If President Trump were paid a dime every time critics call his anti-illegal immigration policy “racist,” he’d double his net worth. Never mind that at one time, President Clinton, former Democratic Senate Leader Harry Reid, former Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) all warned about the problems associated with illegal immigration.
Reid, for example, railed against birthright citizenship in 1993: “If making it easy to be an illegal alien isn’t enough, how about offering a reward for being an illegal immigrant? No sane country would do that, right? Guess again. If you break our laws by entering this country without permission and give birth to a child, we reward that child with U.S. citizenship.” Apart from America, the only other rich, industrial countries that allow birthright citizenship are Canada and Chile. Not a single European country permits this.
As to legal immigration, Trump, too, stands accused of racism for seeking to end “chain migration” and for arguing that legal immigrants must benefit America, rather than the other way around.
But recently, Hillary Clinton, Trump’s 2016 presidential rival, and former Secretary of State John Kerry argued that Europe should enact more restrictive immigration policies. “I think Europe needs to get a handle on migration because that is what lit the flame,” said Clinton recently in an interview with The Guardian, referring to the hot-button issue of immigration among voters. “I admire the very generous and compassionate approaches that were taken by leaders like (Germany’s) Angela Merkel, but I think it is fair to say Europe has done its part and must send a very clear message — ‘we are not going to be able to continue (to) provide refuge and support’ …”
Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) called Clinton’s words a “deeply misguided and unfortunate comment from someone who must know better.” Former Clinton adviser Peter Daou tweeted: “Why is #HillaryClinton playing into the hands of right-wing haters? The problem isn’t the migrants, it’s the xenophobes …” Rolling Stone’s Jamil Smith tweeted: “This is a sickening capitulation on her part. You don’t stop racism by giving in to racists.”
In response to the criticism, Clinton blamed Trump. “Trump has made it worse with cruel abuses at the border,” tweeted Clinton, “detaining children and separating them from their families. It’s one of the most shameful moments in our history.” But in her “clarification,” she still sounded like Trump. “In a recent interview,” Clinton tweeted, “I talked about how Europe must reject right-wing nationalism and authoritarianism, including by addressing migration with courage and compassion. … On both sides of the Atlantic, we need reform. Not open borders, but immigration laws enforced with fairness and respect for human rights…”
Kerry, speaking at a recent event in London one week before Clinton’s interview, also warned Europe about its immigration policy, which in the last few years has admitted millions of migrants, mostly from the Greater Middle East and Africa. Kerry warned: “Europe’s already crushed under this transformation that’s taken place because of immigration. Germany — Angela Merkel, weakened because of it. And other places impacted, Italy — significantly impacted its politics by immigration.”
The criticism Clinton faced from the left over her practical, commonsensical analysis says a lot about where Democrats stand on immigration — legal and illegal. Much of the Democratic base ignores this issue, is indifferent about it or has done a cost-benefit analysis and believes that immigrants-turned-citizens-turned-mostly-Democrat-voters outweigh the financial, social or political price.
Larry Elder is a nationally syndicated radio talk-show host.