It is pastime to deal with the crisis at the southern border

Published 8:18 am Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Neither side is telling the full story about the immigration mess at the Mexico border.
It’s hard to get an accurate and honest picture of what’s happening on our nation’s southern border and why, especially during what already is proving to be a long and bitter election season.
If you’re hearing and repeating the words of President Donald Trump and his supporters, you’re likely to believe the border is being flooded by criminals and terrorists disguised as terrified, malnourished children, eager to exploit a long-failed immigration system.
If you’re listening to Democratic candidates like Julian Castro, Beto O’Rourke and, frankly, almost any member of the progressive left (which is basically every candidate seeking the White House right now), you’re apt to think instead that the criminals are the uniformed border agents (who stand accused of ripping nursing babes from their mothers’ arms and forcing women to drink from toilets). Not to mention anyone brazen enough to defend them or suggest that maybe our border shouldn’t be a sieve.
Then there’s the matter of why so many migrants are coming here in the first place. Some would argue it’s to take advantage of our welfare state or our broken immigration system or to engage in criminal enterprises such as drug and sex trafficking. There’s evidence that some of this is true.
In fiscal 2018, border agents apprehended nearly 106,000 “family units,” meaning families that made their way illegally onto U.S. soil and, more often than not, claimed asylum. We’re only halfway through this year, and that number has tripled to more than 316,000.
Why is this happening? It is because everyone south of the border knows that to secure indefinite legal protection to stay in the U.S., they need simply to arrive with children, who by law must not be detained for more than 20 days. When the child is released by border patrol, as it inevitably will be, so too is the person who came with them. That’s why the number of apprehensions of supposed families dwarfs apprehensions of single adults.
News media and Trump’s critics blame administration cruelty for the crisis. They’ve started referring to detention centers as “concentration camps.” But the crisis is caused by our nonsensical asylum laws, which are well intentioned but incapable of dealing with the sort of massive run on the border we’re seeing today. Our laws act as a magnet for illegal immigrants, encouraging migrants to make dangerous journeys with children, across Mexico, and enter our country without documentation.
But our crisis is from South American and Central American migrants fleeing El Salvador or Venezuela and merely passing through Mexico. Most arrivals at our southern border are not Mexicans.
The question is, why didn’t they stop in Mexico? And why should they become this country’s responsibility? There are many good reasons to prefer the U.S. to Mexico — more jobs, more freedom, more welfare — but none of these are remotely valid reasons to grant asylum.
These are simple economic migrants, encouraged by massive loopholes in the law and the fecklessness of a Congress unwilling to doing anything about them.
It’s more likely than not that the people fleeing the so-called Northern Triangle of El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala are legitimately attempting to escape violence and fear. But that violence and fear is not the consequence of persecution due to race, religion, nationality, social group or political opinion, and it does not come at the hands of their governments, but of their fellow countrymen who carry out their criminal activities with impunity.
The problem is that House Democrats have little political incentive to work with Republicans and the White House on any measure that would reduce the flow of illegal immigrants. Democrats are loath to cooperate with the GOP while they, at the same time, hope to drag Trump down to defeat in the 2020 election. It is certainly true that most Democrats are at best muddled on the immigration question and at worst fully in favor of opening the southern border to anyone who wants to come into the country.
Alleviating our growing border crisis is impossible unless Congress changes our immigration laws. The emergency on the border is getting worse and worse as Congress sits on its hands and does absolutely nothing to help.

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