It’s hard to believe nowadays, but the modern immigration reform movement, which promotes limited immigration and strong enforcement of immigration laws, was once closely associated with the center-left in the United States. Liberal icons from the not-too-distant past such as Senators Gaylord Nelson and Eugene McCarthy were among those who championed limited immigration because such policies were (and remain) consistent with their liberal values.
That Democratic Party is now extinct. Concern about the impact of mass immigration – legal and illegal – on working people, education, social services, the environment, and social cohesion is not just taboo in the modern Democratic Party, it is a crime against the doctrine of intersectionality.
But like many extinct species, some of the Democratic Party’s center-left DNA has survived. In an almost Jurassic Park-like experience, readers of T.A. Frank’s latest column in the uber-elitist Vanity Fair can imagine themselves in a world where Democrats still fight for better jobs for working Americans; where less money is spent on bilingual education and more is spent on providing all kids with skills they will need to succeed in the 21st century; where local governments would not “pay millions for interpreting services in their courtrooms” but instead have “funding freed up for hiring more public defenders or creating more parks”; and a nation in which “Americans would be as diverse as ever in appearance and background but more closely knit to their communities, linked by memory and more history that was shared.”
Who knows? Maybe dinosaurs will again roam the earth. It’s also possible that Democrats will again favor limiting immigration to preserve liberal values. The former would be scary, but the latter would be nice.