Posted on June 26, 2018
Crisis confronts immigration fallacies
The controversy over separating children from their detained illegal alien parents has not been one of the more successful episodes of the Trump administration. Or has it?
To be sure, President Trump has done a remarkably poor job of explaining the issue. First, he blamed Democrats for refusing to fix “their law,” a factual misstatement attributable to what might charitably be called the president’s fuzzy comprehension of American civics. It was a consent decree negotiated by the Clinton Justice Department that created the policy that unaccompanied minors be released “without necessary delay,” and a 2016 ruling by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that extended this policy toward all detained minors, accompanied or not. In Trumpian parlance, in which he often refers to judges “passing laws” and congressmen “signing laws,” an agreement made by a Democrat attorney general, and expanded by activist liberal judges, equals a Democrat law. (How’s that for “seriously, but not literally”?)
After days of insisting that he didn’t have the power to solve the problem through an executive order, Trump issued an executive order instructing that illegal alien families be kept together in family detention centers, which had been the policies of the Bush and Obama administrations prior to the circuit court ruling. By disallowing the detention of families, the court left only two options: separate the children from their parents, or revert to a wholesale catch-and-release policy. President Obama had chosen the latter. By calculatus eliminatus, so, now, has Trump.
Yet, for all of Trump’s day-to-day incoherence, he has scored two victories against the conventional wisdom of the harrumphing class. First, in their zeal to damage the president, the media have given extensive coverage to the large numbers of illegal aliens crossing our Southern border. In the absence of such a visual demonstration, arguments that the number of illegal border crossings is actually fairly small, and that enforcement should focus predominantly on people overstaying their visas, might sound reasonable. Today, they don’t.
In addition, the romanticized image of the honest, salt-of-the-earth “undocumented immigrant” has been soiled by the adult illegals’ willingness to subject their children to conditions that the liberal media are describing as Nazi-like. Those adult illegals could keep their families intact if they would accept immediate deportation. It’s their insistence on applying for asylum, for which they shouldn’t even be eligible, that triggers the requirement that their children be removed. In short, they’re the ones who are directly responsible for the splitting of their families, and they understood the consequences of their actions before taking them. That doesn’t make them very nice people.
Trump has taken lots of flak for referring to the “bad hombres,” like violent criminals, drug dealers and human traffickers, who have been sneaking across our border, but that is in fact how they get here. They aren’t among those illegals overstaying their visas. Heck, most of them couldn’t even get a visa.
The typical characterization of an illegal alien is someone whose one and only dishonest act was to sneak into our country, but apart from that, would be a model citizen if only he were allowed to be. Undoubtedly, there are those who fit that description, but when the only thing we know about a person is that he broke the law, he doesn’t deserve the benefit of the doubt that doing so was out of character. It’s far more reasonable to assume that someone who breaks one law to enter our country will have little compunction about breaking others. Even the incidence of nonviolent crimes like identity theft and social security fraud more than justifies that assumption.
Whatever the liberal media, and especially the network morning shows, think they’ve accomplished through two weeks of maudlin demagoguery, they haven’t. This is not to say there’s going to be a wall across our entire Southern border, with a “big, byoo-dee-full door” for those who want to enter “lllee-gally,” because there isn’t. And by now, it should go without saying that whatever border security we have, Mexico will not be paying for it. Nevertheless, the necessity of physical barriers across the border, combined with a greater commitment of manpower to border security, could hardly be made more obvious.
The pro-Trumpies would have us believe this is another example of his being an eleventeen-dimensional chess grand master, who is many steps ahead of the opposition at all times. More realistically, he’s the accidental beneficiary of the serial ineptitude of his enemies. It all works out the same in the end, though.
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