The issue of illegal migration into this nation is a festering problem that will not be solved by a wall built across the southern U.S. border. Recently, several hundred illegal migrants, mostly children, snuck through tunnels under part of a border fence in Arizona and immediately thereafter turned themselves in to U.S. Customs and applied for asylum. But even if these tunnels are a detectable stunt that somehow went unnoticed this time around amid the current chaos in Washington, the larger picture nevertheless dictates that a barrier is not the solution to this problem.
In the current standoff that has partially shut down the federal government, Washington D.C., the president has blinked first by offering Democrats a deal which would extend further temporary protections to DACA and other illegal aliens, in a desperate gesture that has only set his cause back. If a protective wall is supposed to seal off virtually all illegal immigrants who do not come through legal ports of entry, you basically sabotage the ideals of that strategy by capitulating to allow 12 million illegals to remain and pursue the larger goal of amnesty. Indeed, if this nation is currently hurting due to droves of illegal aliens, the goal should be to get them out as soon as possible — as well as to do everything possible to keep them out in the future.
The president’s larger problem, however — and the main reason he is not getting what he wants — is the fact that a border wall runs fundamentally contrary to the soul of this nation as embodied in the last words of our nation’s anthem: “Land of the Free, and the home of the brave.” If people around the globe no longer respect this nation, then even a wall will not stop the masses from exploiting our overly porous laws. Moreover, our vulnerability to incursions along the border runs so deep that even if the law were amended, our legal ports of entry will no doubt continue to be stormed by organized caravans constructed by leftist and revolutionary groups in South America — many whom have forged alliances with leftist groups here that seek to alter the culture of this nation.
The answer to this not-so-vexing problem is quite obvious. It is not building a wall, fence, barrier or whatever other name you have for something that is going to run contrary to this nation’s ideals.
The answer is to change those laws that badly need to be changed, and to tighten the bureaucratic noose around those who would seek to exploit America’s great legacy of compassion by storming our border with the aim of overwhelming our administrative capacities and illegally acquiring residence here.
The law should permit only those who come through legal ports of entry to be eligible for asylum, with few exceptions, perhaps, for those literally running for their lives. Drug or human traffickers who are caught after having crossed at illegal points of entry should be sent to Guantanamo Bay, while others caught smuggling at legal points of entry should be prosecuted and punished to the full extent of the law.
Instead of shutting down the government over something that is costly and controversial, the president should abstain from endorsing any piece of legislation or indulging in any legislative compromise favored by the Democrats until the immigration law is amended and adequate money is allotted to expand immigration-processing agencies at the border. If the Democrats balk at amending the immigration laws without any functional barrier in place, the president will then be able to claim the moral high ground and perhaps unilaterally accomplish the degree of protection on the border we need, using his emergency powers.
With the nation firmly at his back, the president could use his constitutional powers to expand ICE and ratchet up law enforcement at the border. He could also try to use his emergency powers to take official action against those politicians responsible for maintaining sanctuary cities if they still refuse to cooperate with ICE and continue to shield illegal aliens.
Immigration policies have to be consistent to be effective. You cannot advocate strongly for enhanced border security and consent to going easy on the undocumented without appearing weak before the nation. The urgent challenges we are experiencing to this nation’s sovereignty are way too serious to be playing “let’s make a deal.”
Those who produce strong arguments for rescinding the protections under DACA and expediting the deportations of all those foolish enough to dream about receiving a windfall through the violation of our laws are accurate and correct. And as President Trump also recently pointed out, birth laws that permit the offspring of illegal border crossers to claim citizenship have to be amended as well.
A border wall makes a nation appear to be weak, even if it accomplishes some of its goals. The president has cited Israel as a case where a wall has been effective in keeping out the unwanted, but it is still arguable whether the wall has reduced incidents of terrorism. The number of terror incidents against Jews in Israel have continued mainly due to the weak punishments and deterrents that are used against the terrorists themselves, as well as against their families and benefactors. Correspondingly, in the U.S., no policy has initiated more lawlessness and violent predation by aliens against U.S. citizens than Obama’s disdainful practice of ‘catch and release’ at the border.
Mostly, however, the wall in Israel was built as a political expediency to ward off the devastating effects of worldwide intransigence when it comes to agreeing to let Israel attend to its defense needs. In this country, the “good old USA,” the only thing preventing us from accomplishing what is needed is our own infighting. Unlike Israel, we do not even need an implacable enemy to retard our progress as a nation; we have only ourselves.
Lawrence Kulak is an attorney and freelance writer.