It’s quite clear that the progressive left is willing to bend over backward to provide state-sponsored benefits for illegal immigrants. Indeed, it has been as enthusiastic about serving the needs of the undocumented community as Bernie Sanders is about tax hikes. Its leaders have supported sanctuary cities, advocated for driver’s licenses, and called for voting rights in state and local elections.
Unfortunately, in New York, Democratic lawmakers have shown that the generosity they have extended to individuals residing in the country illegally does not necessarily apply to other groups of people.
New York Votes Against Gold Star Families
New York lawmakers serving on the Higher Education Committee declined to advance a bill that would have provided free college tuition to the family members of New Yorkers serving in the military who are killed in the line of duty. The committee voted 15 to 11 to hold the bill, which all but ensures that it will never see the light of day. Four Democrats broke ranks with their party and voted in favor of the proposal, but it wasn’t enough.
If slighting the families of fallen U.S. service members isn’t bad enough, hold on to your pearls, it gets worse. Only a week before the vote, the same legislative body passed a state budget that included $27 million in tuition aid for students who are living in the United States illegally. Needless to say, this decision elicited no small amount of criticism.
Assemblyman Gary Finch ripped the committee. “It’s disgraceful,” he said. “Soldiers who lay down their lives and make the ultimate sacrifice represent the best of us. The children they love so dearly deserve access to the opportunity and promise that is the hallmark of this country.”
New York Democrats Defend Their Vote
Later in the same week, Assembly Democrats attempted to defend their decision to scuttle the bill, insisting that the GOP was merely playing politics. Assemblywoman Deborah Glick released a statement pointing out that the state already has a scholarship program that provides a level of tuition aid to Gold Star families.
In response to the criticism, Mike Whyland, another Democrat serving on the committee, said: “It’s purely political, and it’s unfortunate that they are using children as pawns.”
Glick did indicate that the committee would seek out more information on the matter from the Department of Defense “to determine how many New Yorkers might be included in this expanded category.”
Of course, translating that statement from politispeak to plain English, Glick is saying: “This bill ain’t happening. Go pound sand.”
This story is instructive in that it reveals the lengths to which many leaders on the left will go to woo illegal immigrants by treating them better than American citizens — even the children of those who lost their lives fighting for the United States. The notion that the families of those who make the ultimate sacrifice should somehow be treated as equal to individuals who violate the nation’s laws is absurd.
But if progressives are willing to go this far, it is no wonder that President Trump receives such resistance to practical solutions to the problem of illegal immigration. It is important that Americans who favor strong borders understand who they are up against, and this story gives us a peek into the mindset of the open borders crowd.