National View: Flip flop — the inconvenient truth about Dems' history on the wall

For the last two years, the leading voices of the Democrats' establishment haven't missed a single opportunity to stridently condemn President Donald Trump's proposal to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

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For the last two years, the leading voices of the Democrats' establishment haven't missed a single opportunity to stridently condemn President Donald Trump's proposal to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

Together with the mainstream media, top liberal lawmakers repeatedly have argued the president's stance on immigration is "rooted in xenophobia and racism" and that the U.S. government should not spend another penny on constructing a physical barrier along the southern border.

Their passionate criticism of President Trump would almost sound genuine if not for one inconvenient truth: Most Democrat leaders actively supported very similar immigration proposals, including a border wall or fence, in the not-so-distant past. Either they too are racist and xenophobic, or they are self-serving political hucksters who will change their stripes to oppose Trump at all costs.

President Barack Obama, perhaps the most idolized liberal figure of his generation, was a vocal supporter of a tough immigration agenda for years. According to a leaked internal memo from his 2008 presidential campaign, the Democrat candidate viewed border security as one of his "core goals" and believed additional fencing "could help get the border under control."

"(Obama) believes fencing should be built where necessary and agreed to in coordination with local governments, Indian tribes, and done in an environmentally sensitive manner," the memo read, noting that, "Additional fencing on the border is not a comprehensive solution, but it sometimes helps deter people from taking the risk of entering illegally."


As a U.S. senator, Obama also supported the Secure Fence Act of 2006, arguing that the bill, which included funding for 700 miles of border fencing, "will certainly do some good." "It will authorize some badly needed funding for better fences and better security along our borders and that should help stem some of the tide of illegal immigration in this country," he maintained.

Like President Obama, Hillary Clinton was a major proponent of building physical barriers on the border - at least until it became politically expedient to criticize Trump for holding the same view.

During a 2015 campaign event, Clinton even admitted she voted for additional border fencing as a senator, and she asserted that controlling the borders is an important element of fighting illegal immigration.

"Well, look, I voted numerous times when I was a senator to spend money to build a barrier to try to prevent illegal immigrants from coming in, and I do think you have to control your borders," Clinton said.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is leading the fight to obstruct President Trump's immigration policies in Congress by refusing to allocate the funds required to build a border wall. Together with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Schumer has refused to compromise with the president in order to achieve real border security, triggering a government shutdown that has lasted weeks.

"If you want to open the government, you must abandon the wall, plain and simple," he said recently, adding that the proposal "will never pass the Senate - not today, not next week, not next year."

Perhaps Schumer's hardline position is intended to distract Americans from the fact that he was once a prominent supporter of tough immigration policies. He even sponsored the 2013 "Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act," a bill that would have allocated some $8 billion toward strengthening and repairing physical barriers on the border.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, widely viewed as a frontrunner for the Democrats' presidential nomination in 2020, also has changed his tune dramatically since President Trump made building the border wall one of his top priorities.


"The impulse to hunker down, shut the gates, build walls, and exit at this moment is precisely the wrong answer," Biden said in 2017. "It offers a false sense of security in an interconnected world."

Like so many of his fellow Democrat comrades, though, Biden used to have a very different perspective on the matter. As Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell alluded to on the Senate floor, Biden was among more than two dozen Democrat lawmakers, including Obama, who voted for the Secure Fence Act of 2006.

The Democrats can vilify the president's immigration policy all they like, but if supporting a physical barrier on the southern border is a "racist" position, then what does that say about their own voting record?

Mike Huckabee

Mike Huckabee was the 44th governor of Arkansas and a 2016 Republican candidate for president. He currently hosts "Huckabee" on TBN. He wrote this for the News Tribune.

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