“It’s Time to Pay”: Democratic Members and Activists Demand Fulfillment of Past Promises from Reparations to Sanctuary Cities

Below is my column on the conflict in Democratic states over the fulfillment of prior political pledges from reparations to sanctuary cities. Democratic states like California cannot blame the opposing party for a failure to fulfill the pledge for cash reparations. That leaves them in a bind. Small payments will belittle a commitment that was called a civic duty and moral imperative. After years of campaigning on the issue, expectations are high and tensions appear to be rising.

Here is the column:

“It’s time to pay.” Those four words from Rep. Cori Bush (D., Mo.) are being heard a lot by Democratic politicians across the country this month. For Bush, the debt amounts to $14 trillion for reparations for every black American.

In California, activists are demanding as much as $5 million per black resident and asking Gov. Gavin Newsom “where’s the money.” One member of Newsom’s Reparations Task Force demanded that the state pay its “sin bill.”

In New York and Chicago, mayors are balking at towering costs of migrants being shipping from the border to their “sanctuary” cities.

In Tampa, after demanding $3 million per black resident, a witness said that he and others were putting “white people on notice that we want our reparations.” Bills are coming due after years of political campaigning on these issues.

Reparations and sanctuary cities have long been the bread and butter of identity politics. For years, Democratic politicians have campaigned on these “moral imperatives” in passing sanctuary laws and setting up reparation task forces.  It is the equivalent of a compounding interest on credit card debt. Each election Democrats used these issues for short-term political gains. Now those bills are coming due and Democratic leaders are balking.

President Joe Biden and Congress are in a potentially lethal game of chicken over the looming default over our debt. It would not seem an ideal time to demand an additional $14 trillion, but Bush declared “Black people in our country cannot wait any longer.” She was joined by members like Reps. Barbara Lee, Jamaal Bowman and Rashida Tlaib.

It is a view being voiced across the country by black citizens who were told that these payments are an undeniable moral obligation. The years of politicking on the issue have created a sense of entitlement to large cash payments. As one well-known California activist declared: “It’s a debt that’s owed, we worked for free. We’re not asking; we’re telling you.”

Gov. Newsom recently balked at the payment of the reparations recommended by his own task force, though he has indicated that some cash payments may still be made. Newsom attempted the long-expected pivot and said, rather plaintively, that dealing with the legacy of slavery “is about much more than cash payments.” It may be too late for that spin. Recent polling shows 77 percent of Black Americans now support reparations–a stark increase in recent years.

Task Force member Rev. Amos Brown said that they will not accept any excuses and that the state has to commit to the full amount and, if needed, “pay it over installments.”

Mario Cuomo famously said that politicians campaign in poetry, but they govern in prose. However, the “prose” of many Democratic leaders is not winning any prizes.

While many have denounced the busing of migrants to sanctuary cities, most privately admit that there is an element of poetic justice.  For years, these cities have told undocumented migrants that they are welcome to come to their cities where they would be protected. Then they showed up. It was a political version of “Look Whose Coming to Dinner,” the movie about a liberal couple who are confronted with a visit of their daughter and her black fiancé.

The single most riveting moment came at Martha’s Vineyard where residents came out to clap and wave to the migrants . . . as they were shipped to a military base off the island.  New York City has been shipping migrants to other cities, which are going to court to stop the relocation. Many of these towns point out that, unlike New York City, they have never declared themselves a sanctuary for undocumented persons.

Even though these cities have been sent a fraction of the influx of states like Texas, mayors in sanctuary cities like Chicago have expressed outrage.

As with those expecting reparations, these migrants are understandably confused. They were told that Chicago was a “ciudad santuario.” Chicago reaffirmed this status in 2022 when it extended protections and benefits. At the time, politicians scrambled for cameras to declare, as did Alderwoman Rossana Rodríguez, that Chicago must be “a welcoming city for immigrants” and reaffirmed that “our city is responsible for acting with solidarity towards the people that are the most marginalized and the most impacted by a system that oppresses them.”

