Here in America, we have what essentially amounts to no immigration system. As the migrant caravans are illustrating for us every so often, we effectively have no border. Our original immigration policies have been cut up worse than a poorly carved jack-o-lantern. President Trump and a few Republicans have taken up this issue as a significant tentpole in their campaigns while being accused of racism by the very same people that have sponsored the same immigration standards over the years. It wasn’t always this way though, as neither side can claim to be serious, long-term, on the immigration issue. This issue is particularly strange for me because I used to be a Democrat. And the Democrat party I remember at least acted like they were serious about immigration enforcement. From my memory, it was always the Republicans who were causing the problems on the border, in their quest for cheap labor and corporate profits. As a matter of fact, one can watch Bill Clinton speeches in the 90’s that sound suspiciously close to Donald Trump immigration policies. Over time, the two parties have morphed and twisted on immigration policy like some sort of eldritch abomination out of a Lovecraft story. Let’s take a look at how each party screwed up our immigration system going all the way back to 1965.
The genesis for our immigration issues began in 1968 with the implementation of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965. This bill completely shifted the way we handled immigration and is mainly responsible for the issues we have now. Democrats overwhelmingly championed this bill, but also managed to pull in decent Republican support as well. Both Lyndon Johnson and John F. Kennedy were supportive of these policies, so you can mostly thank 1960’s era Democrats for foisting massive change into our immigration system while they also ran up the tab on social services. I’ve yet to hear any Democrat, from FDR to JFK, to Barack Obama, or to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez explain to me how essentially unlimited immigration and welfare state social services are in any way sustainable. In any case, a significant amount of the blame goes to 60’s era Democrats, but make no mistake, Republicans are just as guilty, as you are about to learn.
Coming out of the 60’s left-wing radicalism, we got two Republican presidents back to back: Nixon and Ford. These two spoke so little about the issue that I had difficulty even finding a semi-relevant quote in researching this article. In other words, for 20 years, virtually nothing happened on the immigration front. Post Jimmy Carter, we had 12 years straight of Republican presidents from Reagan to Bush Sr.
And what happened?
Massive amnesties and cheap labor.
What they found was that the Act of 1965 was generating massive amounts of illegals. So, in an apparent political effort to court the burgeoning Hispanic vote, Reagan signed off on the second biggest trash heap of an immigration bill, the Immigration act of 1986. Looking back, we know now that amnesties only empower people to come here illegally, in the hope that politicians will court that voting block with a giant amnesty at an indeterminate point in the future. This was also the era where Republicans became the cheap labor and offshoring party. From 1986 to 2015, you will find nearly every relevant Republican congressional member voting for cheap labor, chain migration, and additional visas.
Fast forward to the Clinton years. The parties have nearly 100% flipped on immigration. All of a sudden, it’s the Democrats being the pro-worker party trying to stop the massive influx of illegal immigrants. Reading this information from 1993-2007 is like stepping into the Twilight Zone. Everything is flipped. Guess who voted to transfer 198 million from the Coast Guard to beds for migrant detention facilities? Some hardcore progressive like Barack Obama? Nope, that would be Republican senators Orrin Hatch and John McCain. What about funding a wall and discontinuing chain migration? Donald Trump or Steve King? No, that would be Dianne Feinstein of all people. Make no mistake, every politician had questionable votes on immigration, but during the Clinton years, Democrats at least acted as if it was a critical issue, as evidenced by Clinton himself during the State of the Union. Interestingly, this was also the era that Donald Trump himself identified as a Democrat, as their policies of the era more closely resembled the America First platform he’d eventually run with and win the Presidency.
Then, in 2007, courtesy of Dick Durbin and two Republicans, we get the DREAM Act. Even though it didn’t pass, this act, coupled with the election of Barack Obama signaled the death of the Clinton era Democrat and ushered in a new era of radical 60’s era politics for the left. All of a sudden, the Democrats went from sort of pro-American worker politics and into nearly unlimited altruism mode, doing precisely as Biden once said, “hammering the country with relentless immigration.” Even still though, you could still find democrats voting for “fencing” and border security, and Republicans voting for more cheap labor. When the DREAM Act couldn’t pass, Obama went for it alone and began DACA by executive order.
Now here we are in 2018, Donald Trump is President, and has reshaped Republican politics once again as the parties have continued to play a game of ping-pong over the years with the immigration issue, with neither solving it, and both offering up equally atrocious measures. In reality, none of this really matters. Who is at fault for what vote and when only serves to illustrate how pathetic our politicians have been at actually putting America First. Remember this key point: no American citizen has ever explicitly voted for mass immigration. Ever. These policies were foisted onto the people by politicians seeking either power or wealth. The midterms are coming, and I hope these caravans have made people realize how significant the immigration issue is, and has been for decades. Read my article on The Case for Zero Immigration if you want to understand why we need secure borders, and to end these absurd policies and go back to having a country once again.
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Steve is the author of Forging the Iron Mind, and is the founder and CEO of Americana Prime.