Where’s the Sweet Spot on the Border?

NBC News

Karen Tumulty attended a meeting of the League of United Latin American Citizens last week and came away with a warning: the Latino community is not obsessed with border issues to the exclusion of everything else.

More unexpected was an undercurrent of unease here that the Democratic Party, in its revulsion over Trump’s harsh policies and obnoxious rhetoric, is positioning itself too far to the left on immigration….Despite expectations that Latinos will be a crucial constituency in 2020, LULAC President Domingo Garcia told me that he thinks Democratic candidates made a mistake at a recent presidential debate. All 10 candidates who were onstage for the second night of debate raised their hands to show they would support providing government health coverage to people who are in the country illegally. Most of the others who are running have also said they would support that idea.

Given the fact that many U.S. citizens — a disproportionate number of them Hispanic — still lack coverage, “that was not a good general-election position to begin with, and it does not win them many votes in the Latino community,” Garcia said….Now, Garcia said, he worries that both parties are “pandering to their extremes.”

At last month’s debate, the Democratic candidates seemed to be in mortal fear that José Diaz-Balart would stare them down and cost them the election if they said anything that suggested even a slight dedication to enforcing immigration laws at the border. There were, obviously, other border issues that dominated the evening, and if you support national health care—as most Dems do—coverage for every resident comes with the territory. If you’re a US citizen traveling in London, the NHS will still treat your heart attack if you keel over waiting for the queen to pass by.

Still, there’s nothing hard about blasting Trump’s depredations on the border but still maintaining a moderate position on what our immigration laws should look like. I don’t think anyone has found that sweet spot yet.

$500,000 MATCHING GIFT

In 2014, before Donald Trump announced his run for president, we knew we had to do something different to address the fundamental challenge facing journalism: how hard-hitting reporting that can hold the powerful accountable can survive as the bottom falls out of the news business.

Being a nonprofit, we started planning The Moment for Mother Jones: A special campaign to raise $25 million for key investments to make Mother Jones the strongest watchdog it can be. Five years later, readers have stepped up and contributed an astonishing $23 million in gifts and future pledges. This is an incredible statement from the Mother Jones community in the face of the huge threats—both economic and political—against the free press.

Read more about The Moment and see what we've been able to accomplish thanks to readers' incredible generosity so far, and please join them today. Your gift will be matched dollar for dollar, up to $500,000 total, during this critical moment for journalism.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.