Then they showed up in greater numbers and the former Mayor Lori Lightfoot demanded that the migrants be sent elsewhere or kept in border towns overwhelmed by far greater numbers of migrants.

In some cases, there is no alternative but to try to quietly abandon prior campaigns that generated acclaim nationally and caused serious damage locally. For example, some of us criticized cities like San Francisco for declaring a boycott of states which did not adhere to their views on issues like transgender rights. I noted at the time that the boycott would cost the city dearly in cutting off 22 states by driving up costs. It did and the city quietly rescinded the boycott after losing millions. While the media paid far less attention to the rescission than the original decision, other reversals have come at a greater political cost on the left.

For example, cities that led efforts to defund the police are now refunding the police after soaring crime rates and high-levels of police retirements and resignations.  Activists in cities like Los Angeles called it a “slap in the face” given years of promises from Democratic politicians.

In the meantime, Newsom’s task force has demanded an assortment of other changes, including eliminating cash bail, abandoning the prosecution of certain crimes, subsidizing home purchases for black residents, and guaranteeing a “right to return” by taking over development projects to guarantee black housing ownership. Some of those reforms can be finessed by politicians, but there is no spin that will obscure the absence of a cash payment.

These are the creditors of the Democratic Party and they now seem intent on collecting on compounded interest of years of identity politics.

This column previously appeared on Fox.com

119 thoughts on ““It’s Time to Pay”: Democratic Members and Activists Demand Fulfillment of Past Promises from Reparations to Sanctuary Cities”

  1. I have a few questions about reparations.

    1. Who is going to pay for the DNA testing to PROVE that someone is a descendant of an enslaved person? Not to mention, according to the show “Finding your Roots” not all enslaved people can be identified because the democrats ensured that the slaves were NOT enumerated on the censuses.

    2. Who will do the genetic genealogy based on the results from #1 to make the connection? The “Reparation Task Forces”? Who will train them and who will pay for that training?

    3. Will any state or country go to the countries where people were captured and sold into slavery in order to pay their part in reparations? White people did not go to Africa to capture and enslave people. They “bought” people that were already captured, usually by their neighbors.

    4. What about the people whose ancestors did NOT own slaves and came to this country in the last century, long after slavery was abolished? Will their tax dollars go towards reparations?

    5. What about the Irish, Scottish and others that were brought here from their country as indentured slaves, do they get reparations?

  2. I have no problem with Reparations, Sanctuary Cities, and so much of the bilge water being peddled by Radical Leftists….none at all.

    I have always asked of them…..”How do you pay for it?” used in a theoretical sense.

    I have been wrong to do so.

    What I should do now is ask them “How do YOU pay for it?” in the individual sense…..they want it…they pay for it….and those of us that don’t want it or support it….don’t have to pay for it

    DA’s that don’t prosecute violent offenders….no problem…..but the. Offenders must remain within that DA’s jurisdiction….no leaving not even for a day at the beach.

    Claim Sanctuary City status….you got it….and every Illegal Alien possible gets sent to you courtesy of the Federal Government that refuses to secure the border…..and yes….they too cannot leave not even for a day.

    Reparations….by all means but it has to be paid for by the political jurisdiction that votes for it….be it City, County, or State…..with no Federal Funds going to support that crazy notion

    Oh…and those recipients have to remain within that jurisdiction and not leave….that keeps that money circulating in the jurisdiction it was taken from.

    They want to do away with diesel trucks, lawnmowers, gas stoves, air conditioning, fossil fuel power plants, and all that climate catastrophe stuff…..no problem….but only in the jurisdiction that nonsense passes by a democratic simple majority vote.

    Seattle wants out of the real world….fine……California wants to do the same….fine…..but if it does not pass a local/county/state vote….it does not happen.

    The Federal Government needs to get back to the enumerated powers and get the heck out of your bedrooms, kitchens, bathrooms, cellars, yards, cars, and Lives.

    Congress and the White House must get back to passing Balanced Budgets with no Omnibus Spending Bills and no Continuing Resolutions.

    One Bill….one Spending Item….done in three pages or less with a Seven Day waiting period for comments before final passage vote.

    No Balanced Budget…no pay or funding for Congress, the White House, or……the IRS.

    Money cannot be spent….or collected.

    Reckon that would change the way things happen on the Hill?

    If the Lefties want to play….then make them pay……and benefit from their own policies they think are so beneficial to us all…..although we know those policies are not….not in any way good for us.

  3. Jonathan: Yesterday, Fox News published an interview with Gregg Marcel Dixon, a descendant of former slaves, who is running again to unseat Dem. Rep. Jim Clyburn in S. Carolina. Dixon supports reparations and blames “Slow Joe Crow Biden” for failing to act. Dixon thinks Trump is more likely to help Black Americans. Today, one day later, you follow up up with another column (also appearing on Fox.com) on reparations. If there was any doubt about who sets the political agenda in your columns this one should put that to rest–Fox calls the tune!

    It’s pretty clear you oppose reparations–as does Rupert Murdock and the entire GOP, Donald Trump, the current frontrunner for the the nomination–as well as Ron DeSantis who just announced his candidacy. It appears Fox, the GOP and you want to use reparations as a wedge issue next year. Sow divisions in the Black community over the issue. “See, Biden doesn’t really care about you because he has not acted on what he promised”. That will be the GOP campaign mantra next year. I seriously doubt this will resonate with Black voters. They know the white racist dominated GOP is opposed to reparations. But your job is to echo Fox’s attempt to divide the Black community. It won’t work. Nice try anyway.

    1. Oh dear Dennis McIntyre, I hate to break it to you but sixty six percent of Americans are opposed to reparations. For the percentage to be that high both Democrats and Independents have to be included in the sixty six percent. If you had any sense you would be calling for your Democratic friends to drop a losing position. The operative word being sense. You should get out of your bubble more often.

  4. I am a New World Hispanic, a Caustizo, that means while predominantly of European ancestry, I have a provable amount of Amerindian and West African ancestry (about 20%). Does that mean I get reparations too (of course prorated down to the amount reflected in my genetic pedigree?)

    I am asking one of our morally superior, wise and virtual signaling leftist friends to help.

    What do I get?

    Do you have to only possess the prerequisite genetic pedigree or must one also be a “woke” leftist?

    Inquiring minds want to know. And calling me a slur is not an answer.


  5. From their perspective they are fighting for survival (in their minds). The U.S. Population is growing (The Global Population is growing).
    When Black People see the Boarder Walls that contain the small franchise They have earned come crashing down and Hispanic-Latino Immigrants come flooding in.

    They know the Boat is sinking, They are panicked. May-Day!, May-Day!, “S.O.S.”.
    Ironically Kamal Harris, Joe Biden, and the Clinton’s opened the Flood Gates and welcomed these Immigrants (With Out Papers – W.O.P.s)

    The Key is Population Control. That means: Boarder Protectionism, Birth Control Access, Religious reform (Regarding Birth), Abortion Issues, Economic Constraints, Allocations of Basic Human Needs, an Active Environmental Management.
    It’s not a Color Issue anymore, it’s a Population Control Issue, for the survival of the Human Condition. Why else would People be bustin down the Gates to get in to the U.S. – There’s little left out there.

  6. Dear Prof Turley,

    I can’t speak for California, but the U.S. government ain’t out money. . . all they got to do is make some more.

    Unfortunately, there is many a slip between cup and lip. As they say in the Hills; you can wish in one hand, and pee in the other, and see which one gets full first.

    *I’m still waiting on that free Covid money .. . ain’t seen a penny of that.

  7. We can just be honest. Democrats govern from fear and emergency. That means the create fear and emergency where non exists.

    The reparations conundrum, is just the latest convergence of Democrat Ideological foundations to real life. Dems can pontificate about “ideas” forever, but always fail when they are silly enough to enact them. Thats when actions result in consequences.

    So they try to spend all the time just dividing groups into tribes, and then demand actions showing loyalty.

    We have the reparations black hole.
    Systemic racism/white supremecy/ domistic terroism
    Catastrophic global warming
    Debt ceiling
    School choice (way to much)
    The Constitution
    States deciding abortion.
    Trans? (something)
    AR 15’s (not the criminal using them
    Parents attending school board meetings
    TRUMP! destroying democracy

    Not on the list;

    rolling blackouts
    Decimation of the military
    The United States on the verge of losing its world wide reserve currency status
    An invasion of 7 million illegal aliens.
    Elections no one trusts

    The point is, all of this is fabricated, and when opportunity presents its self, Dems refuse to act. They require the tribal fights, in order to goverrn.
    Dems could have passed a national abortion bill….never tried
    Trump would have signed an amnesty bill, Dems never tried.

    Dems have to play identity politics, using “us” vs “them” to divide. Dems need the problems, not the solution.

  8. My mother didn’t love me, it was as simple as that. Even when I was a little girl, I knew she didn’t love me
    – Tina Turner in her autobiography, I, Tina

    Tina was simply the best, better than all of the rest. RIP, Tina Turner, an authentic inspiration to all people.

    1. Nobody loves me but my mother. But she could be jiven too. Joe Bonamasa. Check it out.

  9. “. . . black citizens who were told that these payments are an undeniable moral obligation.”

    This is the sort of noxious nonsense you get when education is bereft of the classics. In this particular case — Sophocles, who warned about the destructiveness of “generational guilt.”

  10. And naturally, Republicans and other non-dems will be blamed. Our modern left has started a race war Charles Manson only dreamed of. It is disgusting. May we collectively have more sense than this.

  11. “. . . putting ‘white people on notice that we want our reparations.’”

    It would be interesting to see what happens to that “notice,” if those “white people” stop being productive.

  12. Time to end all Federal and loans AID to cities, states and colleges.
    Democrats are FIGHTING A CIVIL WAR…their 2nd. Republicans are not fighting.

  13. With latinos trending republican the dims have to do something. If the republicans could get up to 25 to 30 percent of the electorate, the dims have a major problem.

  14. What this is likely to lead to is furthering the idea of “open season” on white people. Governors and higher up’s have armored cars and guards. I got nothing but a tin Kia. White lives are considered collateral damage in the war over this myth of equality and equity.
    Lawfare is not up to the task.

  15. I like the Dims hoisted on their own petards by their mascot classes. Here’s to gathering popcorn, comfy clothes and an AR-15 and watching the monsters turning on their creators. Here in the small town backwaters I like to haunt, we like a little natural justice by torch light on our TVs:

  16. I think there is a recognition by most people that coming up with an appropriate and workable slavery reparations proposal at the national or local level is a complicated and challenging endeavor for many of the reasons that commenters have brought up. This is why legislators for the most part have not introduced bills for specific reparations proposals but instead have introduced bills to establish a commission that would study, consider, and make recommendations on the reparations issue (see HR/S. 40 by Lee/Booker for example).

    1. “. . . is a complicated . . .”

      There is nothing complicated about it. Ethnic “guilt” is evil and causes bloody race wars.

  17. There is no way government cash payments based on skin color can be found constitutional, as it violates the Equal Protection Clause. There is therefore no way reparations are going to become a reality. The Dems have gotten people’s hopes up for free money, and they’re going to be pretty darn mad when they realize they were lied to. Things are going to get real ugly real fast in the not-too-distant future. All thanks to some idiot leftist politicians wanting to win political brownie points. I say f— those politicians. They’ve done us all a great deal of harm.

