Ah, I’d forgotten about this clip. Mediaite reminded me by digging it up this morning as evidence of Democratic hypocrisy about DREAMers at the highest levels. There’s really no reason to stop at 2014 in Hillary’s case, though. Back in 2003, she told an interviewer, “I am adamantly against illegal immigrants.” Thirteen years later, hoping to make Latinos a linchpin of her presidential victory, she supported open borders as strongly as a prominent liberal could, assuring Jorge Ramos at one point that essentially all adult illegals would be safe from deportation under her administration as long as they lacked a criminal record. In 2015, when her long slog to electoral defeat was just beginning, she vowed to build on Obama’s DACA and DAPA amnesties by granting legal status to parents of DREAMers — which amounted in practice to legalizing any adult illegal who happened to have brought a child with them when they crossed the border years ago. Her “evolution” on this issue mirrors her “evolution” on gay marriage, racing to catch up with leftist orthodoxy and then embracing it noisily once she’s arrived.
This clip isn’t quite what Mediaite presents it as, though. She’s talking here about the migrant crisis in 2014, when parents in Central America sent their kids north, frequently unaccompanied, to cross the U.S. border. They were *recent* arrivals, often intercepted by Border Patrol and sent to detention facilities immediately upon entering the U.S. The case for legalizing DREAMers rests on the fact that they’re not recent — they’re fully (or mostly) assimilated into American culture, sometimes not even speaking the language of their country of birth fluently. Reportedly even Steve Bannon drew a distinction between DREAMers and other illegals during his time in the White House:
“Trump was never in favor of repealing DACA,” said a source close to the president, who also said that keeping the program is in line with the immigration stance of Bannon, whose counsel Trump closely heeds. Bannon’s economic nationalist view is very much rooted in culture, and so eliminating DACA wouldn’t be a priority for him because “these kids have been here and they’re going to schools here,” the source said. “They’re Americans. They understand the culture.”
So no, in an important way, DREAMers and the 2014 kids aren’t similarly situated. The question for open-borders fans is how long recent arrivals should need to reside in the United States before it becomes “cruel” to uproot them too. It’d be easy to scold Mediaite for an apples-and-oranges comparison if the entirety of modern Democratic thinking on immigration didn’t point towards legalizing every last non-criminal who makes it into the United States, particularly if they’re minors. No government should be in the business of deporting children, Ramos sternly intoned during the summer of 2014. Plenty of liberals agreed, although Hillary, forever calculating her electoral odds, was willing to draw the line that year at letting recent arrivals stay because she knew that might be a bridge too far for swing voters. It’d be easier to congratulate her for imposing a limiting principle on illegal immigration if the intelligentsia in her party agreed that there should be any kind of limiting principle at all. When push comes to shove, they don’t.