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A Study in Contrasts: Do American Immigration Laws Matter, Or Do They Not?

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

I've been traveling abroad in recent days and I'd like to share an experience I just had on my way back to the United States.  At the airport in Dublin, Ireland, we were required to go through normal airport security on our way into the terminal.  This entailed the typical rigmarole of pushing luggage through conveyor belts, shedding certain garments and accessories, extricating electronic devices from various bags, etc.  Once we completed this lengthy process, which included an extra random swab for explosives, we then proceeded to the US-specific security line, a required chore for all passengers on flights destined for America.  At this stage, we had to once again have our bags scanned, plus remove our shoes for inspection.  After that, it was onto the Customs and Border Patrol checkpoint, where uniformed US personnel reviewed our travel documents, to make sure everything was in order.  We weren't quite done.  Upon queueing up to board the plane, our passports were checked one more time, as were our boarding passes, once we entered the aircraft.  These multiple processes and layers of security took more than an hour combined.

An image that still stands out to me is what welcomed travelers after finally getting waved through by CBP, having completed an augmented US-required system of scrutiny: Smiling official portraits of President Joe Biden and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas hanging on the wall, next to the American and Irish flags.  Welcome to America, we're the people in charge.  I'll admit that this bothered me in a way that it never has before, as it reminded me of a viral exchange between Fox's Peter Doocy and Biden's spokesperson earlier in the week.  In case you missed it, here's what I'm referring to:

Doocy, of course, was right.  It's precisely what's happening every single day, thousands of times, at the southern border.  Not only that, such behavior is being actively incentivized and rewarded by the Biden government.  In all, there have been more than 3.4 million encounters with illegal immigrants by US officials at the border since Biden took office.  This massive influx has included tens of thousands of known convicted criminals.  Over the same period of time, there have been more than 900,000 known got-aways that have escaped into the country without capture, in addition to an unknowable number of undetected got-aways.  This is an unprecedented crisis, blowing away all previous records.  A mid-August NPR/PBS poll found a majority saying that America is experiencing an "invasion" at the border.  By an 18-point margin, independents agree:

The problem is acute and shows no signs of slowing substantially, let alone stopping.  What does any of this have to do with my experience at the airport in Ireland?  It's infuriating that American citizens must go through a great deal of hassle to re-enter our own country, while millions of illegal immigrants flood into the country through our porous border to the south.  Millions are caught and processed, with many getting released into the interior (and even bussed or flown to their preferred cities, at taxpayer expense).  Nearly one million have been detected but not confronted, since Biden assumed office alone.  The man tasked with running US Homeland Security amid all of this, whose official photograph adorns the airport wall beyond all those security lines, has made explicitly clear that entering the United States illegally is not grounds for deportation -- and those in the country unlawfully are also effectively exempt from removal even after being convicted of various categories of additional crimes.

But any law-abiding American citizen who attempted to evade or refused to comply with duplicative security and document screenings at an airport would face detainment and charges.  The latter fact is defensible on its face.  The former ones are not, rendering the latter one far more frustrating and less defensible, by comparison.  Do our immigration laws matter, or do they not?   And why should they seem to matter more for our own citizens, who have a birthright to be here?  Relatedly, the Biden administration continues to toggle back and forth on whether COVID still justifies various 'emergency' measures (hence the premise of Doocy's question above).  Biden's scandalously inept Department of Health and Human Services has indicated that it will continue operating under "emergency" conditions for its various purposes.  Pandemic on.  But the administration has also fought in court to end 'Title 42' (which they're allegedly quietly phasing out), a public health measure that has been one of the only mitigating enforcement tools during the border crisis.  Pandemic off.  Meanwhile, a major component of Biden's outrageous and lawless student loan debt policy, re-upped days ago, is still being justified as COVID-related.  Pandemic on.

The double standards are incoherent and cynical, by design.  The Democrats are just doing whatever they want to do, legal niceties aside, and cherry-picking whether the pandemic still exists or not -- depending on whether or not the answer helps support any given ideological power play.  I'll leave you with a parting question: Is this sort of rhetoric irresponsible and inflammatory, or are such critiques reserved for real and perceived rhetorical excesses by Republicans?

He seems to like this particular line of thinking, if you're generously willing to categorize it as such.


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