Economics, U.S. Economy

No easy way out on immigration

Image Credit: Shutterstock

Image Credit: Shutterstock

When it comes to immigration policy, President Obama and Congress’s chickens have come home to roost. Both parties’ failure to enact a coherent immigration policy has played a key role in the latest immigration crisis: tens of thousands of children streaming across the border from Central America.

These children are being driven by violence and poverty, and lured by the belief that they will get to stay in the United States. It’s not clear that this belief is false given that 11-plus million unauthorized immigrants live here, most of them for at least a decade. Migrants’ confusion over President Obama’s 2012 executive action allowing some young unauthorized immigrants to receive legal permission to stay and work here appears to have contributed to this belief as well.

None of the available solutions are good at this point. Deporting these children back to their violent, impoverished homelands seems heartless, particularly for those children whose parents are here. Allowing them to enter and stay here will spur even larger inflows. Diverting resources from interior enforcement to the border is unlikely to accomplish much and actually makes life easier for unauthorized immigrants already here. (Although I might argue that’s a good thing given those migrants’ willingness to work hard in jobs most Americans don’t want.) Spending $2 billion more on enforcing the border and detaining these children imposes yet another burden on American taxpayers. And the main effect of tougher border enforcement is to push migrants to even more dangerous crossing points, not to deter them altogether.

Enacting comprehensive immigration reform right now, as President Obama demanded yet again on Monday, won’t solve this crisis. But it will help forestall the next one. Addressing unauthorized immigration requires a multipronged approach. It requires dealing with those already here, either by giving them legal permission to stay, deporting them, or making them miserable enough that they leave. It also requires not encouraging more to enter. This requires not only border enforcement but also interior enforcement, especially at worksites, and a way for low-skilled workers—and their families—to enter legally. This last part is critical. Swaths of the US economy have come to rely on ready access to unauthorized workers. Creating more and better temporary worker visa programs would bolster the rule of law as well.

Policymakers contributed mightily to this problem by failing to adopt comprehensive immigration reform during not only the Obama administration but also the last Bush administration. It’s time the White House and Congress agreed on some sensible reforms. It may not improve the lives of the tens of thousands of Central American children enduring unimaginable hardships to get here, but it will help prevent this from happening again.

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4 thoughts on “No easy way out on immigration

  1. It is cruel and heartless to let them stay!
    1) here they will be exploited by politicians, employers, drug dealers, sex traffickers, and join an increasingly dependent under class;
    2) home nations are left with those children with less brains, get-up-and-go, and determination to succeed; don’t just think of what we get keeping them, think what their brothers and sisters are left with back home!
    3) think of those honest and gifted who applied and are waiting for legal immigration! We CONDEMN them to even longer waits (and possible denial of entry) every time we find room for an illegal.
    — what SHOULD be done —
    Teach them civics, law enforcement, human rights, OUR CONSTITUTION, and send them back to their own countries as missionaries of civilization, turning their home countries into models of progress and opportunity! …if after several years home working to save their brothers and sisters, I they still want to “bug out” an join us as Americans, they will be well qualified to apply and become LEGAL immigrants.

  2. Jews want to increase demographic diversity among gentiles to play ‘divide and conquer’ with them. ‘

    “For perhaps another generation, an optimistic forecast, the Jewish community is thus in a position where it will be able to divide and conquer and enter into selective coalitions that support our agendas.”

    If Jews love diversity so much, open Israel to non-Jews.

  3. All of these suggestions of fixing immigration reform will only treat the problem, not fix it. A band aid is not going to fix this. If the United States really wants to stop immigration inflow; the United States has to perform humanitarian efforts in the countries the children and families are coming from. As Dr. Perry has previously stated the war on drugs has failed. As long as these countries have high levels of violence, drug trafficking, and high unemployment; then the children will continue to come.

  4. We already have a good set of immigration laws.Our craven vote-buying Democrat politicians have stopped workplace enforcement (heard of any raids in the past three years?); Obama virtually enacted DREAM by fiat; and other Dem politicians have made the amnesty promise loud and clear. No wonder the young are pouring in.

    Restart the workplace raids, put the employers in prison, seize all their assets, pay their competitors bounties to turn them in, send the kiddies home by bus or ship, and impeach Obama for dereliction and violation of his oath of office.

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