Moral outrage is muddling the Democrats' immigration debate

The 2020 candidates' inability to have an honest conversation about immigration could be their downfall

Joe Biden.
(Image credit: Illustrated | Justin Sullivan/Getty Images, SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images, ALFREDO ESTRELLA/AFP/Getty Images, -slav-/iStock, str33tcat/iStock)

Will the Democrats finally have a real debate about immigration this week? Or has the moral outrage surrounding the topic made it too dangerous to discuss in any meaningful way?

When it comes to immigration, there is an apparent disconnect between the increasingly left-wing posture of the party, as represented by its presidential aspirants, and the views of the voting public. In the first Democratic debate, Julian Castro laid down a marker in calling for the decriminalization of unauthorized entry, while all 10 participants in the second debate raised their hands to endorse providing health insurance to unauthorized immigrants at public expense (something ObamaCare pointedly did not provide for). Since then, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), the frequent policy pace-setter, put forth an immigration plan consisting entirely of liberalizing elements, including decriminalization of unauthorized entry and a substantially more generous approach to asylum. Other candidates, like Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), have followed suit with plans of their own to virtually eliminate detention for immigration violations, and more generally to liberalize our immigration regime.

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