Where Trump is winning
The Dems may be right on this issue morally, but politically they are getting killed on it.
But a new report from an influential liberal think tank, provided to The Daily Beast, posits that the party’s decision to cede the “rule of law” ground to Republicans creates “the false dichotomy of America as either a nation of immigrants or a nation of laws”—making the party and its candidates appear soft on enforcement, and potentially weakening future attempts for humanitarian-focused immigration reform.
In doing so, writes Tom Jawetz, vice president of immigration policy at the Center for American Progress, supporters of humane immigration policy “have ceded powerful rhetorical ground to immigration restrictionists, who are happy to masquerade as the sole defenders of America as a nation of laws.”
The left may be totally right about the "horrific detention conditions, spiking in-custody deaths of undocumented immigrants", but the fact of the matter is that when people are struggling to "take care of their own" they aren't going to invest much empathy for immigrants.
Making this worse are the calls to abolish ICE.
Whether they are right or wrong on doing this, it still sounds like getting rid of border enforcement. In the unofficial rules of debate "if you are explaining yourself, then you are losing."
Finally, there is the tendency of Democrats to virtue signal on this issue, but it's the wrong issue to virtue signal on. I say that because, like abortion and guns, this isn't a black or white issue. This is an issue that requires a middle-ground compromise, somewhere between open borders and building a wall.
Politically the Dems have been played on this, and even real progressives are looking unable to recognize this fact.