The first month of 2018 has witnessed two major battles that may appear unrelated, but are in fact manifestations of the same surprising development – a significant number of leaders in the Democratic Party no longer see it as their duty to put American citizens first.
First, we have the budget battle over the continuing resolution to fund the federal government. Virtually all of the Democrats in both houses of Congress have decided that it is worth shutting down the federal government if Republicans do not agree to an amnesty for the approximately 800,000 DACA illegal aliens.
Think about that for a moment. More than 300 million American citizens benefit from the continuing operation of the federal government – most importantly through the funding of our armed forces. But virtually no American citizens benefit from granting legal status and work authorization to nearly a million illegal aliens. That allows the DACA aliens to compete against United States citizens in the same age group who are having great difficulty finding good, well-paid jobs.
As I have written previously, the DACA aliens are not kids; they are mostly young adults in their 20s and 30s competing for jobs against young Americans. Despite the growing economy, young American adults are struggling in the workforce, with an unemployment rate of nine percent. And young Americans without a college degree (66 percent of them) are suffering an underemployment rate (unemployed or seeking full time work) that stands at a whopping 34 percent.
If one party or the other threatened a government shutdown in order to protect the interests of American citizens, that would be one thing. But shutting down the government to protect the interests of aliens who have broken our laws is something entirely different. And doing so to force a policy that hurts American citizens is unconscionable.
The second battle that illustrates this same disturbing disregard for American citizens is the sanctuary cities fight. The sanctuary cities that shelter illegal aliens from federal law enforcement are virtually all Democrat Party strongholds. And the sanctuary state of California is firmly under Democratic control. Now the defense of sanctuary policies has become a rallying cry for the Democratic Party.
But here too, Democrats are putting Americans last. By interfering with federal efforts to deport illegal aliens, sanctuary jurisdictions hurt American citizens. They endanger Americans’ lives by keeping criminal illegal aliens on the streets of American cities.
The Kate Steinle murder in San Francisco was just one of thousands of cases of Americans who lost their lives because of sanctuary policies. Sanctuary policies also endanger our constitutional system. Sanctuary policies violate the federal law found at 8 U.S.C. 1373(a); and 8 U.S.C. 1324(a)(1)(A)(iv) makes it a federal crime to “encourage or induce” an illegal alien to remain in the country. When cities and states openly defy federal law, it threatens our constitutional system in the same manner that the defiant states did during the Jim Crow era.
So we have two national battles occurring simultaneously. And in both battles, Democratic leaders are putting the interests of illegal aliens over the interests of American citizens.
The first duty of government is to protect its own citizens. It’s so obvious that it seems silly to even have to say it. But the leaders of the Democratic Party have apparently forgotten that basic principle.
If they continue on this course, Democratic leaders will do damage not only to the country, but to their own party. A party’s leadership can get away with a lot of nonsense in Washington, D.C., but some things cross the line. If they continue on this course for much longer, there will likely be millions of Democrats across the country who no longer recognize their own party. They still rightly expect their government to put the interests of American citizens first.
Kris W. Kobach is the elected secretary of state of Kansas. An expert in immigration law and policy, he coauthored the Arizona SB-1070 immigration law and represented in federal court the 10 ICE agents who sued to stop Obama’s 2012 DACA amnesty. During 2001-03, he was Attorney General Ashcroft’s chief adviser on immigration law at the Department of Justice. He is also a 2018 candidate for the office of governor of Kansas. His website is kriskobach.com.