Sen. Dick Durbin was just trying to explain what immigrants contribute to the American experience when he cited the family of Olympic gold medalist Chloe Kim, whose parents emigrated from South Korea to build a better life for themselves in the states. But it turns out, according to some leftists, that was insulting to immigrants or potential immigrants who just aren't that exceptional.
While pushing for immigration reform on the Senate floor, Durbin used Kim's family's story as an example of how humble beginnings can produce major achievements that ultimately benefit the whole country.
“[Kim's father] decided to go to school. He picked up a degree in engineering technology. ... He decided to start a family,” Durbin said. “A nice little family. And a little girl, who had a special skill when it came to snowboarding. That girl was Chloe Kim, and she won a gold medal last night at the Olympics."
“It's a story of an immigrant family. A man who might not have passed some of the merit-based tests that we're hearing around here ... But who came to the United States determined to make a life and to bring a family forward," Durbin continued.
But it turns out, Durbin was being "ableist" and "exclusionary" in suggesting that immigrants (or their kids) can become extraordinary athletes. Leftists on Twitter immediately took umbrage at Durbin's speech, claiming that they didn't just want capable immigrants — they want all immigrants.
Yes - but doesnt this also feed the narrative that we only accept immigrants if they are or become exceptional? https://t.co/2QPFXF3XqG— Tanzina Vega (@tanzinavega) February 14, 2018
Others went straight to the media.
“Showcasing the stories of exceptional immigrants to justify a more humane immigration policy clashes with American values, and America's immigration history,” one immigration activist told the Washington Post. “It also implies that immigrants — or the children of immigrants — have to be outstanding, superhuman, or more than exceptional — like Olympian Chloe Kim or Steve Jobs — to warrant inclusion.”
But that's not what Durbin was saying. He was merely pointing out he believes immigration is a net good for the country, and it's obvious that Durbin isn't a lightweight leftist on the issue. He's been leading the charge for a more comprehensive immigration reform bill since the beginning.
The conflict exposes the strange line Democrats are having to walk on DREAMers and DACA recipients: that most of the far-left base wants total and complete amnesty, and they don't care whether moderate — or even typically liberal Democrats — can see a path forward with compromise.