One of the particularly bizarre trends in the media’s coverage over the past two years has been this impression that enforcing our immigration laws is a concept invented by Donald Trump himself.
The reporting on Trump’s fight against illegal immigration is practically a case study in how the media can warp perceived reality. It’s impossible to remember the media criticizing Democrat presidents for speaking out on the issue – because the media never did. And as many liberals seem to be oblivious to today, both Bill Clinton and Barack Obama had made statements on illegal immigration that echo rhetoric no different than President Trump’s.
Bill Clinton’s Rhetoric on Illegal Immigration Received a Bipartisan Standing Ovation at the 1995 SOTU
PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON: All Americans, not only in the States most heavily affected but in every place in this country, are rightly disturbed by the large numbers of illegal aliens entering our country.
The jobs they hold might otherwise be held by citizens or legal immigrants. The public service they use impose burdens on our taxpayers.
That’s why our administration has moved aggressively to secure our borders more by hiring a record number of new border guards, by deporting twice as many criminal aliens as ever before, by cracking down on illegal hiring, by barring welfare benefits to illegal aliens.
In the budget I will present to you, we will try to do more to speed the deportation of illegal aliens who are arrested for crimes, to better identify illegal aliens in the workplace…
We are a nation of immigrants. But we are also a nation of laws. It is wrong and ultimately self-defeating for a nation of immigrants to permit the kind of abuse of our immigration laws we have seen in recent years, and we must do more to stop it. (Bill Clinton, Remarks At State Of The Union, Washington, D.C., 1/24/95)
His wife would later say in 2014 regarding illegals arriving with children: “We have to send a clear message: just because your child gets across the border doesn’t mean your child gets to stay.”
Obama’s 2013 SOTU Called for Legal Immigrants Before Illegals
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Real reform means strong border security, and we can build on the progress my administration has already made — putting more boots on the Southern border than at any time in our history and reducing illegal crossings to their lowest levels in 40 years. Real reform means establishing a responsible pathway to earned citizenship — a path that includes passing a background check, paying taxes and a meaningful penalty, learning English, and going to the back of the line behind the folks trying to come here legally.
And real reform means fixing the legal immigration system to cut waiting periods and attract the highly-skilled entrepreneurs and engineers that will help create jobs and grow our economy.
Sen. Obama Called for Punishing Employers Who Hire Illegal Aliens
SENATOR BARACK OBAMA: We all agree on the need to better secure the border and to punish employers who choose to hire illegal immigrants. We are a generous and welcoming people, here in the United States, but those who enter the country illegally, and those who employ them, disrespect the rule of law and they are showing disregard for those who are following the law.
We simply cannot allow people to pour into the United States, undetected, undocumented, unchecked and circumventing the line of people who are waiting patiently, diligently and lawfully to become immigrants in this country.
Rhetoric and actions are two different things of course, and this isn’t meant to be an endorsement of Obama’s immigration policy. Despite claims that Obama deported more people than the Trump administration, that’s only because his administration inflated deportation figures by counting “catch and releases” at the border as “deportations.” Interior removals (which are of illegals already residing in the U.S.) have surged under Trump. Nine out of ten of those deported under Trump had either criminal convictions or pending criminal charges. Meanwhile, deportations of illegals settled and working in the U.S. dropped 40% during Obama’s first term.
Regardless, the point stands that the media never criticized Clinton or Obama for rhetoric on illegal immigration that’s no different than Trump’s (aside from some nasty comments about MS-13 members that somehow managed to offend). There are two obvious explanations for this, the first being that the media at large undeniably has a liberal bias, and second, that the political left is moving further to the left at an alarming rate.