Immigration

Democrats’ Border-Barrier Flip-Flop

Nancy Pelosi (D, Calif.) during a briefing on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., December 13, 2018. (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)
The Democrats were for it before they were against it.

Is steel more moral than concrete?

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California said last week that she and other Democrats consider a border wall “immoral.” But some of the same Democrats who decry President Donald J. Trump’s proposed concrete wall as a 30-foot-tall human-rights violation actually approved 700 miles of steel barriers under the Secure Fence Act of 2006 (SFA).

Give Pelosi this: She is consistent. She voted against SFA. Maybe, deep down, she wants an America without borders. Perhaps she also has removed the front and back doors of her five homes, the better to welcome everyone. It’s tough to question the hospitality of the woman who said last spring that each member of MS-13 — the barbaric, pro-decapitation street gang — twinkles with “a spark of divinity.”

Meanwhile, these current, former, and then-ascendant Senate Democrats all voted for SFA, which President George W. Bush signed into law. On September 26, 2006, the Senate passed SFA 80–19, with 26 Democrats voting Yea. Among them:

  • Joseph Biden of Delaware (“I voted for the fence related to drugs,” he explained in a 2007 debate. “A fence will stop 20 kilos of cocaine coming through that fence.”)
  • Sherrod Brown of Ohio (while still in the House, Brown voted Yea that September 14.)
  • Tom Carper of Delaware
  • Hillary Clinton of New York (the Halloween after voting for SFA, she told the Council on Foreign Relations that America should “secure our borders with technology, personnel, physical barriers if necessary in some places.”)
  • Dianne Feinstein of California (“Democrats are solidly behind controlling the border, and we support the border fence,” she told the Los Angeles Daily News. “We’ve got to get tough on the border. There’s no question the border is a sieve.”)
  • Bill Nelson of Florida (freshly defeated by Republican Rick Scott)
  • Barack Obama of Illinois (“The bill before us certainly will do some good,” Obama argued on the Senate floor. “It will authorize badly needed funding for better fences and better security along our borders, and that should help stem some of the tide of illegal immigration in this country.” He added that SFA would stymie “immigrants sneaking in through unguarded holes in our border. . .”)
  • Chuck Schumer of New York
  • Debbie Stabenow of Michigan
  • Ron Wyden of Oregon

Illegal aliens from the so-called caravan lately have been caught on camera burrowing under and vaulting over the steel fence. One of these barricade climbers, Honduran Maryury Elizabeth Serrano-Hernandez, 19, soon went into labor and delivered an American-citizen anchor baby in a San Diego hospital on November 27. Border Patrol officers told Fox News that the mother, the father (age 20), their newborn son, and another boy (age 2) all were “placed into immigration proceedings and released on their own recognizance on December 2.” Let’s see if they eventually attend their asylum hearing or simply dissolve into the American landscape.

These young Hondurans were just a few of the 51,856 illegal aliens whom the Border Patrol apprehended on the southern frontier last month. In fiscal year 2018, that figure was 396,579.

Most of these criminals (who break the law simply by entering without U.S. visas) hail from unthreatening nations. But others come from “countries of interest,” so designated by Obama (not Trump) in 2010, due to their state sponsorship of or susceptibility to militant Islam. Travelers who reach U.S. ports of entry after visiting or traversing countries of interest are subject to additional scrutiny by federal officials. Of course, if these foreign subjects successfully dodge American authorities by breaching the border, no such scrutiny applies.

Here are Homeland Security’s latest figures for fiscal year 2016’s apprehensions of illegal aliens from these garden spots:

  • Afghanistan — 84
  • Algeria — 38
  • Cuba — 3,061
  • Iran — 111
  • Iraq — 156
  • Lebanon — 58
  • Libya — 16
  • Nigeria — 253
  • Pakistan — 522
  • Saudi Arabia — 189
  • Somalia — 164
  • Sudan — 86
  • Syria — 44
  • Yemen — 35

Remember: Federal officials nabbed the individuals counted above. Not included in these data: Those who slipped into America and have skirted the authorities. Where are they? Your guess is as good as any.

Given the inadequacy of today’s steel barrier, it is more vital than ever to erect a solid concrete wall to shield America from those who ceaselessly break into our country with neither permission nor papers. On this matter, today’s Democrats should heed their former selves.

Deroy Murdock is a Manhattan-based Fox News contributor and a contributing editor of National Review Online, and a senior fellow with the London Center for Policy Research.

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