Libertarian columnist Steve Chapman writes that the recent increase in illegal immigration has come in spite of supposedly strong measures to prevent this violation of our immigration laws. From this development he concludes that trying to stop illegal immigration law a futile pursuit.
Fact Checker: More likely he labels it futile because he doesn’t believe in it in the first place. Libertarians such as Chapman seem to believe that money-making is the only pursuit that really matters. And if borders and national sovereignty get in the way of that endeavor, they need to be disregarded.
In any case, it simply isn’t true that immigration enforcement has grown stronger in recent years. It has grown weaker. To make his case, Chapman cites stronger border control, making reference to legislation authorizing 700 miles of double fencing on the Mexican border. He fails to note, however, that 32 miles were actually constructed. He also cites a doubling of the Border Patrol since 2000, but fails to note that deployment of agents is often less than effective. It may be by design, as charged by the National Border Patrol Council, the union representing Border Patrol agents. (See link below.)
Border security, however, is only one component of an effective deterrent to illegal immigration. Just as important is effective internal enforcement to apprehend and deport illegal aliens inside the U.S. It is here where enforcement is grossly ineffective. As a case in point, about 40 percent of illegal aliens in the country did not illegally cross the border. They came legally on temporary visas, and remained in violation of the law.
In 1996 Congress passed legislation to create a system to track the arrival and entry of visa holders to prevent overstay. Today, however, that system is not effectively in place. In 1996 Congress also authorized a means for employers to check the legal status of employees to prevent resident illegal aliens from taking jobs. After years of delay, that finally came into being as the E-Verify system. But thanks to pressure from cheap labor interests, it still isn’t mandatory.
On top of these failings, the Obama Administration has conducted a systematic effort to sabotage the efforts of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to conduct internal enforcement. The union representing ICE agents has tried to expose this sabotage. (See link below.)
To conceal what it was doing, the administration repeatedly claimed that it was conducting “record deportations” of illegal aliens, and assertion cited by Chapman. Yet even President Obama himself, in a moment of candor, conceded that the claim was “a little deceptive.” In truth, it came about through statistical manipulation. (See link below.)
To assist internal enforcement, a number of states passed legistion against illegal immigration. But consistent with its policy of undermining enforcement, the Obama Administration took legal action against to prevent those state laws from going into effect. To some extent it succeeded.
Furthermore, President Obama unilaterally declared last year that all illegal aliens in the Dream Act category could apply for legal residency (but not citizenship). Approximately 500,000 have done so. Since taking office, the president has urged Congress to grant amnesty and a path to citizenship to all illegal aliens residing in the U.S., who now number almost 12 million.
It really isn’t hard to understand why illegal immigration is increasing. With enforcement decreasing and the administration tossing out the welcome mat, it’s no surprise at all.