Donald Trump’s roundup of undocumented immigrants is cruel and racist in its execution. His plan to build a wall along the Mexican border would be a massive waste of at least 14 billion taxpayer dollars.
But that doesn’t give Democrats a free pass to fudge on the issue of illegal immigration. They need to say, “We support a generous immigration program, but people without the proper papers cannot come here and take jobs.”
Such a policy would not turn this country into a xenophobic police state. It would make the U.S. more like Canada and Australia, two pleasant democracies that take in large numbers of newcomers but don’t tolerate illegal immigration.
Democrats don’t say they’re for illegal immigration. But many finesse the subject by instead expressing support for comprehensive immigration reform. As policy, that’s a sensible stance: Legalize most of the undocumented immigrants while ensuring enforcement of the law going forward.
But “comprehensive reform” is too indirect a term. Democrats must say outright that illegal immigration is not OK. It’s a problem.