Why do we make things so much harder than they need to be?
If there is one thing that all reasonable Americans should be able to agree on, it is that we have a crisis on the southern border that cannot continue. When even the New York Times has admitted (here, and here) that this has become a “crisis” (albeit only weeks after mercilessly criticizing Trump for saying the same thing), we should all move past the point of pretending this is not a problem.
And more than that, we should also stop pretending we do not know how to fix it.
I have advocated in the past for a comprehensive solution to the immigration crisis, that involves a reasonable path to legal status for those already here, who follow the laws, and are not a burden to others. I renew that here.
But that has to be a one-time solution, and it only addresses those persons already here. We also have to stop people from coming here illegally in the first place. We can’t keep the floodgates open and expect our economy and society to perpetually absorb millions of the world’s most unqualified. We need to stop it, so we can limit immigration to the most deserving, most skilled, most needed, and most resourceful legal immigrants. Not reduce it. Not mitigate it. Stop it. And yes, we can.
But the solution is not just building a wall, as Trump wants, and it’s certainly not making all immigration legal, as the Left wants. The first does not do enough to solve the problem, and the second embraces the problem as the solution.
The answer is simply to follow the three “D’s” that should be central to any serious immigration reform: defend, defund, and deter.
First, we have to defend the border.
And a wall is a critical component of that. But it’s not the only component. We need men guarding it, and we need aerial and electronic surveillance to see what’s on the other side of it and what’s trying to come over so we can respond quickly. It means additional security at points of entry so many more vehicles can be searched much more thoroughly. And we need to defend the coasts, too, which means a more robust Coast Guard, with smaller, faster craft to stop the constant flow of drug submarines and semi-submersibles. This is all going to cost money, which we can free up when we…
Defund illegal immigration.
We need to remove the monetary incentive — indeed, all incentives — from coming here illegally in the first place. Illegal immigration from Mexico and Central and South America is a relatively recent phenomenon in our country’s history. But these countries did not suddenly move next to us. They did not suddenly fall behind us economically. What changed is that we developed a larger welfare state that attracted new immigrants, while our government stopped enforcing the laws for political reasons. It was like opening up a store and saying “everything is free, shoplifters will not be prosecuted!” Of course we got looted, now to the tune of $50 billion per year at the federal level, and another $50 billion at the state and local levels! If we take away the benefits of coming here illegally, take away the free money and free healthcare and free schools and free housing, a large part of the problem will solve itself because there will be no reason to show up in the first place. American welfare money should be for American citizens, period, full stop, and if some states are not going to cooperate, then their federal grant money should be curtailed accordingly.
Defunding also means eliminating future birthright citizenship for children of people who are here illegally, which is the ultimate welfare program. Our birthright citizenship law was designed to ensure that slaves and their children were treated as equal citizens after the Civil War, not to create a birthright citizenship tourism industry where pregnant women fly over here just to have a kid and go home, or an anchor baby system used by illegals to subvert immigration laws.
And because defending and defunding is not enough, we need a strong deterrent.
The rest of the world needs to know that if you come here illegally, for whatever reason, you will go to prison on even a first offense. No more of this tag and release nonsense. Watch this video here, where this illegal says he keeps coming over and keeps getting arrested, and even if he gets caught ten times he’s going to keep doing it because there’s no reason not to. That needs to end. If you come here illegally once, you should face a mandatory jail sentence of six months. Do it a second time, and you can calculate your sentence in terms of years instead of months. And that has to be true for people who are here illegally by virtue of overstaying their visas. We need a zero-tolerance policy, since the honor system is not working, and we could never possibly have the manpower to track everyone. This simply cannot go unpunished anymore. People need to police themselves, and they won’t do that unless they will face severe punishments.
It also means revising asylum laws such that illegal entry would act as an automatic bar to all asylum applications. And we have to make it clear that asylum has to be for more than poverty, because everyone of the over 600 million people living south of Texas lives in poverty, and we cannot be their welfare system. Asylum must be specific only to pre-approved circumstances for political dissidents, from an immediately neighboring country, for a very limited number of people, for a limited period of time, and the applicants have to wait on the other side of the border for processing, or else they will be punished like everyone else, and their application will be denied.
If we do those three very simple things, defend our borders, defund illegal immigrants, and deter illegal immigration, the message will be clear: if you come here illegally you probably will not get through, and if you do there will be no benefit to you, only the risk of punishment. That’ll solve the problem real fast.
And that’s it. Politicians often pretend that obvious solutions are not available to simple problems, because they do not want to risk their positions of power by actually exercising any degree of leadership. They care more about their special interests than the national interest. And problems are actually useful politically, because then you can campaign against them by simply signaling your opposition to them, instead of actually fixing them.
The rest of us do not have that luxury, nor do we have the luxury of time. If this present group does not fix the problem, then we need to vote some of our own people out of office through the primary process. And let this be the litmus test: do you agree that to stop illegal immigration, we must defend our borders, defund illegal immigrants, and deter them with zero tolerance prosecutions? If the answer is “no,” to any of these, then thank you for your service, and we’ll find someone else.