The controversy over last week’s fatal shooting of a young woman in San Francisco by an illegal alien has re-ignited the debate over sanctuary city policies that harbor aliens and the issue of immigration more broadly.
That the perpetrator was later revealed to have been deported multiple times is serving as validation of Donald Trump’s public criticism of progressive immigration policies.
Similar instances of criminal behavior from deportees has the hot-button issue back on the front burner of political debate, which will likely ensure the issue is included among upcoming presidential debate questions.
Whether the lack of border security will hit Democrats the hardest, however, remains to be seen. Since the defeat in 2012 in which GOP candidates lost heavily among Hispanic voters, Republican contenders may play coy in hopes they won’t be portrayed as anti-immigrant.
That strategy may be a difficult play for the top GOP contenders given Trump’s outspokenness on the influx of “rapists and killers” across the U.S.-Mexico border. His comments have already started a debate among conservative pundits.
Rich Lowry, writing in Politico, said, “For all its crassness, Trump’s rant on immigration is closer to reality than the gauzy clichés of the immigration romantics unwilling to acknowledge that there might be an issue welcoming large numbers of high school dropouts into a 21st-century economy.”
In National Review, Linda Chavez responded that Lowry’s statistics were misrepresenting Mexican immigrants; that when they are compared apples to apples they are less likely to go on welfare rolls and stay on them for a short time, are net contributors to Social Security, not takers, and “trying to link Mexicans to increased crime certainly doesn’t comport with the facts,” as studies have shown the opposite.”
Republicans appear much more divided on this issue than Democrats, who are in almost lock-step. Trump’s crude comments, while pushing this issue back to the forefront, may ultimately divide the more intransigent border hawks from the rest of the Right.
Whether this latest edition of the debate will result in any productive reform remains to be seen.