The immigration policies of our country have caused incalculable human suffering, but not for the reasons we have been told.
According to the narrative spun by the open borders movement, the media and like-minded elected officials in Washington, America’s attempts to secure its borders are rooted in a malevolent strain of nationalism. Strong immigration policies, the story goes, coldly slam the door shut on poor foreigners seeking asylum from nightmarish conditions in their home countries. To get on the side of the angels, our only option is an amnesty-based approach where migrants can easily flow into the United States, relocate their extended families here and receive public assistance where employment is not available. This is the complete opposite of the truth.
Open borders policies result in violent crime, murder and human trafficking. They put young children in considerable danger and serve to finance criminal cartels. Simply put, open borders create the very outcomes that their supporters attribute to immigration enforcement.
Aware that secure borders and robust immigration policies are winning issues in an election year, the White House is aggressively pushing back against its opponents. In a recent conference call, Trump administration officials slammed Democrats critical of the president’s immigration agenda and blamed loopholes in immigration laws for bad consequences at the border and in the United States. This will be a motivating issue in the upcoming midterm elections, and deservedly so.
For all the recent concern in the news about the Trump administration purportedly seeking to separate migrant parents from their children, it is the lure of easy access into the United States that puts children at the border in peril. Why? The hope of applying for asylum or illegally entering the country, encouraged by pro-amnesty politicians here, results in caravans, unaccompanied minors and a steady wave of northward migration from Latin America. This has created a thriving human trafficking enterprise to our south. According to White House data, there has been a 315 percent one-year increase in illegal aliens using children to pose as family units to gain entry into the country. A secure U.S. southern border with a wall and common-sense laws would result in fewer children being put in harm’s way for a dangerous passage through the northern Mexico desert.
Laws designed to protect children at the border have resulted in unintended and undesirable consequences. Among them is the proliferation of minors with affiliations to MS-13 and other violent gangs. As loopholes in the law allow unaccompanied alien children to live in the U.S. for years awaiting determination of their immigration status, those in criminal gangs are free to inflict murder and mayhem in their communities. The victims of these “animals”—in President Trump’s words—are often other illegal aliens who live among them. Add to that the proliferation of sanctuary cities that enable violent criminals to melt into the population of otherwise peaceful aliens, and it is clear that lax immigration laws are actually dangerous to those they are intended to benefit.
While the attraction of migrating to the U.S. is typically a higher standard of living, many of those coming here illegally find themselves condemned to a life of poverty and exploitation. At a time of accelerated outsourcing and automation, there is a decreasing demand for the seemingly endless flow of low-wage, unskilled laborers who enter the U.S. seeking work. Those who do find work often discover it less than desirable. Research has shown that 37 percent of unauthorized alien workers were victims of minimum wage violations, and that 84 percent who worked full-time were not paid time-and-a-half for overtime when they worked more than 40 hours in a week. That these workers are in the country illegally makes them far less likely to report such violations, allowing the exploitation to continue.
Despite the talking points about immigrants doing the “work Americans won’t do,” there is ample evidence that American citizens are suffering from excessive immigration and policy loopholes. While agribusiness has long relied on H-2a visa recipients for a supply of workers, the seductiveness of cheap labor to employers has infected myriad other fields. Construction and service industry jobs are now virtually out of reach to lesser-skilled American workers, who find themselves undesirable to employers because they seek a living wage that immigrants often do not require.
The results are clear that, despite the claims of their advocates, open-door immigration policies are not compassionate, but cruel. They are cruel to illegal aliens, who find themselves clustered among violent criminals and victims of wage exploitation. They are cruel to American citizens, who see their communities more dangerous, their job prospects reduced and their social services overwhelmed. Finally, they are cruel to the migrant children they claim to protect, as these children are mere pawns in a lucrative black market that moves aliens across the border and enriches those who profit from a broken system. The solutions to these problems are well-known, and the status quo is no longer acceptable. It is time for our leaders to act.
Brian Lonergan is director of communications at the Immigration Reform Law Institute, a public interest law firm working to defend the rights and interests of the American people from the negative effects of illegal migration.
Also published at: Brian Lonergan, Open borders are cruel, not compassionate, PoliZette, June 7, 2018