The Heritage Foundation’s news site The Daily Signal ran a piece Friday on one reporter’s observations at an immigration court in Arlington, Va. The docket was made up of juveniles, though not youths affiliated with the recent border influx. I happened to attend a day of the juvenile docket in the same courtroom the day after the reporter and his article is quite accurate and worth reading. There is one thing the reporter did not mention, however, and that is the turnout rate.
The hidden tsunami of new immigrants, both legal and illegal, have been operating under the public’s attention radar for many decades. In part this reflects the fact that immigration is not, ordinarily, a high-attention issue for most Americans. As a result, ordinary Americans don’t have a great deal of factual information about the substantive foundations of the many complex elements that make up immigration policy.
According to Gallup, immigration has ranked near the bottom of Americans’ concerns for many years. No more.
In 1994, the number of Americans who said immigration was “America’s biggest problem” reached a highpoint of 2 percent. In 1996, the highpoint was 6 percent. In 1997, it was 4 percent. In 1998, it was 2 percent. In 1999 it was 1 percent. In 2000 it was 2 percent, and in 2001 it was 3 percent.
Fast forward to now, the summer of 2014 and Gallup reports, “With thousands of undocumented immigrant minors crossing the nation’s southern border in recent months, the percentage of Americans citing immigration as the top problem has surged to 17 percent this month, up from 5 percent in June, and the highest seen since 2006.”
In a 1994 speech at the National Press Club to discuss her plans for a worksite identification program pivotal to efforts to stop illegal immigration at the worksite, Barbara Jordan claimed the moral high ground for that effort. “If we are to preserve our immigration tradition and our ability to say yes to so many of those who seek entry, we must also have the strength to say no when we must,” she said.
In her position as director of the Domestic Policy Council at the White House, Cecilia Munoz is a key figure in the planning for President Obama to decree major changes in U.S. immigration policy that could benefit millions of illegal immigrants.
As the Associated Press noted last week, Munoz, along with other top officials in the Obama administration, is “working to chart a plan on executive actions Obama could take, hosting frequent meetings with interest groups.”
It is rarely if ever discussed, but the current surge out of Central America, and into Southern Texas, is a wonderful development for some very powerful people — Central America’s oligarchs.
Think of the alternatives: the understandably unhappy majority of these countries, instead of spending time, money, and emotional energy on the risky emigration of their relatives, might otherwise be using those resources for:
The start of my op-ed posted today at TheHill.com:
Despite all the attention it has received, the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 – a law aimed, in part, at “unaccompanied alien children” who are victims of trafficking – appears to have little applicability to the current situation on the border. There are at least three reasons why the Obama administration is wrong when it asserts that the 2008 trafficking law binds their hands and requires them to grant most young illegal immigrants and their families a day in immigration court, lawyers and other benefits. …
Border Patrol statistics found buried on a government website confirm that most of the Central American illegal aliens apprehended in the recent surge are family units. Less than one-fourth (22 percent) of all those apprehended are unaccompanied alien children (UACs) from Central America. The number of illegally arriving families shot up five times faster than UAC arrivals over last year.
A new Center video interview with Hipolito Acosta, a retired senior U.S. immigration official, describes a successful program in which nearly 80,000 U.S.-bound migrants from Central America were intercepted in Mexico over 12-months in 2001-02. U.S. immigration agents worked with Mexican and Central American governments to repatriate the migrants and arrest smugglers. As a result, U.S. Border Patrol apprehensions of illegal crossers from Central American were reduced by 76 percent over the period. The program cost $1.6 million – but saved the U.S. government hundreds of millions of dollars in enforcement spending by preventing the illegal crossings from occurring. The Department of Homeland Security should adopt a similar program aimed at prevention and deterrence to address the current surge of illegal families and children. Authors: Jessica Vaughan Bryan Griffith
On July 21, National Review Online (NRO) published an article by Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), responding to criticism of the Helping Unaccompanied Minors and Alleviating National Emergency (HUMANE) Act by both the left and the right. (The HUMANE Act was filed jointly in both houses of Congress; in the Senate by Cornyn and in the House of Representatives by Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas)).