On this week’s episode of Parsing Immigration Policy, we are joined by Ruy Teixeira, co-author with John Judis of last fall’s book, Where Have All the Democrats Gone?: The Soul of the Party in the Age of Extremes. Teixeira, currently a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, worked from 2003 to 2022 as a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, a left-leaning public policy research and advocacy organization.

Teixeira explains that Democrats were not always proponents of the open-border agenda. The Democratic party used to see illegal immigration as a threat to low-wage workers and unions. In fact, in the 1980s, organized labor was the main group pushing for more hawkish immigration policies.

Teixeira stresses the importance of including the people at the center of the American electorate in policy debates, stating that the Democratic leadership is way off where the public is not. Many issues have become “culturalized” and reflect the agenda of what he calls a “shadow party” that includes activist groups, donors, academics, et al. who view issues, especially immigration, through a good-versus-evil lens, which does not foster productive debate or compromise.

Today, he said, Democrats refuse to even acknowledge a problem at our southern border and have generally alienated the working class, which once made up a significant part of their base. Additionally, they often categorize their opponents as evil rather than merely mistaken. Teixeira sums up the view of the Democratic “shadow party” on immigration as “more is better and less is racist.”

In his closing commentary, Mark Krikorian shares what he saw on a recent trip to the Del Rio and Eagle Pass areas of Texas, which has been “Ground Zero” for the border crisis. However, almost overnight the illegal immigration flow has virtually stopped in this area, thanks to a Mexican army crackdown on illegal migrants that followed December visits to Mexico by President Biden and other senior officials.


Mark Krikorian is the Executive Director of the Center for Immigration Studies.


Ruy Teixeira is a Nonresident Senior Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.


Ruy Teixeira AEI profile

Could Immigration Hand the 2024 Election to Trump?

Where Have All the Democrats Gone?: The Soul of the Party in the Age of Extremes

How Biden Could Act on the Border and Help Himself in November


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Intro Montage

Voices in the opening montage:

  • Sen. Barack Obama at a 2005 press conference.
  • Sen. John McCain in a 2010 election ad.
  • President Lyndon Johnson, upon signing the 1965 Immigration Act.
  • Booker T. Washington, reading in 1908 from his 1895 Atlanta Exposition speech.
  • Laraine Newman as a “Conehead” on SNL in 1977.
  • Hillary Clinton in a 2003 radio interview.
  • Cesar Chavez in a 1974 interview.
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaking to reporters in 2019.
  • Prof. George Borjas in a 2016 C-SPAN appearance.
  • Sen. Jeff Sessions in 2008 comments on the Senate floor.
  • Charlton Heston in “Planet of the Apes”.

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Published in: Elections, Immigration, Politics