Immigration was always going to be a topic of discussion during Thursday’s Democratic debate. Thus, the candidates should have been prepared to speak about immigration, if not intelligently than at least without getting basic facts wrong. As Mark Krikorian documents, Joe Biden and Andrew Yang were unable to pass this modest test.
Biden claimed that during the Obama administration, “we didn’t lock people up in cages; we didn’t separate families.” That claim is false, as even CNN acknowledges.
Yang displayed his ignorance by declaring, “I would return the level of legal immigration to the point it was under the Obama-Biden administration.” But that’s where the current level is. According to Krikorian, an expert in this area whether or not one agrees with him about immigration policy:
The number of people granted lawful permanent residence (green cards), which is what we mean by “legal immigration,” averaged 1.06 million from Fiscal Year 2009 to 2016. The total for FY 2017 was 1.13 million, for 2018 was 1.1 million, and annualizing from the first quarter of FY 2019 yields a projected total of 1.03 million. Fluctuation within 100,000 is common (in 2013, the total was only 990,000), so the level is essentially unchanged.
You expect Democrats not to know an AK-15 from an AR-47, because they consider guns to be an icky Republican thing. But immigration is supposed to be a Democratic thing, and yet these guys literally don’t know the most elementary facts.
We may be giving Biden the benefit of the doubt, though. He might simply have been lying.