Andrew Sullivan talks common sense about immigration, asylum and Democratic insanity

I’ve written several times (here and here) about the enigma of journalist Andrew Sullivan, who may be the ultimate swing voter. He is capable of brilliant insights about the dangers of the left and yet has this huge blind spot in front of him called Donald Trump.

Well, his new column may offer the best opportunity for a conservative to enjoy Sullivan’s genius without cringing over his Trump animosity. I am pretty sure his essay “The Democratic Candidates Are in a Bubble on Immigration” is actually devoid of Trump insults although you will have to navigate a veiled Pelosi compliment or two.

Sullivan sums up the Democratic delusion on immigration as well as anyone I have read. He begins with an appeal to emotion regarding the picture of the dead father and daughter who drowned trying to enter the United States illegally and refers to the U.S. treatment of migrant children as abuse, but he does so obliquely and uses it to indict Democrats for their callous dismissal of immigration as a “fake” crisis.

Until now, many have denied that any crisis existed at all. They have, in fact, denied that the highest levels of mass immigration since the Bush years are an issue at all. As Byron York has noted, Speaker Pelosi called the arrival of close to a million asylum seekers “a fake crisis”; Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said that hundreds of thousands of men, women, and many children, overwhelming any attempt to process them with the current resources, was “a crisis that does not exist.” This included many Never-Trumpers, like Bill Kristol (“a fake crisis”), and Max Boot (“a faux crisis”). The editors of the Washington Post denied the facts reported by their own Nick Miroff, claiming it was “a make-believe crisis.”

Sullivan speculates that Democrats may be ready to address the immigration crisis but as he notes, they are navigating around the central problem, which makes their approach less than serious.

The Democrats want to raise the cap on refugees from Central America to 100,000 a year and propose no tightening of asylum law. But it’s the asylum law that needs to change. Since 2014, there has been a 240 percent increase in asylum cases. As Fareed Zakaria has pointed out, the number of asylum cases from Honduras, Guatemala, and Venezuela has soared at the same time as the crime rate in those countries was being cut in half.

Sullivan also points out that the definition of asylum has expanded far beyond what was intended by lawmakers and beyond what is practical.

A government need not persecute you; you just have to experience an unsafe environment that your government is failing to suppress. This so expands the idea of asylum, in my view, as to render it meaningless.

Courts have also expanded asylum to include domestic violence, determining that women in abusive relationships are a “particular social group” and thereby qualify. In other words, every woman on the planet who has experienced domestic abuse can now come to America and claim asylum. Also everyone on the planet who doesn’t live in a stable, orderly, low-crime society. Literally billions of human beings now have the right to asylum in America. As climate change worsens, more will rush to claim it. All they have to do is show up.

Sullivan then pivots to the Democratic debates where virtually all the serious candidates for president said they would decriminalize illegal entry into the United States.

How, I ask, is that not practically open borders? The answer I usually get is that all these millions will have to, at some point, go to court hearings and have their asylum cases adjudicated. The trouble with that argument is that only 44 percent actually turn up for their hearings; and those who do show up and whose claims nonetheless fail can simply walk out of the court and know they probably won’t be deported in the foreseeable future.

Sullivan condemns the illogic of the Democrats in brutal terms based on their performance in Miami:

What emerged was their core message to the world: Get here without papers and you’ll receive humane treatment while you’re processed, you’ll never be detained, you’ll get work permits immediately, and you’ll have access to publicly funded health care and a path to citizenship if you don’t commit a crime. This amounts to an open invitation to anyone on the planet to just show up and cross the border. The worst that can happen is you get denied asylum by a judge, in which case you can just disappear and there’s a 1 percent chance that you’ll be caught in a given year. Who wouldn’t take those odds?

Best of all is Sullivan’s skewering of the Democratic talking point that anyone who opposes unchecked immigration is a racist or a white supremacist.

I’m told that I’m a white supremacist for believing in borders, nation-states, and a reduction in legal immigration to slow the pace of this country’s demographic revolution. But I support this because I want a more successful integration and Americanization of immigrants, a better future for skilled immigrants, and I want to weaken the populist and indeed racist movements that have taken the West by storm in the past few years. It’s because I loathe white supremacy that I favor moderation in this area.

When I’m told only white racists favor restrictionism, I note how the Mexican people are more opposed to illegal immigration than Americans: In a new poll, 61.5 percent of Mexicans oppose the entry of undocumented migrants, period; 44 percent believe that Mexico should remove any undocumented alien immediately. Are Mexicans now white supremacists too? That hostility to illegal immigration may even explain why Trump’s threat to put tariffs on Mexico if it didn’t crack down may well have worked. Since Trump’s bluster, the numbers have measurably declined — and the crackdown is popular in Mexico. I can also note that most countries outside Western Europe have strict immigration control and feel no need to apologize for it. Are the Japanese and Chinese “white supremacists”? Please. Do they want to sustain their own culture and national identity? Sure. Is that now the equivalent of the KKK?

This is really good stuff. It is also heartening that Sullivan concludes that the Democrat agenda on open borders is “political suicide.” Let’s hope so.

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Frank Miele writes from Kalispell, Montana, at and is a columnist at Real Clear Politics. To support my work, please consider buying my “Why We Needed Trump” trilogy, which documents the downward spiral of the USA before Trump arrived on the scene. The books are available at Amazon in paperback or Kindle editions. Thanks! Also visit Heartland Diary on YouTube at

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One Reply to “Andrew Sullivan talks common sense about immigration, asylum and Democratic insanity”

  1. Thank you for sharing the intelligent, essay analysis of the Democrat (not “democratic”) debates by Andrew Sullivan as well as the neat, web site on which you found it. We all need to get up to speed on the root causes and full ramifications of the current, immigration problem from whatever quarter the truth comes from.

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