During his presidential campaign, Donald Trump promised to build a wall and secure our southern border, and that pledge helped propel him to a convincing victory over accomplished Republican primary opponents and Democrat Hillary Clinton in the general election.
Yet Democrats – even many with a long history of voting for border security and wall funding – have stood uniformly opposed to even the most modest efforts to secure the border. With the publicity recent immigrant caravans have received, the success or failure of the caravans will send a message both to erstwhile immigrants and to opportunistic criminals around the globe.
How will Democratic members of Congress respond? Voters must ask them. Democrats claim they support a secure border. Here are seven questions every Democrat in Congress should be willing to answer.
What specific pieces of immigration legislation have you introduced that could pass Congress?
While Democrats give lip service to the notion of immigration reform, in my experience they don’t actually do anything. I served on the House Judiciary Committee, which handles all immigration bills, the last time current House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., was speaker of the House. Do you know how many immigration bills came before the committee during that two-year period? Zero.
Do you oppose the concept of a border wall?
Democratic objections to funding President Trump’s wall are that it costs too much and it doesn’t work. If that’s the case, do they believe we should tear down the existing wall? Why or why not?
While Democrats give lip service to the notion of immigration reform, in my experience they don’t actually do anything.
Do you believe America should stop policing our borders?
Many Democrats say they want to do away with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency. What does that really mean? Should there be any enforcement of immigration laws?
If someone comes here illegally and does not meet the standards for asylum, would you detain and deport these people?
Specifically, ask them if they are willing to commit to fund beds to hold these people. The dirty little trick they think you don’t know is that they can reduce the number of beds they fund so we don’t have a way to detain people. If the beds are full and someone gets arrested, that person will be released. Will your member of Congress fund sufficient facilities to detain criminals who are here illegally?
How many people do you think should be legally allowed into the U.S. each year?
Make them give you a number. Because without a wall and without ICE, that number would be astronomical. Does your member of Congress believe there should be any kind of limit on immigration? By the way, we already legally bring in roughly 1 million people per year.
Should illegal immigrants be granted full access to the American welfare state?
If your member of Congress believes in sanctuary cities, he or she needs to be made to answer how to pay for the huge costs.
How much should taxes be raised to pay for every illegal immigrant to access the American welfare state?
If your member is like many in the Democratic caucus, the answer to any question about how to pay for something is to raise taxes. Do Democrats know how much it will cost? How much are they willing to raise your taxes to pay for it?
No doubt the failure of Republicans in Congress to secure funding for border security was a serious betrayal of the American people. But during the midterm election campaign, Democrats didn’t even pretend to be conscious of the threat a porous border might pose – preferring to assume that criminals, terrorists and would-be freeloaders would never think of blending in with honest and hardworking families looking for a better life.
With the midterms now behind us, it’s time for Democrats to stop campaigning and start governing. Only when constituents demand answers will Democrats be forced to face the stark contrast between the realities of immigration policy and the idealism of their irresponsible campaign rhetoric.