The more fevered the left's rhetoric against Donald Trump, the likelier it is that that rhetoric is a symptom of the left's own failures and culpability in his rise.
Texas Rep. Filomen Vela, a Democrat, wrote an open letter to Donald Trump criticizing him for his racist rhetoric against Hispanics. Vela, who ends the letter by telling Trump to "take your border wall and shove it up your ass," starts off by agreeing with Trump. He says Trump is right that the U.S. government has "largely failed our veterans," as well as on specific issues of immigration. Vela, who represents a border district, said he believed that "the Mexican government and our own State Department must be much more aggressive in addressing cartel violence and corruption in Mexico, especially in the Mexican border state of Tamaulipas."
"And clearly, criminal felons who are here illegally should be immediately deported," Vela added. "There might even be a few other things on which we can agree."
Vela attacks Trump's rhetoric but has supported the policies out of which that rhetoric springs. His opposition to border fences isn't rooted in support of open borders. Instead, he argues border fences aren't effective at stemming the flow of illegal immigration. Instead, he says only "high-paying jobs" can "stem the flow immigration."
In fact, Vela resigned from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus over this, and specifically their support for the 2013 compromise Senate bill on immigration. That compromise bill was torpedoed by anti-immigration Republicans in the House, but as Vela's opposition to the same bill shows, they weren't the only ones. "Only by helping our Mexican partner with resources to fight drug cartels and fostering border trade will we stem the tide of illegal immigration," Vela insisted at the time.
This kind of position buys into the once popular and still existent sentiment on the left (shared with anti-immigration conservatives) that immigrants are somehow "stealing" jobs by emigrating to America for better opportunities and more freedom. Vela is also a proponent of the drug war. In addition to his fixation on drug cartels in the immigration issue, last year he voted against an amendment, which failed by a 16 vote margin, which would bar federal interference with states that have legalized marijuana.
Democrats have been poor on immigration under the Obama administration and before it. Bernie Sanders, a Democratic presidential candidate and independent Vermont senator that caucuses with Democrats, is still proud of joining other Democrats in torpedoing the 2007 immigration reform effort.
He voted against the bill, he said at a town hall meeting on immigration in California, "because the AFL-CIO, the largest trade union in America representing over 12 million workers, said that it was 'far from the kind of comprehensive immigration reform that would improve the status quo for either U.S.-born or immigrant workers or their families' and was 'likely to make matters much worse."
Barack Obama opposed that bill, which would have offered a pathway to citizenship for immigrants in the country illegally, because of its guest worker program and the merit-based green card system. As president, Obama has proposed merit-based systems for immigration, looking for the world's "best and brightest."
The 2007 bill would've normalized immigrants in the country illegally—given undocumented immigrants documents—but was scuttled over partisan concerns. Rhetoric about how important immigration is today as a human rights issue is empty given Democrats history then and their lack of an effort in 2009 and 2010 to pass any kind of immigration reform when they controlled both houses of Congress and the White House. Instead, President Obama waited until his second term, acting largely unilaterally and contributing to the precedence of the imperial presidency that makes the authoritarian Trump (and Clinton for that matter) such a dangerous candidate.
Read Vela's whole letter here.