Hardhearted immigration policy enforcement at our southern border
According to the administration, most of those applying for refugee status at our southern border will be rejected. Referring specifically to unaccompanied minors, the president’s spokesman said, “It’s unlikely that most of those kids will qualify … They will be sent back.”
As expected, the administration’s media fans argued that if we don’t deport immigration offenders, we will only encourage more to come. An administration-friendly editorial stated, “There is nothing humanitarian in tacitly encouraging tens of thousands of children to risk their lives, often at the hands of cutthroat smugglers, to enter this country illegally.”
The same editorial approvingly noted that “the United States has sent more than 9,000 additional Border Patrol agents to the Southwest frontier, more than doubling the force there. It has built more than 600 miles of fencing; installed almost 12,000 underground sensors; and deployed scores of aircraft, drones and boats.”
If this is just what you would expect from the hardhearted Trump administration and its media supporters, get ready for a surprise.
The year was 2014, and it was Josh Earnest, President Obama’s press secretary, who expected few unaccompanied minors to be granted refugee status. The reliably-liberal Washington Post argued for tougher immigration laws in the editorial quoted above.
Democratic support for commonsense immigration policy appears not to depend on the policy itself but on who is promoting it. What was lauded when Obama was in charge is now anathema to the very same folks with the Trump administration at the helm.
While it is easy to see through Democratic hypocrisy, no less than the United Nations decided that it should weigh in on the subject.
Manfred Nowak, author of “Children Deprived of Liberty – The United Nations Global Study,” told reporters on Nov. 18, 2019, “We have more than — still more than — 100,000 children in migration-related detention in the United States of America.”
His apparent indictment of Trump administration policies was gleefully reported by Reuters and Agence France-Presse and quickly parroted by other anti-Trump media.
What could be better than international criticism of Trump policies, bringing disgrace on his presidency?
Getting the facts right could be better.
The report was withdrawn the very next day when the media discovered Nowak’s 100,000-child number came from 2015. The Obama administration had held that many children at one time or another over the course of the year. To quote Mark Twain, “lies, damned lies and statistics.”
In previous columns, I have advocated for significant increases in legal immigration. Our country benefits from the influx of people from other nations who come here and contribute to our economy and our culture.
Our need for additional workers has never been greater with far more job openings than unemployed workers. As baby boomers retire in increasing numbers, this need will continue to grow.
And while I think Trump is wrong to limit legal immigration, I credit two Trump initiatives that have diminished the number of at-risk people at our southern border.
First, he prodded Mexico into blocking Central American migrants at its border with Guatemala instead of allowing them to traverse the country to our border. Many have been preyed upon, even attacked by so-called “coyotes” who smuggle illegals into the U.S. often abandoning them in the desert.
Second – and with the Supreme Court’s interim approval – those from countries other than Mexico seeking asylum are disqualified from entry unless they first have asked for asylum there, adding pressure on Mexico to reduce the flow.
On the negative side of Trump’s ledger, he has dashed any hope of near-term legislation with his crass demeaning of Mexican immigrants as rapists and murderers. Any progress is unlikely until after the 2020 election, if then.
Our country needs bipartisan immigration legislation that reduces the need for the dangerous, life-threatening process of traversing Mexico and crossing illegally into the U.S.
I don’t blame Obama or Trump, or Bush or Clinton before them, for the migrants that have appeared at our southern border over past decades. As Ronald Reagan declared, “America is, and always will be, a shining city on a hill.”
Our “shining city” will continue to be a beacon to all seeking freedom and opportunity. Creating effective and comprehensive immigration policy is a people issue and shouldn’t be a partisan political football.
The viewpoints expressed above are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The Independent.
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