The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday concerns border security and illegal immigration. Donald Trump campaigned on border security, and approximately five hundred miles of border fence/wall was built during his administration. There was better border security at the southern border during the Trump administration than any previous time or since Joe Biden entered the White House. Republicans in the House of Representatives promise to do something about border security.
Daniel Horwitz claims that the “most effective form of border security is not at the border itself.” His idea is “based on observations of the ebb and flow of illegal immigration” for the past fifty years. It is based on this truth: “If you invite illegal aliens into the country and offer them jobs and benefits, they will come.” The opposite is also true: “If you make it clear that they will obtain zero benefits and, if caught, will be removed, they will not come.” The bottom line is: “If you simply make illegal immigration illegal, they won’t come.” He continued with these words:
The Border Patrol is double the size it was during President Bush’s first term and has grown five-fold since 1993. We have thrown endless funds and infrastructure t the border. But what good are personnel and infrastructure if personnel are directed to coddle illegal aliens and release them, and then they get jobs and benefits in the interior of the country? Hence, just in the first 100 days of fiscal year 2023, there were a total of 718,000 encounters with illegal aliens, with 520,000 of them being released. Also, total gotaways are averaging 2,670 per day. So we are averaging 1.9 million aliens released (out of 2.6 million encounters) and another 1 million gotaways for a year.
Why? Because most of them go through a judicial process rather than being repatriated, and while they remain in the country indefinitely, they get to achieve their objectives. An analysis from Syracuse University found there are more than 2 million cases pending in immigration court with just about 600 administrative judges to preside over them. You can’t litigate our way out of an invasion, nor can you manpower or infrastructure your way out of people coming for benefits. It’s possible we could stop the problem with a military operation, but that is obviously something this administration would not do.
Thus, the illegal immigration issue boils down to two elements: banning all catch-and-release for all migrant encounters at the border and banning all benefits in the interior of the United States. Everything else fails to live up to the severity of the issue. This would be true even with a conservative president, but it rings even truer today with the Biden administration. You cannot simply declare, “There shall be border security” and here is yet another tranche of billions of dollars for the DHS that will likely be used more to target Americans than invaders. The Biden administration will never secure the border and will just use the money for more benefits rather than enforcement.
Horowitz claimed that there is a “honey trap” in focusing on border security rather than enforcement in the interior. A plan was put forward by Senator Kyrsten Sinema that would trade “border security” for amnesty, but Horowitz said that Republicans should not support it. Instead, House Republicans should push for the following:
· A categorical ban on catch-and-release.
· Both states and Border Patrol agents (and ICE) can get standing in court to sue the DHS for violating the INA to their detriment.
· Ban all federal benefits for illegal aliens, including K-12 education (to reverse Plyler v. Doe).
· Explicitly deputize states to enforce immigration law (to reverse U.S. v. Arizona).
· Accord a private cause of action to citizens or families harmed by sanctuary cities or the federal government’s lack of enforcement.
· Dramatically expand criminal penalties for identity theft, which is the lynchpin of the illegal aliens’ ability to remain in the country. Allow states to enforce it.
There have been four and a half million encounters at the border since Biden became President two years ago. Horowitz insisted that illegal immigration continues because it has not been made illegal. “Illegal migrants come and litigate themselves into status.” The numbers of migrants will drop on their own if the federal government makes it “clear that all illegal aliens will be returned (not just under Title 42), that they will not get benefits if they evade Border Patrol, and that red states will enforce the laws against them (including criminal penalties).