Four years ago, Donald Trump shocked the political world with the greatest presidential election upset since Truman squeaked past heavily favored Thomas Dewey in 1948.
He did so by switching the traditionally Democratic states of Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan into the Republican column by concentrating on the gutting out of jobs and wages in the Rust Belt that resulted from the failed policies of the past on trade an illegal immigration.
Trump can rightfully claim that he has tamed the illegal immigration beast, yet the issue has hardly been front and center on the campaign trail.
Ironically, Trump might be a victim of his own success. When asked what are the issues confronting voters in 2016, immigration was among others at the top of the list. Today, it's barely on the radar, way below issues such as COVID, the economy, race relations and health care.
Obviously, it's less of an issue because people are no longer seeing tens of thousands of foreigners flooding over our border on a monthly basis. And that's because Trump was dogged in his determination to stop the flow of these caravans that began in the Obama administration.
The overwhelming of our border started when Obama sent out the signal that amnesty was on the way. Undocumented aliens under age 30 were given safe haven from deportation. They were even given the ability to get work papers. The message to millions south of the border was to get here soon so you too can be swept into the amnesty wave.
The coyotes who smuggle illegal aliens over the border at great cost and risk to their clients were astute enough to discover that there was a surefire way of getting children over the border without the fear of them being returned. It was the Unaccompanied Minors Act that was first passed in the George W. Bush administration.
The law was designed to stop the sex trafficking of children. Instead of returning the children to the pimps who dragged them over the border, this well-intentioned policy separated the children from their exploiters. The law then allowed these children to be settled in the states for their protection. It was never expected that the number of these children would exceed more than a relatively small amount.
To the contrary, desperate parents in these poor countries started to hand their children over to the coyotes by the hundreds of thousands to get them over the border. it was clear to the world that once they got here, they were staying.
And, instead of attention being focused on the need to change the exploited law, the media focused on "kids in cages." Emotional overtones of those photos superseded the insanity of the law itself. You had to agree to a policy of letting these kids stay here in the states or you were somehow an inhumane xenophobe. Meanwhile, the real solution (which was stymied by House Democrats) was to change the law to end the incentive of having thousands of these children placed on these deadly treks to the north.
Trump's sensible answer was the stop the flow at the border itself and not let them touch American soil. He was blocked time after time by activist lower level forum- shopped liberal judges. But the Trump administration persisted and the flow was stemmed.
The coyotes thereafter found yet another loophole in well-intentioned American law. Get to the border, and this time run toward, not away, from the border patrol. Tell them you're seeking asylum — and presto — you're caught and released into the interior of the United States. Hundreds of thousands took advantage of the loophole.
At last week's debate, Joe Biden claimed that the overwhelming majority of the suspected illegal border crossers abided by warrants to later return to court. The real amount, according to the Acting Secretary of Homeland Security, is about 10%.
Trump persisted in changing the rules so that anyone seeking asylum would have to do so outside the United States, thereby preventing catch and release from ever becoming an issue. He was aided by a more conservative Supreme Court — that he himself brought into being — which has, at least temporarily, upheld his "Apply from Mexico" policy.
It worked remarkably well. Where are the caravans? They are out of sight, and unfortunately for Trump, out of mind to the average voter.
Voters should be aware that as soon as Joe Biden takes office, he will undo the protections that Trump implemented to protect our border sovereignty.
Biden won't just be giving citizenship to the million or so DACA children, but also to the 11 million to 20 million illegal aliens already here. Has anyone talked about what that will do to our Social Security and Medicaid systems that are already on the brink? Or what that will do to our social service programs once these newly minted, mostly low income, citizens become eligible.
When the message goes out that we are basically an open-border nation, the flow of illegal immigration naturally will increase dramatically once again. That's when the illegal immigration issue will once again rise to the top of the polls. But by then, it will be too late.
Steve Levy served as Suffolk County Executive, as a NYS Assemblyman, and host of "The Steve Levy Radio Show." He is the author of just released "Solutions to America's Problems." Www.SteveLevy.info tweet to @SteveLevyNY. Read Steve Levy's Reports — More Here.
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