Why have we had so much trouble dealing with illegal immigration in this country? For years, it has seemed like an unsolvable problem. Both Democrat and Republican lawmakers have been unable to find a solution, and illegal immigration has continued to be an issue.
But it’s not so bad, is it? Doesn’t every nation deal with illegal immigration?
Not in the same way that we do. We’re one of the few countries that are failing to limit illegal immigration. Other countries have had much more success in controlling the flow of illegals.
Mexico is one example. Even though the Mexican government has denounced us when we have attempted to address our problem with illegal immigration, they have demonstrated that they are more than willing to administer justice to their own illegal immigrants.
In fact, President Enrique Pena Nieto has been one of our most outspoken critics when it comes to illegal immigration in the U.S. In a piece written for International Business Times, Nieto is quoted as saying,
“There are still states that have not evolved so much as California, that still skimp on recognition and, even worse, the rights of immigrants,” the Los Angeles Times quoted him as saying. “Those who still believe and bet for the exclusion and discrimination or the rejection of diversity … I only have one thing to say: the future, and a very near future, will demonstrate your ethical mistake. Time will show we’re right.”
Nieto is not the only Mexican President to criticize our illegal immigration policy. When Arizona decided to update their immigration laws, former Mexican President Felipe Calderon had nothing but criticism. He claimed that Arizona’s approach “opens the door to intolerance, hate, and discrimination.” Yes, he actually wagged his finger and told us we were wrong for cracking down on illegal immigration.
This is the pinnacle of hypocrisy. Why? Because Mexico’s immigration laws are decidedly tougher than the United States’ immigration laws. They treat their illegal immigrants far more harshly. As a matter of fact, Mexico deported more illegal immigrants than the United States in 2014.
According to Breitbart News,
From January to December, Mexico deported 107,199 Central Americans immigrants by land, while the U.S. only deported 104,688 illegal immigrants during that time period. Of those deported by land from Mexico, 43,456 are from Honduras, 41, 731 are from Guatemala, 20,988 are from El Salvador, and 1,024 are from Nicaragua, information released by the Guatemalan Migration Office to Mexican news outlets reveals.
So, does this mean that Mexico is guilty of opening the door to intolerance, hate, and discrimination? Something tells me they don’t see it that way.
Of course, this isn’t the only example of Mexico’s hypocrisy on illegal immigration. While criticizing our immigration policies, they also help illegal immigrants in the United States avoid deportation. It’s a classic case of “do as we say, not as we do.”
Mexico does not issue green cards, food stamps, or a pathway to citizenship. They don’t have raucous debates in their government about the plight of illegal immigrants. They just enforce their laws.
Article 32 of Mexico’s constitution bans residents that are not native born from holding sensitive jobs. They are not allowed to join Mexico’s military during times of peace, and the President of Mexico has the right to deport any foreigner at will. Immigrants are also not allowed to participate in Mexican politics.
So, what happens to illegal immigrants who are caught? The consequences are severe. According to Jerry Seper of the Washington Times,
Under the Mexican law, illegal immigration is a felony, punishable by up to two years in prison. Immigrants who are deported and attempt to re-enter can be imprisoned for 10 years. Visa violators can be sentenced to six-year terms. Mexicans who help illegal immigrants are considered criminals.
Mexico is also able to deport immigrants who are found to be detrimental to “economic or national interests.” Needless to say, it’s not a good idea to try and enter Mexico illegally.
Ironically enough, while Mexico derides the U.S. for its plan to build a wall, they are also planning to build their own wall on their southern border. This is because Mexico has an illegal immigration problem of its own, despite their stringent laws.
The United States also has strict immigration laws. We have laws that address illegal immigration and deportation. We even have laws that require jail time for certain types of offenders.
When an illegal immigrant comes into our country, they can be fined or imprisoned for up to six months. For each subsequent offense, they can be fined and imprisoned for up to two years. There are even other laws that levy additional penalties for illegal immigrants that continue to re-enter the country if they have been convicted of particular types of crimes.
Immigrants who have been previously deported for conviction on three or more misdemeanors that involve drugs, felonies, or crimes against a person can be imprisoned for up to ten years. This also applies to immigrants who commit nonviolent crimes. Those who are deported for an aggravated felony can be imprisoned for up to 20 years.
So, what’s the problem then? We have robust immigration laws, right?
Well, the problem is that we simply don’t enforce these laws. Our system functions in a way that impedes our justice system from putting these laws into action. This was particularly true under the Obama and Bush administrations. It is why illegal immigration has become such a huge issue.
One of the ways that we undermine the effective implementation of our immigration laws is a practice called “catch and release.” This method involves releasing detained illegal immigrants while they await their court date. The problem here is obvious, right? When we release illegal immigrants, the vast majority do not show up for their court date, and they continue to remain in the country.
Another issue is sanctuary cities. These are cities that refuse to comply with federal law regarding illegal immigration. Under federal law, local authorities are required to alert immigration enforcement agencies when they have a suspect whose immigration status is in question. Sanctuary cities shield illegal immigrants by ignoring this requirement.
The primary difference between Mexico and the United States isn’t the immigration laws that they have on the books. It’s the willingness to enforce their laws. Mexico has shown that they are willing to prosecute illegal immigrants for breaking their laws.
In the past, the most commonly used path for illegal immigrants to gain entry into the United States was jumping the border. But that’s not the case now. Mark Krikorian of the National Review writes,
This is the most important — albeit buried — finding in a paper published this year by the Center for Migration Studies, an expansionist outfit run by the Scalabrinian Catholic order that nonetheless does serious work. Co-authored by Robert Warren, head of statistics for the old INS, the paper finds that the share of overstays among new illegal aliens has been rising pretty steadily since the 1980s and surpassed border infiltrators in 2008. The paper’s most recent estimate is for 2012 when nearly 60 percent of new illegal immigrants are believed to have entered legally on some sort of visa (or visa-waiver status, if they’re from a developed country) and then just stayed on after their time expired.
Building a wall might help, but it won’t do much good if we are not implementing the laws we already have. The Trump administration has taken a step in the right direction. Trump has issued executive orders designed to empower law enforcement agencies to administer justice. Simply allowing these agencies to do their jobs will certainly limit the flow of illegal immigrants into this country.