The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

Opinion | Immigration bill shows cracks in the Democratic Party machine

Photo courtesy of Flickr

On Wednesday, the Senate voted on a “bipartisan” $118 billion bill that would have heavily bolstered border security and provided wartime aid to Ukraine and Israel. However, the Republican opposition shot down the bill, putting in view the long and unaddressed issues with the Democratic Party’s method of politics and policies.

Congress began working on the bill to address Republican concerns with border security after the GOP insisted on border policy changes as a condition for voting to send wartime aid to Ukraine and Israel. After months of deliberation, the bill was released, and the contents of its 370 pages were pure Republican border policy.

The policies included in the bill violated the Refugee Convention by sealing the border to asylum seekers if the border reached certain quotas of people processed, forcing those that need protection back in harm’s way. Additionally, it would’ve increased U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s detention and deportation budget and created a newly heightened standard to qualify for asylum, including not having access to review by an immigration judge. 

Nevertheless, Republicans opposed the bill as they thought it didn’t go far enough, despite how favorable it was to their policy beliefs. Oddly, this left the Democrats in Congress to be the sole supporters of an anti-immigration bill. 

The reasoning behind the GOP’s defection from what would normally be an obvious win for them was the will of Donald Trump. Using his political power, Trump influenced the vote as he thought that the bill would be beneficial to President Biden in the general election, making him appear tough on immigration. 

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Regardless, the Democrats stood strong in their support of this bill, but why?

The primary goal of the Democratic Party right now is to win the presidential election. In pursuit of this, they believe that they need to outflank Republicans on border security. This is mainly due to the media coverage of the border following the expiration of Title 42, a COVID-era immigration policy, which has led many voters to believe that there is a crisis occurring on the southern border. 

For years, voters have associated anti-immigration policies with the Republican Party. Despite 68% of Americans saying immigration is good for the country today, according to a Gallup poll, close to half or more say immigrants make drugs, crime and taxes worse. This fact undoubtedly makes the Democratic Party fearful of losing to the GOP, so, out of desperation, they conceded to essentially everything the Republicans wanted in this bill. 

This maneuver truly shows the flaws within the Democratic Party’s political strategy.

The Democratic Party saw the passage of this bill as a winning scenario for them as it would allow President Biden to appear tough on immigration while supporting our international allies in times of war and giving voters the sense that the GOP and DNC are capable of bipartisanship. 

However, the strategy of adopting right-wing policies is not a winning one.

The Democratic Party believes that by outflanking the GOP it will make President Biden appear favorable to more voters. In reality, what this does is make the Democratic voter base believe that Republican talking points have validity, shifting the party to the right. 

Additionally, capitulating to the demands of the Republicans and pushing out this right-wing bill, to not even be able to pass it, is truly humiliating for the Democratic Party and shows the clear stranglehold that the GOP has on the party. 

Instead, the Democratic Party needs to countermessage these Republican talking points while standing united behind the policies that uphold the morals of the party.

Bipartisanship is truly dead in American politics, and President Biden and the rest of the Democrats in Congress need to realize it. If the DNC does not adopt a new and stronger political strategy, then democracy will truly be in danger come November.


Grayson is a freshman in LAS.

[email protected]

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