Director of Progressive Immigration Group: Caravan Is 'Political Nightmare' for Democrats

Honduran migrants take part in a caravan towards the United States in Chiquimula, Guatemala. AFP/Getty Images
November 30, 2018

The founder and director of America's Voice, a progressive group that advocates for illegal immigrants in the United States, said Thursday that the migrant caravan at the U.S.-Mexico border is a "political nightmare" for Democrats.

Frank Sharry is the founder and executive director of America’s Voice, which seeks a "direct, fair, and inclusive road to citizenship for immigrants in the United States without papers," among other measures.

"The Takeout" podcast host Major Garrett,  CBS News' chief White House correspondent, asked Sharry about President Donald Trump's message that Republicans support national security and lawful immigration, while Democrats support open borders and the caravan.

Sharry called Trump's claim that Democrats want open borders "ridiculous" and a "distortion." He said the message, however, played well to Trump's base, while also presenting a "nightmare" for Democrats.

"I operate very closely in Democratic circles, and I can tell you that they saw the caravan as a political nightmare," he said. Whatever their actual policy preferences, Democrats "think the idea of being defined as [pro] open borders is a liability."

He credited Trump with tying Democrats to "open borders" and "sanctuary cities," even when they support border security measures.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) has pitched a proposal to provide $1.6 billion for Trump's border wall in an effort to pass a federal spending bill before the Dec. 7 deadline. This month, Trump set the cost of the wall at $5 billion. Sen. Richard C. Shelby (R., Ala.), chairman of the Appropriations Committee, said Monday that Trump would allow a government shutdown if Democrats did not agree to fully fund the border measure. In January, Trump offered citizenship to "Dreamers," immigrants who entered into the country illegally as children, in exchange for $25 billion for wall funding. Trump originally promised Mexico would fund the wall.

Speaking with Garrett, Sharry warned Trump would take credit for any eventual agreement. "There will be a deal in which Democrats say, 'Yes, we support border security, and there's funding in there for that,' and Trump will say, 'And I got my wall funding,'" Sharry said.

Sharry himself has vocally opposed any wall funding, even in exchange for citizenship for illegal immigrants. Earlier this year, Sharry warned that his organization is "not going to allow [White House senior advisor] Stephen Miller to exploit a crisis that he and his boss created to take a wrecking ball to the Statue of Liberty and enact his nativist wish list."

Sharry's organization receives funding from the George Soros-funded Immigrant Voters Win PAC. According to PAC documents reviewed by the Free Beacon, the money went toward paying employee salaries and furnishing communications and consulting services.

Listen to the conversation with Frank Sharry: