Having a border has never been a partisan issue … until now???
Securing our border has been met with unprecedented civil disobedience over the last two weeks. While it can be heart-wrenching to see families separated when illegally crossing into the country, that does not change the underlying requirements of sovereignty. Fortunately, the government reversed course, and allowed children to remain with their parents moving forward. But that is not the legal panacea one would assume, and it has not ended the threats of violence … including some from actual members of Congress.
Immigration is governed by dozens of statutes and hundreds of regulations, as well as multiple court cases including one in 1997 known as the “Flores Consent Decree.” It was a court ordered resolution that requires children to be detained for 20 days if arriving illegally, and after that, you either deport or release them. If an adult has crossed illegally – where do you put the child, in jail/detention with the parent? And if the processing of the illegal crossing takes more than 20 days, then what? Release them into the general population? Deport only the child?
Existing immigration law assumes a due process hearing is held within 20 days, but the backlog of those being detained far exceeds that capacity and time frame. Release them into the general population and they remain undocumented, and they usually do not return for their hearing. So, is the solution to deport the children without the adult? And are the adults their actual parent? Are they a drug mule, “coyote,” or human trafficker? Put them in the same cell as a human trafficker? Where we can confirm the adult is the parent, the reversal of the separation policy was a humane choice and a better reflection of American values. But media interviews designed to tug at the heart is not the majority of problems we are seeing with the surge of illegal crossings.
These are just some of the dozens, if not hundreds, of issues related to our illegal immigration problem. But the key caveat is that it is illegal immigration we are talking about, not legal immigration. They are also not new – as previous Democratic Administrations used most of the same policies as the Trump Administration.
This has not been a partisan issue in the past, consider the following quotes:
Former President Bill Clinton: “…That’s why our administration has moved aggressively to secure our borders more by hiring a record number of new border guards, by deporting twice as many criminal aliens as ever before, by cracking down on illegal hiring, by barring welfare benefits to illegal aliens … We are a nation of immigrants. But we are also a nation of laws. It is wrong and ultimately self-defeating for a nation of immigrants to permit the kind of abuse of our immigration laws we have seen in recent years, and we must do more to stop it.” – State if the Union, 1/24/95
Former President Barack Obama: “Real reform means strong border security, and we can build on the progress my administration has already made — putting more boots on the Southern border than at any time in our history and reducing illegal crossings to their lowest levels in 40 years.” – State of the Union, 2/12/13.
Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY): “…First, illegal immigration is wrong … The American people are fundamentally pro-legal immigration and anti-illegal immigration. We will only pass comprehensive reform when we recognize this fundamental concept.” Speech at Georgetown Law School, 6/24/09
Then-Senator Obama (D-IL): “…The bill before us will certainly do some good … it would provide better fences and better security along our borders and would help stem some of the tide of illegal immigration in this country.” – Boston Globe quoting a Senate floor speech, 1/27/17
Republican politicians already have a platform, and a political stance, which is for securing our border, so quotes from Republican leaders would be redundant.
The bottom line – everyone is for securing the border, so why is there a conflict on the issue?
In a free, Democratic society, with checks and balances to prevent mob rule or the tyranny of the majority, it requires speech, debate, and persuasion to win your argument. These were defining elements of the enlightenment, which gave birth to the Founding Fathers. Sometimes you do not win the debate, and you must accept that freedom includes compromise. Some basic norms of civility seem to have been lost in the age of social media.
There are numerous reasons to make sure we seal the border and require admission to be legal and accountable:
Top 5 Reasons the Borders Should be Secured:
5. “Jobs and wages”: This is obvious. Illegal immigration takes away jobs from Americans. While some argue that Americans would not do jobs in the farming sector, that is a subjective determination, and is not relevant. If the country needs agricultural labor, they can extend work permits or green cards. We don’t because it is easier for farms to break the law and pay lower wages. But it is not just in farming – low wage service sector employment which has typically been the starting employment for minorities and teenagers is also taken up by even lower wage illegal immigrants. The resultant flood of job seekers into entry-level labor positions depresses the pay scale even further for those most in need.
4. “Fairness to those who follow the rules”: As the public, and those coming illegally, realize the government will not enforce immigration law, it slowly begins to erode confidence in law enforcement altogether. It is a terrible way to welcome those who arrived legally, at great cost. How do you tell the person who did everything the right way, in America, “…sorry, this person is allowed to jump to the front of the line.” That is inherently unfair, and not what Americans believe in.
3. “Safety requires a legal system of admission”: MS-13 … drug cartels … sex trafficking … terrorists … according to ICE Director Thomas Homan, 10 Muslim jihadists “a day” seek entry into the US, many detained and deported to their country of origin. You cannot protect those who pay the taxes if you don’t administer who gets to come in and when.
2. “Freedom, democracy and representative government require an actual border”: You cannot have democratic and representative government without a border. The body politic is willing to pay taxes, and support lawful uses of their money, because they know it represents THEIR VOTE and THEIR INTERESTS. If the voting population is constantly changing, then the actions taken by government officials do not necessarily represent the will of the people, or the one’s lawfully paying for those services.
1. “Costs exceed the benefits”: Families who work hard and assimilate represent the American dream and are an example of the greatness of America and how we take in ALL kids of immigrant groups. And yes, illegals often pay taxes – whether through fake social security numbers or sales taxes, any number of taxes not related to whether you are a citizen or not. The total is approximated at $12 billion. But hold on – illegals cost the government close to $123 billion, dwarfing the revenue they pay by a 10-to-1 ratio! Illegals immediately can claim such benefits as WIC, free/subsidized lunch, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), food stamps, Medicaid, and Limited English Proficiency (LEP) education in public schools. The dollar amount in emergency room bills that go uncollected is nearly a third of that total.
In the end, all decent Americans want an immigration system that has secured our border … but that also allows people who wish to immigrate to this country legally to become Americans and give them the opportunity to do so. It would be a system that also treats people fairly and humanely. That used to be a non-partisan issue.
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