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Letter: Democrats, stand up for citizens first

To the editor:

One would not know it given today's political rhetoric, but up until 2015, the Democratic party's views and positions on illegal immigration and undocumented workers were basically the same as those being espoused by President Donald Trump. It was universally recognized that having a pool of cheap labor ready, available and in direct competition with both American born and legal immigrant workers posed problems that would negatively affect American workers — especially unskilled laborers.

The concerns first voiced back in 1995 by Barbara Jordan, chair of the Human Rights Commission on Illegal Immigration, were echoed by both Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. The party did a 360 on immigration only after realizing that the growing Hispanic and Mexican American population represents a large bloc of potentially Democratic voters.

There is no way an honest person can claim that the party's changed views were not politically motivated and that political pandering is not at the bottom of this. In fact, at the same time, Democrats changed their tune on illegal immigration, the party also jettisoned the working class whose members had historically been its base, writing them off as irrelevant.

Now, after decades of stagnant wages and a decline in real income, it should be news to no one that the concerns expressed by Barbara Jordan have become reality. Incredibly, without so much as a peep of protest, American workers/taxpayers now pay for public assistance benefits that go to undocumented immigrant families all over this country. Through their American-born children, undocumented immigrants qualify for and receive subsidized housing, nutrition assistance and medical care.

I do not blame immigrant families for taking everything we offer them. That said, given our limited resources, it would be disingenuous to suggest this does not have a detrimental affect on the amount of assistance available for the poorest of our own citizen Americans in need.

I would like to hear Democrats acknowledge this, and I think it's high time for all those people so concerned about the rights and welfare of undocumented immigrants living here illegally to stand up and show some equal concern and respect for our own American-born citizens and workers.

Patricia Allende de Jung

Red Wing