Months ago, when all folks could talk about was the Trump administration's efforts to control waves of illegal border crossers by arresting violators, and thereby possibly separating them from their children, I engaged in a thoughtful conversation with a very intelligent millennial.
She asked, "How could any leader even consider something so cruel?"
I concurred with her that this is not the preferred direction to take from a policy perspective, and was even more problematic from political and optics vantages.
Yet, I tried to explain to her that the issue was far more complex than whether or not children are separated.
"Okay, so now let’s operate from the position that separations will no longer occur," I proposed. "What do we do with these families who just blatantly flaunted the rules of the country they came to?"
She responded that our "dopey" president should just send them all back to their land of origin as intact families.
My response, "If indeed we could do that, of course we would. But, we can’t."
She queried, "What do you mean we can’t? Just have the border agents turn them around and say, 'Sorry, we empathize with your plight, but we can’t let you in by cutting the line.'"
But, I noted, if Trump did that, his political opponents and the media would seek to have him impeached for violating our asylum laws.
She asked, "What do you mean?"
"Our asylum laws were originally written in an era that could not have envisioned that they would be distorted and abused as they are so being by these tens of thousands of new arrivals," I responded.
I continued, "You see, they were commonly used for the Soviet dissident seeking asylum after giving a speech at the U.N. or a Cuban ballplayer after a goodwill tour concluded in Florida. Such asylum applications were rare and full of propaganda value during the Cold War. Those seeking asylum would get a hearing where an independent judge could determine whether the applicants’ circumstances warranted approval.
"Fast forward to present day America, where coyotes who smuggle illegal immigrants across the border realized that if these laws were abused by tens of thousands of illegal aliens, they could flip the whole paradigm. No longer would illegals need to run away from border agents. Now they could actually run toward the agents and beg to be captured.
"They are instructed by the coyotes to then utter the four magic words, 'I am seeking asylum.' Immediately, these outdated asylum rules, calling for judicial hearings, are imposed. So, my friend, rather than turning these families around, the border agents are forced to place them in a detention center on U.S. soil until the hearing takes place."
She replied, "Well, it still doesn’t make sense why we can’t just turn then away, but it shouldn’t be that bad. We will just give them a quick hearing, and then I’m sure most will be told to go back to their original countries."
I said, "But, here too, you don’t fully understand the dilemma. And I can’t blame you, because the mainstream media has failed miserably - and some say intentionally - in not painting the whole picture. You see, there are now so many illegal aliens claiming asylum for bogus reasons that the system is overwhelmed."
She said, "Okay, so they’ll just have to wait it out."
I said, "Oh, but I guess you haven’t heard that the liberal judges stacked onto the circuit courts, are intervening and demanding that the illegals, with their families still intact, have to be released from the holding centers after 20 days."
"Well, where do they go?" she questioned.
I elaborated, "They go anywhere they want in the U.S., and are told come back in a few years for the hearing. Most don't. And when they miss their hearings and are ordered deported, the media goes wild with accusations of racism and xenophobia, just as we saw with the case of the 'Pizza Delivery Guy' on Long Island, whom ICE has sought unsuccessfully to deport, even after he ignored a prior court deportation order."
She wisely posed, "So why don’t we just update the asylum laws to reflect today’s reality?"
I answered, "Ah, that would be a simple solution, wouldn’t it? Congress could just say that if you want asylum you must ask it at the U.S. embassy in your homelands at designated points of entry. But, despite efforts by the president and Republicans in Congress to implement such common sense reform, the Democrats have refused.
"There is only one logical explanation for Democrats to maintain the status quo. Deep down, they actually want these caravans to continue. It plays into their new open borders policy that has less to do with real or exaggerated plights of the illegal immigrants, than it does with their goal of controlling the electorate for future generations.
"That’s what’s behind the whole amnesty - uh, I mean comprehensive immigration reform - movement. Once the illegal immigrants become citizens, they vote; and the overwhelming majority of these lower economic strata folks will pull the Democratic lever."
I cautioned the young lady that while it was okay to oppose the separation of families, the alternative can’t be "catch and release." That will just lead to another wave.
She now concedes I was proven to be correct.
It’s easy to predict that if this new wave is not stopped, the next wave will double in size, and the following one will triple.
This is a moment in American history that has existentialist consequences.
I have tried in my years as a strong proponent of the enforcement of immigration laws not to use the word "invasion" when speaking of past immigration patterns.
I thought, "too harsh." No longer.
We can try to say it’s not a mob when Antifa destroys stuff, but it is. We can try to say that thousands rushing the border, with hundreds of thousands to follow, isn’t an invasion.
The facts suggest otherwise.
Will we be betrayed by the quest for short term political gain, political correctness and identity politics, or will we take a stand to carry out our constitutional mandate to protect our borders and national sovereignty?
That question will be answered by how congressional Democrats vote on the common sense asylum changes in the works.
Steve Levy, former New York state assemblyman, Suffolk County executive, and candidate for governor, is now a distinguished political pundit. Levy's commentary has been published in such media outlets as Washington Times, Washington Examiner, New York Post, Albany Times, Long Island Business News, and City & State Magazine. He hosted “The Steve Levy Radio Show" on Long Island News Radio, and is a frequent guest on high profile television and radio outlets. Few on the political scene possess Levy’s diverse background. He’s been both a legislator and executive, and served on both the state and local levels — as both a Democrat and Republican. Levy published Bias in the Media, an analysis of his own experience, after switching parties, with the media's leftward slant. Levy is currently Executive Director of the Center for Cost Effective Government, a fiscally conservative think tank. He is also President of Common Sense Strategies, a political consulting firm. To learn more about his past work and upcoming appearances, visit www.stevelevy.info. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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