By Allan Wall, October 26, 2020
It finally happened. At a 2020 presidential debate, immigration was finally the subject of discussion.
Nothing was asked about the topic at the first Trump-Biden debate, nor at the Pence-Harris vice-presidential debate, the latter of which it was only mentioned in passing. (See Pence-Harris Debate is Watchable But Mostly Ignores the I-Word.)
The final presidential debate was held October 22nd in Nashville, Tennessee. The moderator was Kristen Welker, and I think of all the moderators in the three debates (two presidential and one vice-presidential) and the two townhalls, she did the best job. If you’d like to read a transcript of the debate, click here or here for the script and video.
The topics were COVID-19, National Security, American Families and Our Economy, Immigration, Race in America, Climate Change and the question, “Imagine this is your Inauguration Day. What will you say in your address to Americans who did not vote for you?”
Let’s look at the immigration topics discussed in the debate, beginning after the 32-minute mark.
- Zero Tolerance and “Kids in Cages.” Trump didn’t create the humanitarian disaster the border had become. Trump inherited it when he became president, after running on a platform of solving the problem.
Central American children who were dragged across Mexico to the U.S. border were exposed to all sorts of unpleasant and dangerous situations, in comparison with which detention would have been preferable.
The infamous zero tolerance policy, which separated children from parents, was only in effect for six weeks in 2018. Even so, how is that policy different from American children being separated from American parents when they are jailed in the United States? But, curiously, that never became a political issue.
The current situation is much better. That’s partly due to coronavirus restrictions, but also because President Trump, thinking outside the box, used his foreign policy authority to pressure Mexico to reduce the quantity of Central Americans traipsing across Mexican territory to get to the United States.
Tucker Carlson, in his excellent summary of the second debate, reported that the vast majority of these parents of these still-separated children have been located, mostly in their home countries, but don’t want to reunite with their children!
- The Border Fence. Of course, this was only mentioned by President Trump, who said that, “We now have as strong a border as we’ve ever had, over 400 miles of brand new wall, and we let people in but they have to come in legally.”
- The Obama-Biden Immigration Record. Trump pointed out that the “cages” were built during the Obama-Biden administration. Moderator Welker directed this question to Biden: “The Obama Administration did fail to deliver immigration reform. It also presided over record deportations as well as family deportations at the border before changing course. Why should voters trust you with immigration overhaul now?”
As for Obama’s failure “to deliver immigration reform” that refers to amnesty, so it’s good that didn’t happen. As far as the charge of record deportations, that’s not actually true, as the Obama Administration actually changed the previous method of computing deportations.
- Catch and Release. Biden ridiculously claimed that most of the illegal aliens caught and released showed up to their hearings. Obviously, they didn’t.
- Asylum Policy. Biden complained that, “This [Trump] is the first president in the history of the United States that anybody seeking asylum has to do it in another country.” Biden was referring to Trump’s ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy, another ingenious Trump initiative designed to reduce asylum fraud.
- And this doozy from Joe Biden: “Within 100 days, I’m going to send to the United States Congress a pathway to citizenship for over 11 million undocumented people. And all of those so-called dreamers, those DACA kids, they’re going to be immediately certified again to be able to stay in this country and put on a path to citizenship.”
So there you go, a mass amnesty.
That’s what the candidates discussed. The real question is, how did this debate influence still-undecided voters?
Visit Allan’s website to read more of his work.