Opinion | Morgan Liddick: Isn’t Trump just enforcing the law?
On Your Right
It’s impossible to understand the open-borders Banshees currently howling about “family separation” and “tent cities for kids” without grasping the psychological phenomenon of projection, wherein the subject attributes characteristics she or he finds objectionable in him- or herself to others.
No, separating families is not ideal. But let’s identify the actual culprit: the child’s parents, who crossed the U.S. border illegally with child in tow or worse, sent their minor children to cross the border alone in locations where doing so poses grave risks. Persons committing illegal acts are responsible for the subsequent penalty, not those who are enforcing the law.
The president’s claims that separations occur because of a “Democrat law” seem overblown, particularly if he is referencing the “William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008,” which contained a provision guaranteeing formal deportation hearings for child immigrants without family in the United States, who would be held by the Department of Health and Human Services pending such a hearing. When a family enters the U.S. illegally and is apprehended, separation occurs when the parent or parents are charged with illegal entry and held pending adjudication; minor children are considered “unaccompanied,” and are referred to HHS for care until the case is decided.
Given that, it is true that President Trump’s policy, not the 2008 law, is “responsible” for family separation. He could simply have winked at illegal entries, as previous administrations did, allowing the nation’s laws to be mocked. He could have continued the “catch and release” policy of the Obama administration, which saw almost 40 percent of illegal entrants released pending trial simply vanish into the woodwork and resulted in a backlog of almost a million unserved deportation orders.
Instead, the president chose to enforce the laws Congress made to protect the sovereignty and security of the United States. That he is now being criticized as heartless by those who embraced the aforementioned 2008 reauthorization act says much about his critics’ mercurial temperament and poor short-term memory. Or perhaps about their cynicism and willingness to sabotage our laws to achieve political goals. Because what the open-borders crowd dare not mention as they savage the president for his unwillingness to turn a blind eye to lawbreakers is this: if President Trump could end “family separation” by ordering the Border Patrol to ignore the law — a violation of his oath of office, and of his Constitutional duty to “take Care that the laws be faithfully executed” — so the parents of the children in question could stop it as well — simply by not entering the United States illegally.
Fortunately, there is another solution. Two comprehensive immigration reform bills are now moving forward in the House of Representatives. One, authored by Virginia’s Bob Goodlatte and other House conservatives, ends “chain migration” and the “diversity lottery,” focusing immigration criteria on an applicant’s potential contribution to the United States. It provides $25 billion for border security including a wall and more Border Patrol agents; a three-year, renewable legal residency for DACA recipients; and much more. This bill was introduced in January and has seen intense discussion, negotiation and maneuvering since. It will receive no Democrat votes but would probably be signed if it reached Donald Trump’s desk.
The second is a bill drafted in Speaker Paul Ryan’s office closet. It saw the light of day last week, and was immediately attacked as “amnesty,” which is one of its elements. It also seeks to amend, not end, chain migration, although it looks to replace the current “diversity” lottery with the search for skilled immigrants. It is less enthusiastic about border security, although it does provide for biometric scanning both on entry and exit. It will receive no Democrat votes and its chances on the President’s desk are 50-50.
One thing holding this bill back is the whiff of desperation clinging to it: Ryan and other Chamber-of-Commerce Republicans see this as a do-or-die effort, since their faction of the GOP has one chance in three of retaining control, caught as they are between the Democrats’ radical leftists and the increasing power of the conservative right.
Democrats who really believe what they say about “fairness” and “justice” might want to vote for Ryan’s bill. It provides the “path to citizenship” they say they want, and it is immigration “reform,” albeit writ small. But they won’t. Blinded by hatred of Trump and by the Siren song of millions of new voters their amnesty and open borders policies will bring after they take control of Congress and impeach Trump, they will ignore the opportunity to do real good for real people right now. And when their dreams — and the dreams of those who once again trusted in them come to naught, they will do the usual: blame someone else.
Morgan Liddick writes a weekly column for the Summit Daily. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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