Sat. Jul 13th, 2024

Progressives are uneasy with Democrats tilting right on immigration after N.Y. race

By 37ci3 Feb18,2024



WASHINGTON — Progressive lawmakers and immigration advocates are pushing back against Democrats, who are drawing lessons from a narrow victory in the last election. bellwether New York district is to actively advocate for stricter migration and border laws.

“I don’t think it’s a lesson at all,” Progressive Caucus Whip Greg Kasar, D-Texas, said in an interview a day after Rep. Tom Suozzi, D-N.Y., won a competitive election. Tuesday.

“For the Democratic Party, long term, we need to get back to the idea that immigration is a good thing with the American people,” Casar said. “Regardless of a short-term victory in any district, if we don’t go back to saying immigration is good … we’re always going to be on the back foot and on the defensive on this issue. Because our fields are Republic Light and [theirs] were Republicans on immigration, I don’t think we’ll ever win the fight in the medium or long term.

Suozzi district won Claiming that Democrats want to tighten asylum laws, the GOP is just playing political games, including challenger Mazi Philip, who claimed the GOP won by 8 points in 2022 after going on the felony on border security.

One memo hours laterSen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., said Democrats should “attack” as Suozzi Murphy did on the bipartisan deal, and Republicans refused, said it was “riddled with tough, conservative politics, including the President’s ability to close parts of the border to asylum claims when the system collapses.” The White House said voters “devastatingly rejected Republicans in Congress” for killing the “toughest, fairest border security legislation in decades.”

Ezra Levin, executive director of the progressive advocacy group Indivisible, said Murphy and other Democrats learned the wrong lesson from Suozzi’s victory.

“All of Suozzi’s wins on ‘immigration’ combine two different dynamics.” Suozzi didn’t win because he moved to the right on immigration,” Levin said. “His focus on immigration helped because it highlighted the Republicans’ chaos, political theater, and complete lack of interest in serious governance — all on the receipt that they chose to keep their border bill.”

Levin said Suozzi’s victory was driven by issues such as abortion and threats to democracy, as well as voters’ lack of confidence in the GOP’s ability to govern, which he said was evidenced by the border standoff.

In his campaign, Suozzi has the support of Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Murphy and Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla. He took a two-pronged approach to immigration similar to the language used by former President Barack Obama in his 2008 and 2012 campaigns — emphasizing enforcement and border security first and advocating for new legal ways for migrants to enter the United States and become Americans.

“The lesson from Souzzi’s election is that he successfully combined messages about border security with citizenship. He took a balanced approach that appealed to most voters,” said Carrie Talbot, executive director of the advocacy group the Immigration Center.

‘Invasion’

During the 2016 election, as then-candidate Donald Trump focused his campaign on immigration, Democrats began to lean to the left on immigration messaging, emphasizing a humane approach and pathways to citizenship, while emphasizing strict enforcement. Biden continued this approach in 2020. Now, Democrats are adapting their message to the ire of some progressives and immigration activists who prefer a more inclusive rhetoric.

On the eve of the New York contest, Philip called the influx of migrants to the US border an “invasion”, echoing the language used by Trump. Suozzi said that he did not care about the issue With that.

“I don’t see a problem with the language or the imagery,” Suozzi told reporters a week before the election. “People crossing our border in a chaotic, unchecked manner is a very serious problem.”

While firing back during the contest, some Democrats were upset with Suozzi for his comments.

“I don’t agree with him on that — the use of that language,” said D.N.Y.’s progressive Rep. Jamaal Bowman.

Bowman added that while “every district is different” and members need to communicate with their constituents differently, he doesn’t accept the term to describe asylum seekers.

“I would never use that word,” Bowman said.

Rep. Veronica Escobar, D-Texas, also took issue with the language.

“I strongly disagree with dangerous rhetoric that has dire consequences,” he said. “I know Tom Suozzi. He’s a great guy. He has strong Democratic values. I look forward to talking to him about it.”

Escobar, who represents the blue El Paso district, said the lesson from New York is not that Democrats win by being tough on immigrants. He said Democrats had to win by proving they were serious about tackling the “big issues.”

“I think we can secure the border in a way that doesn’t compromise our values,” Escobar said.

Still, Suozzi’s victory in a bellwether district that was won by Biden in 2020 and went Republican in 2022, covering a small slice of Queens and a large slice of Long Island, has led most Democrats to see the glass as half full.

“There was a civil war within the party. You have progressive members versus moderate and more conservative members,” Bowman said. “Moreso moderates after us, I’d say. But I think yesterday’s victory is all about unity.”



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