What (Did) Harry Reid and Donald Trump Have in Common?
Twenty-two years ago, Harry Reid sponsored the Immigration Stabilization Act of 1993. In Reid’s own words, “Our borders have overflowed with illegal immigrants placing tremendous burdens on our criminal justice system, schools and social programs. The Immigration and Naturalization Service needs the ability to step up enforcement. Our federal wallet is stretched to the limit by illegal aliens getting welfare, food stamps, medical care and other benefits often without paying any taxes. Safeguards like welfare and free medical care are in place to boost Americans in need of short-term assistance. These programs were not meant to entice freeloaders and scam artists from around the world. Even worse, Americans have seen heinous crimes committed by individuals who are here illegally.”
His last point is particularly interesting given recent events. Last week, illegal immigrant and serial deportee Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez murdered Kate Steinle in San Francisco, a sanctuary city. But Reid eviscerated Donald Trump’s comments last month regarding illegal immigrant behavior, in which he said the majority of unauthorized border crossers are “people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems” to America. According to Reid, that characterization was “distasteful, disgusting.” Trump’s broad generalization is indefensible, but he hit upon an element of truth that has resonated with some grassroots conservatives. An element of truth illuminated by Steinle’s murder, and a concern once shared by Reid. But the mainstream view has shifted on the issue, just as it has with same-sex marriage, which is why Reid — like fellow flip-floppers Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama — will be spared from an uncomfortable spotlight.
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