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The Democrats’ Dangerous Immigration Game

A thoughtful analysis by Bill Scher at RealClear Politics:


When immigration reform was debated during the Obama presidency, such liberal reforms polled well. For example, a 2014 NBC/Wall Street Journal poll found that 74% either “strongly” or “somewhat” favored a pathway to citizenship for the undocumented who paid fines and back taxes. And a 2013 ABC/Washington Post poll showed that 58% of registered voters supported more visas for high-skilled workers, while 52% opposed cutting the number of visas for family members of legal immigrants. Those numbers may not indicate overwhelming support, but they are far better than the numbers for providing health insurance for the undocumented.

More importantly, if a Democratic president succeeds in enacting comprehensive immigration reform, then the undocumented population would be greatly diminished and there would be little impetus to even discuss health coverage for the undocumented and the decriminalization of border crossings.

Democrats have no reason to take their eye off the prize of comprehensive immigration reform, only to barrel into hot-button debates on narrow side issues where they hold a weak hand. They may get away with it, because Trump’s actions on immigration have repulsed so many Americans. But it’s a risk Democrats did not have to take.