The immigration problem | The American Conservative
At the border, our leaders like Vice President Kamala Harris will continue to fail to find satisfactory answers.
Almost two years ago, all but one of the assembled candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination voted on a stage in Miami to the proposal that illegal entry into that country should not be considered a crime. Among those who raised their hands in approval were the current President and Vice-President. A year and a half later, after winning the presidency, Joe Biden promised that his administration would not deport a single would-be immigrant during his first 100 days in office.
We all know what happened next. The Biden administration is well on its way to carrying out more deportations in 2021 than Donald Trump did in his first year in office. The cages are still there and so are the children, who arrive by the thousands. Responsibility for the border has been officially delegated to Kamala Harris, a challenge to which the Vice President (after “robust” talks with the President of Guatemala) responded with a blatant statement: “Don’t come. Do not come.” Not with this If there is any uncertainty about what this means for those who might risk the trip anyway, she added, “The United States will continue to enforce our laws and secure our border.”
No one should be surprised at the speed with which Biden and Harris abandoned their positions. The decriminalization of border crossing has always been untenable. Even a significant, large-scale shift in enforcement policy away from that established by its two most recent predecessors would likely require the complete elimination of immigration and customs, if not the Department of Homeland Security itself, a politically about as viable prospect as the abolition of the Social security security.
However, this totally predictable series of events has led to another of those bizarre cycles of simulated outrage that has become the defining feature of American public life. Republicans who defended the previous administration now condemn the chaos on our southern border, and in response to Trump’s strong showing in Hispanics in last fall’s election, some joke that the White House is building a new wall to keep its supporters out . Meanwhile, serious progressives who supported Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren during the primary are feigning outrage that the candidate they once rejected for very clear reasons is exactly the kind of president they envisioned.
These simple allegations distract us from the truth that immigration remains a persistent problem. By that I mean that there is simply no workable solution that is as humane as the progressives and their scattered allies (for example among Catholics) desire, nor is there a competing hard-line approach that appeases the business interests that ultimately lead to the priorities of the conservative movement.
So I think we should moralize less and think more about the practical issues of immigration. There is nothing wrong with admitting that our situation is unique. History has seldom shown us anything like the stark contrast between the wealth and security of the United States and the poverty and lawlessness of so many nations in Central and South America. For many immigrants, a journey roughly as long as that between New York City and Boise, Idaho, across generations, could mean the difference between prosperous and wretched misery. And unlike in Europe, which is still facing a refugee crisis for which our own leaders are largely responsible, there is no body of water that separates potential migrants from these shores.
While some Nations Always had a higher standard of living than others, it was seldom outside of wartime that neighboring countries offered their respective residents such radically different perspectives. In the age of modern mass communication and car transportAttempts to migrate will be inevitable. The only reasonable modern comparison with the current division of the American landmass is the brutal tyranny of the Kim regime in North Korea and the comparative prosperity of the democratic south, which are separated from one another by a militarized border. This is sometimes seemed to be more or less what Trump had envisioned: erecting a truly secure barrier with permanent military presence defacing the landscape with what would soon have become a hateful symbol of American wallets.
The wall of Trump’s dreams has always been and always will be improbable for a variety of reasons. The same is true of a truly open border, which, although hardly less imaginative, is preserved the de facto position of polite American liberalism. At a time when wages are already stagnating and even economists are realizing that the prevailing business model in the service industry, which encompasses an ever-growing proportion of our workforce, assumes paying delivery drivers and fast food vendors who are far from it To Make a Living It is hard to see how the American economy could afford to take on hundreds of thousands, if not millions, more workers. It is also not clear that importing a class of quasi-contracted servants with no political rights to mow our lawns and look after our children serves the cause of justice. Any solution to the wage problem would require a political and economic revolution that would change all facets of life in this country. Whatever their supporters have expected from the Biden government, it is not.
For all of these reasons, I can say with some confidence that the most likely immigration policy for the foreseeable future will be the status quo, which is apparently hated on all sides. Our politicians will continue to alternate between slick sermons and wall of shame fantasies as they cling to the ad hoc restrictive principles, selective enforcement, and capricious indifference that have served both parties well over the past three terms will no doubt continue to do so.
Matthew Walther is editor of The lamp Magazine and a contributing editor The American Conservative.