Well, for those who wanted tougher immigration enforcement, this weekend saw hundreds of illegal aliens rounded up by law enforcement. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said that these raids were routine, and that the wheels were set in motion under the Obama administration. Nevertheless, immigration activists said they were harsher than in previous years (via Reuters):
U.S. federal immigration agents arrested hundreds of undocumented immigrants in at least four states this week in what officials on Friday called routine enforcement actions.
Reports of immigration sweeps this week sparked concern among immigration advocates and families, coming on the heels of President Donald Trump's executive order barring refugees and immigrants from seven majority-Muslim nations. That order is currently on hold.
The enforcement actions took place in Atlanta, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and surrounding areas, said David Marin, director of enforcement and removal for the Los Angeles field office of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Only five of 161 people arrested in Southern California would not have been enforcement priorities under the Obama administration, he said.
The agency did not release a total number of detainees. The Atlanta office, which covers three states, arrested 200 people, Bryan Cox, a spokesman for the office, said. The 161 arrests in the Los Angeles area were made in a region that included seven highly populated counties, Marin said.
Marin called the five-day operation an "enforcement surge."
Of course, this is going to drive liberals mad. Some in the GOP are reeling over the recent infiltration of their town hall events by angry protesters. Should they fear the immigration issue could be used to further incite the Left? Maybe. But at the moment, it’s not going to morph into anything that will endanger Republicans politically. These enforcement measures are bound to continue under the Trump administration. And right now, the Left has no strategy to defeat it. Anyone can walk into a street and whine. How do you transform that into voting? And there's the problem.
Immigration isn't an intense voter issue. Donald Trump made some harsh remarks about illegal immigrants, but there was no Hispanic voter surge on Election Day. Megan McArdle at Bloomberg wrote about this problem, while aptly noting another issue liberals tend to overreach on concerning voter turnout projections: gun control. Right now, the Left is just making speeches about how great immigrants are to combat the Trump administration's immigration agenda—that’s not going to work:
The core problem is that Democrats didn’t really make an affirmative argument for an overhaul to U.S. immigration policy that might appeal to voters. Instead, they talked a lot about what great people immigrants are, and how much they benefit from migration. Unfortunately, the clearest group of beneficiaries from this policy -- people who want to migrate, but haven’t yet gotten a green card -- can’t vote.
Of course there are spillover benefits to immigration, but they are somewhat nebulous compared to the direct benefit to the would-be migrants. It’s easy to explain how immigrants benefit from an open door. Explanations of how the rest of us benefit tend to rely on the trivial or on abstract economic arguments that most people don’t find particularly intuitive or convincing. Those arguments look even more suspicious because they are generally made by the one group that visibly does benefit from a lot of low-skilled immigration, which provides the nannies, lawn-care, and food services that high-skilled professionals rely on to allow them to work longer hours.
There is one other group of people who strongly benefit, of course: recent migrants who have relatives they would like to join them. The most recent data indicate that that’s perhaps 6 percent of eligible voters. Oh, perhaps we should add some percentage for their native-born children who might care a great deal about getting their grandparents, aunts and uncles the boon of U.S. residence. But then we should probably subtract something, too, for the naturalized citizens who don’t care to have the entire extended family moving onto their doorstop. More importantly, we have to account for the fact that naturalized citizens vote at significantly lower rates than the native born.
Other people may favor immigration, but it’s not necessarily an issue they’re willing to vote on. In other words, Democrats may have large numbers of people polling vaguely in favor of high immigration levels, but relatively low levels of voter intensity for their position.
Editor's Note: The original post insinuated that this was part of President Trump's immigration initiatives. That was not accurate. The post has been changed to reflect the changes. We apologize for the error.