Last week, the New York Times wrote an eye-opening story about the border crisis reaching an undeniable and urgent breaking point. For months, many on the Left derided the Trump administration's dire warnings about the situation, dismissing the intensifying situation as a "manufactured" crisis, whipped up by the president for political purposes. Virtually nobody is seriously clinging to those expired talking points anymore -- even as some politicians continue to advance astonishingly reckless policy proposals -- because they're undeniably, factually inoperative at this point:
The very nature of immigration to America changed after 2014, when families first began showing up in large numbers. The resulting crisis has overwhelmed a system unable to detain, care for and quickly decide the fate of tens of thousands of people who claim to be fleeing for their lives. For years, both political parties have tried — and failed — to overhaul the nation’s immigration laws, mindful that someday the government would reach a breaking point. That moment has arrived. The country is now unable to provide either the necessary humanitarian relief for desperate migrants or even basic controls on the number and nature of who is entering the United States...
The immigration courts now have more than 800,000 pending cases; each one takes an average of 700 days to process. And because laws and court rulings aimed at protecting children prohibit jailing young people for more than 20 days, families are often simply released. They are dropped off at downtown bus stations in places like Brownsville, Tex., where dozens last week sat on gray metal benches, most without money or even laces on their shoes, heading for destinations across the United States. At the current pace of nearly 100,000 migrants each month, officials say more than a million people will have tried to cross the border in a 12-month period.
I objected to the president's effort to make an end-run around Congressional appropriations powers with his national emergency declaration, but the declaration itself was quite clearly warranted based on the conditions on the ground. That's not Trump's opinion, or political appointees' spin. It's what career nonpartisan officials are saying as vehemently as they possibly can, imploring Washington to pay attention and act. Back to the Times story:
The flow of migrant families has reached record levels, with February totals 560 percent above those for the same period last year. As many as 27,000 children are expected to cross the border and enter the immigration enforcement system in April alone. So crowded are border facilities that some of the nearly 3,500 migrants in custody in El Paso were herded earlier this month under a bridge, behind razor wire. In recent days, officials have grasped for ever-more-dire ways to describe the situation: “operational emergency”; “unsustainable”; “systemwide meltdown.” One top official said simply: “The system is on fire.”
A separate article in the Times over the weekend also noted how similar pressures are also impacting Canada's system, testing the limits of the liberal and welcoming nation to our north:
I think going out of our way to send migrants to sanctuary cities is a bad idea, but let’s not pretend that an influx of migrants isn’t a burden for even the most liberal, well-intentioned places, as Canada learned https://t.co/qkxBSJ891q— Rich Lowry (@RichLowry) April 14, 2019
Canadian officials are warning that even liberal Canada has its limits amid concerns, fairly or not, that illegal migration is stretching the immigration system to a breaking point and risks stoking a potential backlash... Canada’s minister of immigration, Ahmed Hussen, himself a former refugee who moved to the country from Somalia when he was 16, said Canada was proud to be a welcoming country but could not welcome everyone. Only about 8 percent of Haitian migrants had received asylum here since the summer, he said, while there is a backlog of about 40,700 cases, according to Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Board. “We don’t want people to illegally enter our border, and doing so is not a free ticket to Canada,” Mr. Hussen said in an interview. “We are saying, ‘You will be apprehended, screened, detained, fingerprinted, and if you can’t establish a genuine claim, you will be denied refugee protection and removed.’ ” Canadian immigration officials are once again bracing for a possible influx of migrants heading north.
Lowry's reference is to the president's floated idea of busing hundreds or even thousands of illegal immigrants to American sanctuary cities, jurisdictions whose policies have led to cases of multiple deportees committing heinous crimes after being shielded from federal immigration officials. While there's something viscerally appealing about the idea, as a means of highlighting the Left's obnoxious virtue signaling and preening, it's really little more than trolling -- to say nothing of its practical implications and legality. What Trump is certainly right about is that the current laws are plainly broken, not working, and incentivizing crisis-level dysfunction. Congress must fix this mess; the executive branch can only do so much. We need more people like Sen. Ron Johnson, who is taking a sensible and necessary approach to these issues:
Our immigration debate is full of demogoguery. The Right just wants to “build the wall,” the Left wants to abolish ICE. Meanwhile, @SenRonJohnson wants to talk about real policy. My latest, on how to get somewhere on immigration: https://t.co/v8M41vbH2u— Alexandra DeSanctis (@xan_desanctis) April 10, 2019
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