Paying Illegal Immigrants Puts America Last

“Put your own mask on before assisting others.” Flight attendants repeat this wise instruction before every airline flight because, in an emergency situation, an incapacitated passenger cannot help anyone else and, in fact, becomes another person in need. In the current economic and health emergency, Democrats ignore this mandate and instead seek to exploit the crisis as an opportunity to fulfill long-held leftist policy aims like diminishing citizenship and destroying the efficacy of borders. By leveraging a time of pain for so many Americans, these demagogues prove that they put America last.

Two recent actions best showcase this agenda. First, in the mammoth $3 trillion boondoggle that Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats passed last week, taxpayer handouts of up to $1,200 would flow to illegal migrants. Thankfully, her 1,815-page legislative monstrosity will never become law, but Pelosi’s home state took more immediate action, dispensing tens of millions of California taxpayer dollars to illegal immigrants, with direct cash payments to over 100,000 trespassers.

The appalling disconnect between these leftist politicians and the current angst among America’s citizenry underscores the distorted reality of an entitled political class operating in a sort of parallel universe, undeterred by the on-the-ground predicament of millions of Americans. Consider that 36 million people are newly jobless. Even among the still-employed, job anxiety is pervasive: A recent Associated Press poll showed that 55% of working Americans report a cut in either hours or pay during this pandemic.  

The message of Democrats like Pelosi and Gov. Gavin Newsom to these worried Americans is clear: “Get in line, because we have other priorities, including catering to the needs of criminals who willfully violated our laws to enter the United States without permission.” Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden clearly agrees with this policy arc, as he publicly affirmed during his party’s primaries that he supports providing taxpayer-funded health care to illegal aliens.

Make no mistake about the left’s ultimate aims here. They promote porous borders and incentivize illegal migration, eyeing the dubious long-term objective of mass amnesties that confer status and citizenship. Given the precedent of President Obama and his clearly illegal use of an executive order to regularize DACA adults (a policy goal I happen to support— but through the legislative process), it seems perfectly logical to predict a similar move from any future Democratic president, given the party’s increasing radicalism on immigration issues.

In addition, Democrats wrongly believe that these extreme policies devaluing citizenship will somehow curry favor among the Hispanic citizens of America. In reality, recent surveys reveal exactly the opposite. For example, a Washington Post/University of Maryland poll found that fully 69% of Hispanic citizens support a temporary ban on all immigration during this crisis, including legal immigration. Contrary to the biased hopes of the Democratic National Committee and constant narratives pushed by corporate media, Hispanic Americans are not at all soft on border issues.

There is a larger truth here as well. We Hispanics tend to be conservative people – culturally, religiously, and politically. For example, a Pew Research survey on abortion found that Hispanics are far more pro-life than white Americans, by a 17-percentage-point margin. As the Democratic Party grows ever more radical, on core issues like immigration, the Second Amendment, and the right to life, the party all but orphans previously loyal Latino voters.

But regardless of race or ethnicity, the primary — even obsessive — focus of policymakers must be on reigniting the economic engine of America. I have offered my own policy proposal catalysts, and have no doubt that we have the right commander-in-chief to lead this vital rebuild. Our entrepreneur president created the conditions for the best job market in decades. He facilitated the first explosion in wages and opportunities, and he can lead the encore, the Trump Boom 2.0.

In contrast, Democrats’ pandering to woke leftist constituencies only distracts us from this critical task. Even worse, providing scarce resources to foreigners who entered our land illegally represents a total betrayal of our own citizens in need. An America First approach requires that we get the economic “oxygen” flowing to U.S. citizens before we consider how to help others.

Steve Cortes is a contributor to RealClearPolitics, national spokesman for the America First PAC, and host of his own Salem Radio Show on AM560 Chicago. His Twitter handle is @CortesSteve.

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