Democrat Debate, Tuesday’s Episode

The first half of this week’s Democrat doubleheader has come and gone from the late great city of Detroit. CNN and other observers have cast it as a battle between the top-tier hard leftists (Sanders and Warren) and the (relatively speaking) moderates:  Buttigeig, Delaney, Ryan, Bullock, and Hickenlooper.  (Marianne Williamson, as usual, was hovering in the rarefied ether outside all known political spectra.)

Nobody ever “wins” these things, though lots of us are losers.  In spite of the evolution vs revolution spin, there’s not one of these worthies whose ideas a few years back would fit anywhere outside the Third Communist International. Yet this is what we’ve got, and in all likelihood, one of these ten little Indians (or maybe one of tonight’s bunch) will be the Democrat candidate for the Oval Office. For our purposes today, we’ll look briefly at some things that each had to say about immigration.

They were unanimous, of course, on two things: (1) all problems from the beginning of time are Trump’s fault and (2) sure, we need border security (wink, wink) but let’s talk about babies in cages. Otherwise, here are some selective quotes:

BUTTIGIEG: We’ve got a crisis on our hands. And it’s not just a crisis of immigration; it’s a crisis of cruelty and incompetence that has created a humanitarian disaster on our southern border. It is a stain on the United States of America.

O’ROURKE: In my administration, after we have waived citizenship fees for green card holders, more than 9 million of our fellow Americans; freed DREAMers from any fear of deportation; and stopped criminally prosecuting families and children for seeking asylum and refuge; end for-profit detention in this country; and then assist those countries in Central America so that no family ever has to make that 2,000-mile journey, than I expect that people who come here follow our laws, and we reserve the right to criminally prosecute them if they do not.

WARREN: We need to continue to have border security, and we can do that, but what we can’t do is not live our values. I’ve been down to the border. I have seen the mothers. I have seen the cages of babies. We must be a country that every day lives our values. We need to expand legal immigration. We need to create a path for citizenship, not just for Dreamers but for grandmas and for people who have been working here in the farms and for students who have overstayed their visas…

HICKENLOOPER:  Secure the borders, make sure whatever law we have doesn’t allow children to be snatched from their parents and put in cages. How hard can that be? We’ve got 170 years of Washington experience. Somehow it seems like that should be fairly fixable.

KLOBUCHAR: I believe that immigrants don’t diminish America; they are America.

SANDERS: If a mother and a child walk thousands of miles on a dangerous path, in my view, they are not criminals.  What we will do, the first week we are in the White House, is bring the entire hemisphere together to talk about how we rebuild Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador so people do not have to flee their own countries.

BULLOCK: The biggest problem right now that we have with immigration, it’s Donald Trump. He’s using immigration to not only rip apart families, but rip apart this country. We can actually get to the point where we have safe borders, where we have a path to citizenship, where we have opportunities for Dreamers. And you don’t have to decriminalize everything. What you have to do is have a president in there with the judgment and the decency to treat someone that comes to the border like one of our own.

RYAN: We’ve got to get rid of Donald Trump. But you don’t decriminalize people just walking into the United States. If they’re seeking asylum, of course, we want to welcome them. We’re a strong enough country to be able to welcome them.

DELANEY: President Trump wants to build physical walls and beats up on immigrants.

WILLIAMSON: (Did not get the opportunity to weigh in on immigration, but she had some forthright things to say about reparations that our readership may find interesting.) We need some deep truth-telling. . . .  People heal when there’s some deep truth-telling. [T]he economic gap between blacks and whites in America . . . come[s] from a great injustice that has never been dealt with. That great injustice has had to do with the fact that there was 250 years of slavery followed by another hundred years of domestic terrorism.  I believe that anything less than $100 billion is an insult. I believe that $200 billion to $500 billion is politically feasible today, because so many Americans realize there is an injustice that continues to form a toxicity underneath the surface, an emotional turbulence that only reparations will heal.

There you have it. We’ll try to do the same tomorrow after the doubleheader’s second half tonight.

For a transcript of the debate, see the Washington Post.

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