Albert Einstein is reputed to have said that “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” By that definition, President Biden’s approach to “solving” America’s long-standing problem of illegal immigration, by granting amnesty to millions of illegal aliens clearly qualifies as an act of insanity.
History has shown us that granting citizenship to illegal aliens generates continuing contempt for our laws, as a new report by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) details.
In 1986, President Reagan signed what was billed as a one-time-only offer of amnesty resulting in the legalization of some 2.7 million illegal aliens. The law was intended to wipe the slate clean and promised to take decisive steps to ensure that future illegal immigration would be curtailed through comprehensive border security, interior enforcement and meaningful deterrence. Thirty-five years later, studies have estimated the illegal alien population to be anywhere from 14.5 to more than 20 million – not exactly the “fix” the American people were promised.
Not only is President Biden’s proposed amnesty (U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021) exponentially larger than the failed amnesty of 1986, but it dispenses with any pretense that we will attempt to halt future illegal immigration. In fact, the administration’s actions have been precisely the opposite. They have rescinded and reversed almost every tool, authority, and policy put in place which had effectively addressed the unprecedented illegal immigration crisis and closed significant loopholes in our broken immigration system.
The U.S. is now actively encouraging, incentivizing and facilitating illegal immigration. Those arriving at our borders will once again be released into the interior of the U.S (unless you’re a terrorist or convicted violent criminal), prevented from being lawfully deported and allowed to take jobs, even as they remain in the country illegally. The message is clear – our borders are wide open.
The inescapable logic of rewarding people for violating our immigration laws is that it creates an expectation that the exercise will be repeated in the future. The logic is all the more compelling given that neither the president’s bill nor his administration will prevent or deter more people from coming and remaining here illegally.
Perception plays an enormous role in illegal migration. The belief they would be allowed to enter, remain and work is a compelling factor in their decision to migrate.
Those same perceptions and realities are driving a new surge of illegal immigration. Even before Mr. Biden was sworn in, new caravans of migrants began forming in Central America and those attempting to illegally enter our country had skyrocketed to more than 4,000 a day.
Mass amnesty, as history has demonstrated, would not only be an exercise in futility but an act of supreme fiscal irresponsibility as well. The “pathway to citizenship” for millions of illegal aliens living here would also lead to ruinous fiscal costs down the road. The Heritage Foundation estimated that the significantly smaller amnesty proposed under the Gang of Eight bill would result in “a net fiscal burden of $6.3 trillion for Social Security, Medicare, welfare programs, public education and other government benefits and services” over the course of their lifetimes. You don’t have to be an economics genius to understand giving free healthcare to millions of illegal immigrants would be catastrophic for the U.S. economy.
What the Biden administration also doesn’t want you to know is the government doesn’t really know, for sure, how many illegal aliens are actually in the U.S. They put forth a massive bill, calling for a pathway to citizenship for untold millions with absolutely no real data behind their claims or concern of the true impact and fiscal burden placed on the backs of American taxpayers!
So why would Democrats get behind the most radical piece of immigration legislation we’ve seen in our lifetimes? A bill that is teetering on the verge of insanity; contains nothing to prevent and deter future illegal immigration; negatively impacts our national and economic security; and forces American taxpayers to write a blank check to fund it? Because they perceive it as an incredible political benefit. Their belief is every illegal immigrant they provide a pathway to citizenship will equate to a vote for Democrats. It’s power and politics.
The other secret they don’t want you to know is the top priority for the vast majority of migrants illegally entering the U.S isn’t obtaining a pathway to citizenship. It’s much more basic – they want to be released into the U.S., allowed to work and be protected from lawful deportation. The hope of citizenship is yet one more incentive used by open border advocates to encourage and facilitate continued illegal immigration – history has demonstrated this, but the reality is amnesty is the top priority for the Democratic Party. They are using it to ensure their permanent expansion of power.
Mark Morgan is the former acting Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and acting commissioner U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and a senior fellow at the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR).