Immigration is a hot-button topic so embedded in the American story that it’s commemorated at the base of the Statue of Liberty with the famous Emma Lazarus poem. “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”
As important as it is to the American story, the system has been broken for a long time.
The beginnings of a wall between us and Mexico began during World War I. President Richard Nixon tried to stop the influx of illegal drugs through Operation Intercept. After 9/11, President George W. Bush signed the Secure Fence Act of 2006 in order to build 850 miles of border fencing. Even that was not enough.
The Trump administration has promised to fix it and continues to stab at the problem. Though they haven’t built the wall, they are at least stemming the tide.
This week, the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced a new rule for migrants who cross the southern border, stating that they aren’t eligible for asylum unless they applied in the first safe country they entered.
That’s bad news for Central American migrants who traveled through multiple countries before reaching our border, but good news for American taxpayers who realize they’re on the line for the massive influx of aliens who put a strain on our cultural infrastructure. People who claim fear-based need for asylum will automatically be taken off the list if they crossed through Mexico, Guatemala, or other countries before arriving in the United States. That will at least put a dent in the asylum claims, which have clogged up the immigration system and made it move at glacial pace.
Even Democrats realize that something needs to be done.
CNN’s Fareed Zakaria recently made headlines when he admitted as much to his left-of-center viewers about President Trump: “It pains me to say this, but he is right, that the United States faces a crisis with its asylum system.” He added, “Asylum is meant to be granted to a very small number of people in extreme circumstances. Not as a substitute for the process of immigration itself. Yet, the two have gotten mixed up.”
Kevin Drum, a blogger for left-of-center publication Mother Jones, even described the immigration plans from Democratic presidential candidates as “curious.” He said Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s plan recommended “no actions to improve border law enforcement in any way.”
He added, “There’s nothing about either a wall or a ‘virtual wall.’ There’s nothing about E-Verify. There’s nothing about ‘smarter’ or ‘more efficient’ enforcement. No one will ever be deported — except, presumably, for serious felons, though Warren doesn’t even say that explicitly. Expedited removal will be ended. The Border Patrol will be reshaped from ‘top to bottom,’ and will focus their efforts on ‘homeland security efforts like screening cargo, identifying counterfeit goods, and preventing smuggling and trafficking.'”
It’s worth remembering that Democrats weren’t always so weak on immigration. As recently as Bill Clinton’s presidency, the party took a tougher stance. In a State of the Union address, Clinton declared, “All Americans, not only in the states most heavily affected but in every place in this country, are rightly disturbed by the large numbers of illegal aliens entering our country. The jobs they hold might otherwise be held by citizens or legal immigrants.”
That’s enough to give normal Democrats whiplash. How could their party have swung so far in the opposite — and wrong — direction? Pretty soon, New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez might be demanding we pay reparations to asylum seekers for not providing adequate lodging and proper pillow thickness.
President Trump is right on this. Democrats refuse to deal realistically with the issue.
“The U.S. is a generous country but is being completely overwhelmed by the burdens associated with apprehending and processing hundreds of thousands of aliens along the southern border,” Attorney General William Barr said in a statement on the new rule.
In fact, Trump’s plan is the best way to fulfill the aspiration of the poem at the foot of the Statue of Liberty.
“Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,” the poem reads. “I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.