    1. Reparations has always been a democrat scam. It is unconstitutional but the media keeps egging these dreamers on, election after election, never daring to tell them the truth: it is unconstitutional.
      The democrats have tuned a good portion of black American into a cargo cult.

  18. Caught in a trap of their own making, Democrats have convinced black voters that they cannot be expected to take personal responsibility for their own actions. Any calls to do so are condemned as white supremacy. Being punctual, studying in school, abstaining from drugs or crime, and waiting for marriage before having kids, again, were called aspects of white supremacy. Democrats lionized steps guaranteed to fail, and claimed it was black culture. If a black voter was unsatisfied with their life, it must be the fault of a white person, even though they might never have encountered one in any school they attended, or in their immediate neighborhood. It’s a white person’s fault, and they must pay. The 1619 Project, DEI, and related movements indoctrinated the public with the idea that the US, rather than being part of Western Civilization’s efforts to end the ubiquitous evil of slavery, was instead irredeemably racist. They are brainwashed to ignore the great sacrifices that white non slave owners made to free black slaves, and to help their dependents. Hundreds of thousands of people died to free slaves, and our country has spent trillions of dollars on programs to help black communities, and the poor in general.

    Every single time a proposal is made, it is marketed as a means to even the playing field, right past wrongs, give a leg up, or that it is owed. 5 minutes later, it’s forgotten, and there is a new proposal. Affirmative Action was supposed to level the playing field, and voting for Obama was supposed to end the era of racism, and yet here we are. If the US actually did give every black American millions of dollars, within a few years, there would be some other program proposed to “right past wrongs”, or “pay for the sin of slavery.”

    No US city can afford to pay black Americans millions of dollars. It is also an insult to expect the descendants of the Jewish Holocaust, the Holodomor, the Irish who faced enslavement and bigotry, the Asians who were put into concentration camps during WWII and who suffered racism and bigotry for hundreds of years, or any other persecuted people who never owned slaves to then turn around and pay exorbitant sums to black people who were never slaves. Are the poorest in Appalachia “privileged”?

    The people who looted stores in downtown LA in a frenzy of “we are OWED by white people” could end up getting rich off of taxpayers, after having done everything in their power to fail in life, from doing drugs to committing crimes.

    Democrats made promises they couldn’t afford to keep to manipulate voters. Of COURSE anyone would vote for a politician who promised to make them rich.

    Black people who study in school, don’t do drugs or commit crimes, get a job, and get married before becoming a parent become middle or upper class. Those who don’t do those things are poor and commit a shockingly high percentage of crime. This formula works for all races. It is tiresome how the failures of black America are held up as representative of black culture.

    The entire Democrat platform as regards to black people is that they cannot make it in life unless white people take care of them, lowering the bar in job and college entrance qualifications, lowering expectations for behavior and academic performance in schools, do away with testing or a meritocracy, have segregated dorms, clubs, meetings, training, and study groups, spend trillions on benefits programs, and now reparations. When they riot, commit arson, or assault police, it is excused as “they were just mad”, indicating they cannot control themselves. It is the appalling racism of low expectations selectively applied to only one race among the melting pot in America. Yet, someone from Thailand or Nigeria can come here to a supposedly racist country, flat broke, and become middle class in a decade.

    The US needs to stop normalizing antisocial or self destructive behavior from black Americans, and hold them to the same standard as anyone else. We need to hold up successful black people as representative of black culture.

      1. Karen, I hate to say this to you but the white female in America is more woke than the average African America.

    1. This is also an insult to me, my family, and others like me. My family came to America with the PA Dutch. We’re Yankees. We fought and shed blood in the Revolution and the Civil War. We fought to free slaves. Now I and others like me need to pay more?
      In my day we were taught about the “Slavery Triangle” How do we know that recipients of “reparations” are not descendants of African slavers themselves? Talk about adding insult to injury.

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