When bipartisan immigration discussions pop up, Democrats often insist it’s hard to find a solution because of the GOP’s immigration evolution. The days of Ronald Reagan endorsing an amnesty program and denouncing walls are long gone, replaced by President Trump’s talk of “rapists” and quest for a wall.
But the reality is that Democrats have moved, too, from when the party cited the flow of drugs and “criminal immigrants” two decades ago, the same arguments for border security that Republicans use now. The facts on the ground have changed since then, but so have political forces.
The makeup of the Democratic Party has changed, and its base has adopted a fundamentally more progressive attitude on immigration in a relatively short time span, which poses a challenge for party leaders.