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The Public Slate


Immigration Reform Is Not Possible

Immigration Reform Is Not Possible
June 30
14:59 2014

Illegal immigration in the United States has been a systemic problem for decades. It was a problem that former President Ronald Reagan attempted to address with the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, when illegal immigrants numbered approximately 5 million. It was intended to shore up the border once and for all and permit any remaining illegal immigration problem to be adequately managed by the Border Patrol. That immigration reform bill did little to curb the influx of illegal aliens and could possibly have contributed to the estimated 12 million who are in the U.S. today.

Aside from the amnesty portion of the bill that provided a pathway to citizenship for those who were already in the country prior to 1982, the bill did enhance some border enforcement efforts. Those efforts, however, resulted in the expansion of illegal border crossing locations outside the usual places such as those near El Paso, TX and San Diego, CA, making enforcement exponentially more difficult. During debates in Congress, the bill had been so significantly diluted that by the time it reached President Reagan for his signature, it essentially had no chance of accomplishing the desired results, and history bears that out.

In 2014, illegal immigration has taken on a new dimension in the form of children, both accompanied by adults and unaccompanied, flooding across the border daily by the hundreds and surrendering to U.S. border officials. The government is projecting an estimated 90,000 children from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico crossing the border illegally in 2014. However, according to Senator Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), there are between 300 and 400 unaccompanied children entering the U.S. “nightly” in just the southern Rio Grande Valley area alone. Simple mathematics reveals the rate of even 300 illegal crossings into the U.S. per day would result in a staggering 109,000 per year from just one location. This figure represents a number that far exceeds the government’s projections.

Juxtaposed to previous election cycles, from a humanitarian standpoint the 2014 mid-term election cycle will likely command greater attention by the candidates who will be compelled at the very least to discuss the issue with some gravity. However, with Congress’s track record for complete failure with regards to solving the immigration problem, there is little reason to justify the slightest optimism that 2014 will be any different. Nonetheless, the question to be asked is, “Did this flood of unaccompanied children independently and simultaneously decide on their own to infiltrate the United States? Common sense dictates otherwise. So, besides the monumental failure of the U.S. government to protect its own borders since the day it was established as a sovereign nation, what is really going on down there? President Obama is calling it a “humanitarian crisis.” However, there is no plan and no information forthcoming from the administration once again, with respect to how it will resolve this “humanitarian crisis,” coming from what was promised by candidate Barack Obama, to be the most transparent government in America’s history.

Immigration reform, like tax reform, has always been seen as a possible campaign issue of political hopefuls. But just like tax reform, immigration reform has proven itself too big a problem to fix with no candidate willing to put their careers on the line to actually confront it in a meaningful way. Politicians have turned their back on the real harm being done to the U.S. by its failure to defend the borders and when confronted, attempt to side step the real issue as Nancy Pelosi (D-California) did recently, by claiming the crisis is “an opportunity” for the United States to help people. It is almost unthinkable that this and all previous administrations do not consider the literal invasion occurring at the southern border a threat to national security and to the country’ s economic well-being. Enforcement efforts and the defense of America’s borders have been token at best.

Certain inferences can be made from the government’s failure to defend its borders. The first is political as has been documented by the watering down of the Reagan Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. Democrats have largely been the recipients of the Hispanic vote, which represents the fastest growing and second largest demographic in the United States. It can be said that Democrat candidates have a vested interest first, in not alienating the Hispanic vote by cracking down on border protection, and secondly, their desire to increase the number of Democrat voters. Representative Steve King, (R-Iowa), went so far as to credit Barack Obama’s victory in the 2012 presidential election to the Reagan amnesty act. King stated the act resulted in a quantifiable boost in Hispanic voters and led to 15 million votes for Barack Obama, a number that is larger than Obama’s 2012 margin of victory.

Additionally, the government’s demonstrated low priority, or no priority being given to border security is contradictory to its anti-terrorist efforts. Would there be any doubt as to the feasibility that Mexico would be a plausible entry point for terrorists and /or the introduction of a biological or nuclear weapon of mass destruction into the United States? Or is the government choosing to foolishly gamble with the lives of the American citizenry who have trusted it to protect them? Who will be blamed for the next 9/11-like attack on American soil after the dust settles and the realization becomes clear that it could have, and should have been prevented?

Another inference that can be made is that the government is intellectually incapable of defending the border by its unwillingness to enact legislation that would effectively accomplish that objective. It has also failed to remedy an antiquated provision in the Citizenship Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which grants automatic citizenship to any person born in the United States regardless of the citizenship or immigration status of the parents. In 2008, there were a total of 4.3 million children born in the United States.  This rare flaw in the U.S. Constitution paved the way for approximately 340,000, or nearly 8 percent of the all children born that year, to be born of unauthorized immigrants in the United States, as cited in a Pew Hispanic Center report.

The third troubling inference is related to the cheap labor that illegal immigration represents to capitalist America. It has often been argued that there are some jobs in America that are simply beneath the dignity of so many citizens for the wage being offered by companies to perform those jobs. If that assumption was true, then what does it say about Americans who would prefer to collect welfare than earn an honest wage?

What does it mean that the United States government has been derelict in its duty to defend its sovereignty at the most rudimentary level directly at its doorstep? Notwithstanding the voluminous backlog these unaccompanied child invaders have caused at points of entry, the concern is to address this humanitarian crisis by processing the border crossers and releasing them with instructions to return to court at some appointed date and time. There is no explanation other than to conclude the United States government, in its mockery of immigration laws, has no desire whatsoever to defend the border against illegal immigration. The length of time during which the government has blatantly ignored the issue and refused to confront the problem with viable solutions has spanned generations. The national security and socio-economic consequences of this negligence are mind-numbing.

This latest debacle at America’s border illustrates a much broader failure on the part of the government to defend its borders, protect its citizens, and to manage and preserve its dwindling resources. Regardless of what the government says, all evidence points to a conscious decision not to confront the illegal immigration hemorrhage occurring at its border, which in effect renders reform an impossibility.

Editorial By Mark Politi

Washington Post
NY Post
USA Today
The Daily Beast
US Census Bureau
Pew Hispanic Organization
Business Insider


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Mark Politi

Mark Politi

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