The BorderLine is a weekly Daily Signal feature examining everything from the unprecedented illegal immigration crisis at the border to immigration’s impact on cities and states throughout the land. We will also shed light on other critical border-related issues like human trafficking, drug smuggling, terrorism, and more.
There is a thread running through progressive ideology that explains a lot about the state of our country and the world: the Left doesn’t like laws enforced or people punished for doing wrong.
Take the U.S. southern border, where we’re seeing record numbers of illegal aliens “encountered,” often with 5,000 a day just let go into the interior of the United States. The unmitigated chaos is so bad, it sometimes gets covered by a legacy media that usually prefers to ignore reporting on the border.
Americans can see that President Joe Biden’s strategy of pouring billions into “root causes of illegal immigration” aid to Latin America, inventing bogus “parole” programs to bring inadmissible aliens into the United States off the books, and releasing even more aliens caught at the border, has utterly failed.
Biden’s excuse for releasing and paroling millions, instead of detaining or sending them back to their home countries, is to pretend they are all asylum-seekers. To qualify for asylum, they’d have to prove they are fleeing persecution at home. Just living in a poor country and wanting a job in the U.S. isn’t enough, or else why would we still bother to have visas?
The biggest lie Secretary of Homeland Security Mayorkas keeps telling is this: “We will work to remove, as quickly as possible, those who do not qualify for relief under our laws.” But deportations dropped to 72,177 in fiscal 2022, a quarter of the 2019 total. Though badly overworked, immigration judges still order over 20,000 illegal immigrants deported every month (after due process). The math reveals the truth: the Biden administration won’t ever enforce the law and deport most failed asylum-seekers.
Republican presidential candidates all campaign to restore sanity to the border. If reelected, Donald Trump promises to reemphasize deportations. In reaction, leftist national media, politicians, and activists are freaking out.
But rather than being some dystopian nightmare, this would simply begin a return to historical norms and restore the rule of law. Applicants who lack any legal right to remain in the United States must be returned to their home countries. By failing to do that, the system has lost all credibility. That has sent a clear message to the world that if they show up at our border, they will get in—and stay for years.
Former Immigration and Customs Enforcement chief Tom Homan gets that. “Part of due process is executing the final decision of the court,” he said. Like every American who believes in the rule of law, Homan wonders, “If the court orders aren’t going to mean anything, what the hell are we doing? We might as well take the Border Patrol off the border and shut down the immigration courts because, obviously, there’s no enforcement of our immigration law.”
Enforcing laws passed by Congress is hardly an extreme position. A Pew poll last year found that 73% of Americans thought it “very” or “somewhat” important to “increase security along the U.S.-Mexico border.” A CBS poll in September showed 66% of Americans disapproving “of the way Joe Biden is handling immigration” and only 34% approving. A recent Fox News poll of national voters showed 67% of respondents “support deporting those here illegally.” A CBS poll of likely Republican voters before the upcoming primaries showed 80% of New Hampshire voters and 85% of Iowa voters “want a GOP nominee who’d deport millions of undocumented immigrants.”
Even among Texas Hispanics, 40% surveyed “agreed with the idea of deporting undocumented immigrants.” Hispanic support for a controlled border is likely growing with each day’s mass release of illegal aliens into already poor U.S. border communities and with each preventable crime against American citizens and legal residents.
The idea that if you don’t enforce laws, people ignore them, applies in many other contexts, too.
In Washington, D.C., U.S. Attorney Matthew Graves didn’t prosecute 67% of the suspects arrested by police last year. Meanwhile, violent crime rose 39%, murder 34%, robbery 68%, and carjacking 88%. Many of those carjackers are teens who should be in school. In possibly related news, 60% of Washington high schoolers were “chronically absent” last year, and in one high school, almost 90% of the students were “chronically truant.”
In the Gulf of Aden in the Middle East, Iranian-backed Houthi rebels are lobbing drones and rockets at commercial and U.S. Navy ships, which, so far, have kept them from hitting the targets. Why do the Houthis continue their provocation with the world’s mightiest navy at their doorstep? Because they can. They fire rockets; we send strongly worded statements. Does anyone doubt that a significant response from the United States could put an end to this terrorist hazard? But on it goes. Oil and shipping companies are rerouting ships around the threat. Longer journeys mean more time and fuel, passed on to consumers through higher prices.
Portland, Oregon, decriminalized drug use in 2020. Fentanyl pills—all coming through Mexico with ingredients from China—sell for only a dollar or two, down from three times that in 2020. (This is one notable area where “Bidenomics” actually lowered the price of something.) Kevin Dahlgren has worked with the homeless for 30 years and calls Portland “the largest open-air drug zone in state history.” He has written, “I have found more dead people and seen more overdoses this year than in all the other years of my working and volunteering, combined.”
In Washington state, theft up to $750 is only a misdemeanor, and just like in big California cities, prosecutors often choose not to prosecute shoplifting. In November, unionized workers went on strike at three Seattle-area Macy’s, saying the chain “is not doing enough to address shoplifting, violent shoppers, and other safety threats to workers and customers.” One worker said that when she called police to report “a repeat shoplifter that even law enforcement was familiar with,” she was suspended without pay.
The above examples have this in common: If you enforce laws, people obey them more. It’s human nature.
When it comes to immigration, conservatives want the current law enforced before we talk about reforming the system. That means raising the bar for asylum claims to weed out applicants who are gaming the system, ending mass release of illegal crossers at the border, and limiting Biden’s rampant abuse of immigration parole.
Even if they want more legal immigration for labor needs, most elected Democrats can see the distinction between workers brought in on visas Congress has authorized and aliens illegally entering over a border Biden has left wide open. For instance, while calling for more low-skilled labor, Debbie Dingell, D-Mich., said, “We need to bring some of these people—immigrants—but we don’t want illegals.”
Let’s have the debate about the future of immigration—what’s fair, what’s possible, what’s in the national interest. But not under the extortionate threat of tens of thousands of aliens crossing our border every single day.
Anyone serious about border security or immigration reform knows that the only way to reduce the current uncontrolled mass migration—with its collateral evils of dead migrants, American fentanyl overdoses, and collapsing city budgets—is to restore credible enforcement.
That shouldn’t be a partisan political issue. Otherwise, like Portland’s drug addicts, Washington’s carjackers, and Houthi rocketeers, illegal aliens won’t be deterred from continuing to break the law.
Read Other BorderLine Columns:
Is There Really a Link Between Climate Change and Mass Migration?
Biden Prefers to Put Your Safety at Risk and Play Recidivism Roulette With Criminal Aliens
Memo from McAllen—A Look Inside the Mayorkas Migration Machine
Will Biden Going Soft on Venezuelan Dictator Lead to Increase in Immigrants to US?
Senate Hearing Shows—Again—Why Mayorkas Should Be Impeached
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Author: Simon Hankinson