Liddick: Don’t let an inartful mogul Trump immigration debate (column)
July 13, 2015
Kathryn Steinle. Bob Barry, Jr.. Michael Grubbs. Grant Ronnebeck. Jamie, Mary Ann and Shane Oxendine. Seven among thousands of Americans killed by illegal aliens since 2010 — 3,000 in motor-vehicle homicides alone. Four fell victim to Mexicans who had been deported several times. Three were killed by those the Obama administration calls "Dreamers." It seems that Donald Trump is on to something.
Trump may be inartful. He may be a shameless self-promoter, the clown shoes of the 2016 presidential campaign. But, that doesn't mean he's wrong about crime and those who enter or remain in this country unlawfully. So, our conversation should be about the problem, not the politician bold enough — and well-heeled enough — to stand up and speak the words no one else dared for reasons now perfectly clear: Too many love free speech, so long as it comports to their own point of view. But, those who deviate must be punished for speaking the truth.
Numbers help. According to the March 2, 2015 "ICE Weekly Departures and Detention Report," 168,680 convicted criminal aliens ordered deported remain at-large in the U.S. Another 179,018 convicted criminal immigrants with deportation cases pending also remained at large.
Since immigration is a federal, not a state matter — as the administration pointedly reminds states trying on their own to stem the flow Washington seems only too willing to abet — what has the federal government done for the past six years? We hear the endless mantra that this administration has deported more than its predecessor, but … In 2013, the Obama administration released 36,007 criminal immigrants who had nearly 88,000 convictions. Those included 193 homicide convictions, 426 sexual assault convictions, 303 kidnapping convictions and 1,075 aggravated assault convictions.
Given that and more, I would hope we can agree that our immigration system is so broken and jumbled that even Rube Goldburg would blanche. I would also hope that we can look honestly at the past and see what works — and what fails. Simpson-Mazzoli, with its promises to "solve" the problem of illegal immigration through amnesty and unfulfilled promises of border security, was a failure and should not be repeated. "Family reunification," given to us by über-Democrat Teddy Kennedy, is a similar failure. In contrast, for over a century of the greatest economic growth for this country, our immigration policies were based not on what made us feel good about ourselves but on a calculation of what was in the long-term interests of the United States. It's past time to return to that wisdom.
First, border security. A state that cannot control its own borders is not sovereign. So, no more walk-ins; and, if you come for a visit, you must leave. This will require much effort in terms of infrastructure and management systems, but border security infrastructure will provide many "shovel-ready jobs" and more.
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Second, a review of, and adjustments to, our programs for allowing temporary workers, visitors and students that takes into account our own needs, not just those of intending immigrants.
Third, addressing those millions already living here illegally. Since the argument usually goes something like, "They're contributing to the economy," here's a simple proposition: legal permanent residence without possibility of citizenship. If they came for employment or safety, they will be safe, "out of the shadows" and employed. This will require a minor change to immigration law for a limited number of people — but, it will reinforce an important message for those who come here: our country, our interests, our rules. As a companion piece, existing laws on employment of illegal workers must be enforced; cheaters must be caught and fined heavily. These provisions should be made incumbent on completion of border security measures.
En voilà! Real immigration reform. Republicans should introduce something like this in the next Congressional session, but they won't. Too many conflicting interests; too much demagoguery; too much fear. So, they must be made to by those who have an interest in reform that serves the national interest — not the interest of party or ethnic group.
We should all ask ourselves the question posed to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee by Jamiel Shaw, Sr. Testifying on February 25, 2015 about the 2008 death of his son Jamiel Jr., shot at random by illegal immigrant Pedro Espinoza in an apparent gang initiation. He asked: "Do 'black lives matter' only when they are shot by white men or police?"
It's a rhetorical question: Both we and Mr. Shaw know the answer. But, we can change the answer if we want; all we need do is tell our public servants to do so, in no uncertain terms. So, the real question is: Do lives matter more, or the politics of racial division?
We shall see, and soon.
Morgan Liddick writes a weekly column for the Summit Daily.
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