The basic problem with trading amnesty for so-called “Dreamers” (illegal aliens brought to America as children) for increased enforcement of laws against illegal immigration and greater border security is that those aims are fundamentally in contradiction.
Setting aside the actual motivations of both Republicans and Democrats for crafting a DACA deal, the ostensible argument that the participants in the recent presidential and Congressional negotiations advance for making such a tradeoff goes something like this:
The Dreamers came here through no fault of their own and should not be punished for the crimes of their parents. Nevertheless, we oppose illegal immigration and should do whatever we can to improve security (both at the border and for visa overstays). Therefore, the Dreamers can stay, but we will prevent their parents from having employment (E-Verify) which will ultimately force them to go home and we will build a wall on the southern border so that the extended family members are unable to migrate north without proper documentation. And, if that is not enough, we will increase the manpower at Immigrations and Customs Enforcement by 10,000 agents to ramp up interior enforcement particularly in workplaces where illegal aliens abound and we will revoke the right of citizens to sponsor extended family members to come to America (i.e. chain migration).
Do you see a problem here?
The framers of this argument ask us to believe that their willingness to make an exception for the DACA recipients is simply a moral imperative based on Christian compassion for the innocent — that that exception, once made, will be the end of tolerance for those who ignore our laws (both inside and outside America) and that enforcement of the law, including enforcement against those parents whom the Dreamers love and revere for having sacrificed so much to bring them to this glorious country in the first place, begins tomorrow.
Sounds good, no?
Alas, essentially none of the Congressional negotiators are actually willing to make this trade. The Dreamers themselves would not be willing to make this trade. In fact, aside from one stalwart in the White House by the name of Stephen Miller, the only people who are willing to make this trade — as it is written, with complete carry-through on all enforcement items — are the forgotten men and women of America who have suffered for a generation from illegal immigration while the riggers of the system have contrived to bypass the laws of the land at their expense.
Unfortunately for them, however, there is a reason that they have been forgotten.
They have been forgotten because, unlike the owners of the 600,000 restaurants in the U.S. where 20 percent of the cooks are illegal aliens, unlike owners in the construction industry whose illegal alien employees number 10 percent of all workers, unlike farm owners where the fraction of illegal alien employees is around 25 percent — unlike these and the owners in so many other businesses large and small in America who thrive on a supply of cheap labor to keep their costs down — the forgotten men and women of America do not cut $2,700 checks for their favored Congressional candidates.
The logical conclusion therefore is that in exchange for amnesty for DACA recipients the negotiators of the bill will give as little as possible in the way of actual immigration law enforcement — a Potemkin wall jazzed up with high tech gizmos, chain migration limited to first cousins (anyone notice that first cousins of first cousins are second cousins?) and an E-Verify provision that will be sieged by the courts for years. On that final point of court challenges note that, if a bill does materialize with amnesty for security swaps, it is essential that the bill be written in such a way as to stand or fall in response to legal challenge as a unit (security goes, amnesty goes). Otherwise we know by now what will happen.
In contrast to this harlequinade of a DACA negotiation process among Congressional knaves it is worth remembering for a moment what the forgotten men and women actually have on their side. By dint of electing Donald Trump, they have a dedicated organization of law enforcement professionals in ICE and U.S. Customs and Border Patrol who recognize that their mission is to enforce the existing immigration laws and who are not seduced by the siren song that says that that mission is impossible so they might as well not even try.
The forgotten men and women have on their side the now demonstrated fact that illegal immigration is fragile; that it is driven by hundreds of millions of daily texts, emails, and skype communications between illegal aliens in the U.S. and family members south of the border, and that the content of those messages becomes decidedly more pessimistic and the human flow palpably abates, when enforcement proceeds apace.
It’s not a lot, what the forgotten men and women have going for them. In the absence of a wall and E-Verify and other legislative support it will likely take years before the existing laws are successfully enforced even by these most dedicated of professionals at ICE and CBP. But the direction is right and along the way citizens will be able to help.
So when it comes to the shell game negotiations now going on in Washington, as of now, I’m voting for gridlock.
Michael Stopa is a lifelong Republican who ran for U.S. Congress twice in Massachusetts. He was a delegate for Donald Trump at the Republican National Convention in 2016. In real life, he is a nanophysicist who has taught graduate chemistry at MIT and directed a computational nanoscience research program at Harvard. He is the proud father of four beautiful children, two of whom are in college and draining his wallet. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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