Montana Sen. Jon Tester is one of the top targets for Republicans to take down in November — and his immigration positions will likely make the GOP’s job easier.
In the not-too distant past, red state Democrats made an effort to appear moderate on immigration by voting against amnesty bills and vowing to support measures cracking down on illegal immigration.
But he’s changed with the Democratic Party that no longer tolerates dissent on this issue. The Democratic mainstream believes enforcing federal immigration law is bad and any restrictions on migration are immoral.
Tester’s actions have shown no inkling of disagreement.
He voted for the Gang of Eight amnesty in 2013, and has no shown no divergence from his party’s immigration dogma in the Trump era.
Tester attacked President Trump for scrapping the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program last September, even though he voted against legalizing illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as minors in 2010. “America’s immigration system is badly broken and needs fixing, but breaking a promise to these children-who are here through no fault of their own-is not the solution,” he said at the time.
The Montana Democrat opposed Trump’s DACA offer that would have legalized 1.8 million “Dreamers” in exchange for $25 billion for border security, cutting down chain migration and eliminating the diversity visa lottery. Tester claimed the proposal cut the legislative branch out of handling immigration.
In 2016, Tester voted against Kate’s Law, a measure mandating tougher penalties for criminal aliens who re-enter the country.
In February, Tester voted against a Senate bill that would have punished jurisdictions that flout federal immigration law and provide sanctuary to illegal immigrants.
Even though Tester claims to want border security and a long-term solution to immigration, he has consistently shown he would prefer liberal inaction to any conservative proposal. His recent voting record shows no difference from that of the most radical liberals in Congress, in spite of his more moderate rhetoric.
But actions speak louder than words, and his actions have fortified the dangerous status quo on immigration.
It’s no great mystery why Trump has attacked his immigration record.
“The migrant ‘caravan’ that is openly defying our border shows how weak & ineffective U.S. immigration laws are. Yet Democrats like Jon Tester continue to support the open borders agenda — Tester even voted to protect Sanctuary Cities,” Trump tweeted last month.
Montanans may wonder why their senator refuses to crack down on sanctuary cities and criminal illegal aliens. Polls show that a whopping 80 percent of Americans oppose jurisdictions that refuse to follow federal immigration. Surveys also show that most Americans support the idea of a border wall and immigration restrictions in exchange for a DACA fix, an offer put forth by the president but refused by Tester. (RELATED: POLL: Majority Of Americans Agree With Trump On DACA, Immigration)
Tester finds himself outside the mainstream on immigration, which raises the question: who is he really fighting for?