borders have to mean something,” Murtaugh said. “This is the same crowd that denied there was a crisis at the border, then called it a manufactured crisis and still won’t work with President Trump to solve it.”
That sentiment was echoed by Brendan Buck, a top aide to former Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, who told The Post that Trump’s base was solid on the illegal immigration issue and that the president needed to focus on independent and moderate voters.
“(Trump) needs to put a doubt in voters’ heads that Democrats have gone so far to the left,” Buck said. “This issue can be helpful to the president if it is used to make a broader point about how far left Democrats have gone. They have far overcorrected and overreacted and staked out a position that is entirely unreasonable to most people.”
Yes, open borders is viewed as “unreasonable” and unsupported by the vast majority of Americans, something even a top former Obama official is publicly noting. But whether the Democratic candidates will listen to that former official and moderate their proposals to be more in line with what people want is a question that will remain unanswered.
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