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How the Democrats Lost Their Way on Immigration

Article subtitle: 
In the past decade, liberals have avoided inconvenient truths about the issue
Article author: 
Peter Beinart
Article publisher: 
Atlantic
Article date: 
June 22, 2017
Article category: 
Immigration Impact
Medium
Article Body: 

... If the right has grown more nationalistic, the left has grown less so. A decade ago, liberals publicly questioned immigration in ways that would shock many progressives today...

Prominent liberals didn’t oppose immigration a decade ago. Most acknowledged its benefits to America’s economy and culture. They supported a path to citizenship for the undocumented [illegal aliens]. Still, they routinely asserted that low-skilled immigrants depressed the wages of low-skilled American workers and strained America’s welfare state...

In 2008, the Democratic platform called undocumented immigrants “our neighbors.” But it also warned, “We cannot continue to allow people to enter the United States undetected, undocumented, and unchecked,”...

There are several explanations for liberals’ shift. The first is that they have changed because the reality on the ground has changed, particularly as regards illegal immigration...

A larger explanation is political. Between 2008 and 2016, Democrats became more and more confident that the country’s growing Latino population gave the party an electoral edge. To win the presidency, Democrats convinced themselves, they didn’t need to reassure white people skeptical of immigration so long as they turned out their Latino base...

Alongside pressure from pro-immigrant activists came pressure from corporate America, especially the Democrat-aligned tech industry, which uses the H-1B visa program to import workers...