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Wednesday, January 23 , 2019, 12:29 am | Fair 41º


Joe Guzzardi: After Years of Nonenforcement, New President Can Turn Attention to Border Security

Now that Donald Trump has been elected in an upset victory over Hillary Clinton, the president-elect can turn his attention to resolving America’s border security crisis. Enforcement during President Barack Obama’s two terms has been next to nonexistent.

New statistics from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, as well as data from the U.S. Border Patrol, show that years of the Obama administration’s lawless disregard for border protection have led to yet another new and unprecedented illegal immigrant surge.

Among the recently announced facts:

» ICE currently detains more than 40,000 aliens, with officials predicting that the total could rise to 47,000 within a few months; ICE admits it’s having trouble finding housing for the detainees.

» In fiscal year 2016, the Border Patrol apprehended 408,870 illegal aliens at the southern border, 23 percent more than fiscal 2015. Brandon Judd, National Border Patrol Council president, said only about half of illegals are caught when they cross the border. Sources estimate that more than 800,000 illegal entries occurred last year.

Judd said his agents can’t keep up with the greatest number of illegal border crossers in history, and that Customs and Border Protection purposely withholds the truth about the crisis.

Pointing to the persistent promise of amnesty that has created pull factors that encourage people to come through Mexico and across the porous U.S. southern border, Judd said agents are “simply overwhelmed.”

In recent weeks, Cubans, Haitians, Africans, Chinese, Indians, Bangladeshis, Nepalese, Romanians and Middle Eastern nationals have gathered at the border where they hope to be granted asylum based on their nebulous, impossible-to-confirm “credible fear” claims. Since 2009, border asylum petitions have increased ten-fold.

Obama’s White House has been consistently dismissive of arguments that illegal immigration is a long-term threat to America’s well-being. Immigration advocates promote the outdated, romantic notion that today’s America is the same country that it was in the early 1900s when grueling immigrant manual labor often led to a middle-class income.

In the 21st century, the United States has entrenched poverty, and adding low-skill immigrants to the labor force makes their path to success harder, and puts vulnerable working Americans at risk.

As University of Tennessee College of Law professor Glenn Harlan Reynolds wrote: “You want to help poor workers in America? Cut down the number of people competing for their jobs.”

The immigration reform debate, endlessly ongoing in Congress, should address not which illegal aliens should qualify for citizenship, but instead how much poverty the United States is willing to import before it irrevocably harms citizens.

Recent Census Bureau data show that a majority of illegal immigrants struggle financially. Nearly a third live in poverty, two-thirds lack health insurance, and less than a third own their own homes.

Even the most enthusiastic immigration advocates don’t challenge Census Bureau information. The problems are that statistically based immigration facts and figures are rarely published in the mainstream media, and the White House appears indifferent to unchecked immigration’s consequences.

Confident that immigration violations won’t be punished, thousands of illegal immigrants continue to rush to the border.

Frustrated Border Patrol Agent Chris Cabrera, unable to perform his job the way he should be able to, compared Obama’s indifference to lax border security with the same shrug of the shoulders as he would “a traffic ticket,” a frightening reality since the influx includes many with criminal histories.

Trump can change all that simply by enforcing existing immigration laws.

— Joe Guzzardi is a senior writing fellow for Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS) who now lives in Pittsburgh. He can be reached at [email protected], or follow him on Twitter: @joeguzzardi19. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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