In Just a few days President Trump will give his State of the Union message to Congress and the nation. While there are many issues at hand, my guess is that immigration will be front and center in Trump’s speech. Not just DACA, not just chain migration and the lottery system, but what the brilliant minds on the Los Angeles Times Editorial board call Trump’s “silly wall on the border with Mexico.”
Oh, the Silliness of it All
The hubris and snobbish disdain of the elite American leftist media never disappoint. Imagine the vulgarity of a Border wall? Why it might even ruin their view. How ghastly!And so those keen and clever minds at the L.A. Times have given the thumbs down to the administration’s comprehensive immigration reform:
Congress should reject this deal out of hand. We are deeply sympathetic to the Dreamers and believe they should be afforded a (much faster) path to citizenship on their own merits, not as part of a ransom paid for policies rooted in economic misconceptions and xenophobia.
Honestly, anything with a modicum of common sense is xenophobic to these people. In the White House Framework on Immigration Reform & Board Security are the following:
- $25 billion trust fund for the border wall system, ports of entry/exit, and northern border improvements and enhancements.
- Close crippling personnel deficiencies by appropriating additional funds to hire new DHS personnel, ICE attorneys, immigration judges, prosecutors and other law enforcement professionals.
- Hiring and pay reforms to ensure the recruitment and retention of critically-needed personnel.
- Deter illegal entry by ending dangerous statutorily-imposed catch-and-release and by closing legal loopholes that have eroded our ability to secure the immigration system and protect public safety.
- Ensure the detention and removal of criminal aliens, gang members, violent offenders, and aggravated felons.
- Ensure the prompt removal of illegal border-crossers regardless of country of origin.
- Deter visa overstays with efficient removal.
The Guest that Won’t Leave
Embedded in that last dictum regarding visa overstays is the crux of the matter. Currently, 40% of all U.S. visitors permitted in the country extend their welcome by ignoring their exit date. Then it becomes a game of cat and mouse to track them down and put them on homebound transportation. One can see the time, expense and frankly the impracticality of this situation.
Although this 40% figure is not easy to come by because exact data on is not available, experts in the field say the percentage of visa overstays has been hovering in the 40 – 45% percent range for decades. Here is where the L.A. Times makes a cogent point: “Besides, more and more of those living here without authorization arrive legally but then don’t leave. No wall addresses that.”
Options on the Table
Point taken. A wall will not keep out those you have already let in. While the White House immigration framework discusses “efficient removal” of these people, it remains short on specifics. Honestly, what are the options here? Shall we physically embed a chip in these people, add some sort of ankle bracelet to track them? It all seems not quite so handy or even palatable for that matter. Of course, one could use threats as is done with the migrant community. But that’s not terribly effective if one plans on staying in perpetuity.
All this harkens one back to the wit and wisdom of that most brilliant of fictional characters, the Dowager Countess Violet Grantham of Downton Abbey who said, “No guest should be admitted without the date of their departure settled.” Thus the U.S. Congress and the Trump administration are best to extrapolate on the Countess’s message and find a way to remove those who overstay their welcome from the premises — efficiently and with, shall we say, some dignity. Even the L. A. Times couldn’t call that “silly.”