Karen Tumulty attended a meeting of the League of United Latin American Citizens last week and came away with a warning: the Latino community is not obsessed with border issues to the exclusion of everything else.
More unexpected was an undercurrent of unease here that the Democratic Party, in its revulsion over Trump’s harsh policies and obnoxious rhetoric, is positioning itself too far to the left on immigration….Despite expectations that Latinos will be a crucial constituency in 2020, LULAC President Domingo Garcia told me that he thinks Democratic candidates made a mistake at a recent presidential debate. All 10 candidates who were onstage for the second night of debate raised their hands to show they would support providing government health coverage to people who are in the country illegally. Most of the others who are running have also said they would support that idea.
Given the fact that many U.S. citizens — a disproportionate number of them Hispanic — still lack coverage, “that was not a good general-election position to begin with, and it does not win them many votes in the Latino community,” Garcia said….Now, Garcia said, he worries that both parties are “pandering to their extremes.”
At last month’s debate, the Democratic candidates seemed to be in mortal fear that José Diaz-Balart would stare them down and cost them the election if they said anything that suggested even a slight dedication to enforcing immigration laws at the border. There were, obviously, other border issues that dominated the evening, and if you support national health care—as most Dems do—coverage for every resident comes with the territory. If you’re a US citizen traveling in London, the NHS will still treat your heart attack if you keel over waiting for the queen to pass by.
Still, there’s nothing hard about blasting Trump’s depredations on the border but still maintaining a moderate position on what our immigration laws should look like. I don’t think anyone has found that sweet spot yet.