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Disassociating Border Security from Immigration Reform

Disassociating Border Security from Immigration Reform

Should border security be a prerequisite for immigration reform? I don’t think so.

I never see an immigration conversation on the right that doesn’t include some form of, “but we must secure the border first!” And only once the border is secure are we free to discuss immigration reform in opaque generalities. To be clear, I don’t disagree that border security is the paramount issue, where I deviate though, is that I don’t believe border security should be conditional for immigration reform.

The border should be secured at all times — period. To be sure, the issues are somewhat related. Border security strengthens our ability to mitigate would be illegal crossers, but I’d argue secure borders are predominantly a function of national security, protection of national sovereignty, and Constitutional obligation, none of which should be used as a bargaining chip for eVerify (or any other piece of immigration reform).

Reality doesn’t provide a scenario where in the context of immigration reform talks, troops are sent to secure the border and then comprehensive immigration reform is implemented. This will never happen. Not in this manner, anyway. Of course it’s worth mentioning such a promise was made as part of Reagan’s 1986 reform package and we all know how that panned out.

Yet the right collectively includes border security as a prerequisite to make other immigration concessions. I understand the logic, but why handicap ourselves right out of the gate? Reform without secure borders isn’t fixing every problem we have and certainly doesn’t address the influx of illegal immigration filtering through our southern border. However, using border security as a means to come to the immigration table seems short sighted and ineffective.

If we insist on continuing down the path of a 1986 style reform package (insisting on border security as a contingency for immigration reform), I foresee the following: we will not receive the type of border security we want, nor will we receive the type of immigration reform we want. We will be required to trade something egregious like an allowance of some type of amnesty in exchange for a secure border. It’s precisely that kind of exchange we do not want to make. We do not want to find ourselves in a situation where we are required to trade sensible reforms in order to obtain a secure border.

More advantageous would be a scenario where securing the border is a wholly separate discussion, not tethered to any reform preference du jour, but simply — secure the border. Regardless of where one falls politically, most will agree this is one of the primary reasons, if not the reason the federal government exists. Having this discussion on its own merits will likely produce more successful results in terms of actually securing the border and leave us free to have the immigration discussion we wanted to have, having traded nothing to start the conversation.

Furthermore, in the broader context of the coming election cycles in both 2014 and 2016, Democrats have already positioned themselves so that they’re defending the IRS, ignoring Benghazi, turning a blind eye to the current humanitarian crisis at the border, doubling down on Obamacare, the VA scandal, not to mention the atrocity that is our foreign policy. Make them explain why they refuse to secure the border. Make them explain why despite the dire humanitarian and safety situation, terrorist cells and cartels, they refuse to engage in protecting the border states. There is political capital to be gained should we handle this well.

Let the immigration debate be the immigration debate and in the mean time, force the federal government to fulfill its sole obligation by securing our borders.


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casualobserver | June 25, 2014 at 7:22 pm

I have yet to see a believable argument that reforming immigration laws BEFORE securing the border will NOT lead to chaos there. Especially in view of how the laws for the border are not taken seriously even yet.

every time I hear the phrase “comprehensive reform” I want to puke. it always results in huge growth of the federal government, establishment of new bureaucracies, higher taxes, and more big government bullshit in general.

how about we just say no to immigration reform and enforce the laws that are already on the books?

    McAllister in reply to Paul. | June 26, 2014 at 10:43 am

    You’re exactly right. This “comprehensive” tag is just so much baloney. Nobody ever explains what it means. Politicians use it to get illegals to vote for them. As for Red Dawn, I take it he/she would leave all her doors open in the summer to let mosquitoes and flies in before deciding which pest strips to use.

Whoever Red Dawn is, I say let’s adopt the Mexican National laws on immigration/immigrants and those who violate those laws.

Read up on what the rules are and the penalties (which are enforced) and then ask yourself why we should have weaker rules and allow illegal border crossers to inundate our country when NO other country allows this. (well some of the effete European states also allow illegal border crossers and look at the mess they’re in.)

Neither side is interested in the immigration bill being resolved because they are both using it to turn out voters in the midterms.

what reform is needed?
the only ones “needing” reform are the ones here illegally.
many others came here legally, its not an easy process nor should it be. It SHOULD be an arduous process by design.

reform is not needed, border security is, and anyone who thinks otherwise is a fool and not worth reading/listening to.

    tom swift in reply to dmacleo. | June 25, 2014 at 10:03 pm

    I think the general assumption is that “reform” is code for “amnesty”. And that these amnestied criminals will become voters. The Dems are apparently assuming that despite the rampant Catholicism of most people from Meso- and South America, they will be reliable Democratic voters.

    The voting-age population of the US is about 212,000 people. A block of 10 million or more single-party voters added to that will seriously pervert the American electoral process, and possibly cement the Democrats firmly in all elective offices for the next generation or two.

      tom swift in reply to tom swift. | June 25, 2014 at 10:06 pm

      And, quite aside from the electoral consequences, we will have a huge block of new Americans who have been taught that crime does indeed pay – ignore the law, do whatever is advantageous to you, and you’ll get everything you want. This would not be good news for civil society.

      aperture in reply to tom swift. | June 26, 2014 at 12:33 am

      There is an underlying assumption that those who thumbed their noses at the legal immigration system will suddenly become engaged voters in the future.

      I don’t think there is much interest with them in integrating into our larger society, especially in contributing to their communities and participating in elections.

      What percentage native-born U.S. citizens go to the polls in any given election?

    Radegunda in reply to dmacleo. | June 26, 2014 at 12:11 am

    “Reform” means “We need to change our laws to accommodate those who willfully broke them.”

    Where else does that work? Maybe if someone sees a diagonal footpath growing across a lawn and decides it’s more sensible to pave it than try to stop everyone who won’t stay on the paved rectilinear walkways. But otherwise, don’t you generally have to change the rules first before you can thumb your nose at the old ones with impunity?

    That’s generally the case for citizens. So why do foreign nationals get privileges of lawbreaking that citizens do not? And why do so many alleged conservatives paint those lawbreaking foreign nationals as the kind of people we really need more of?

I don’t know who ‘Red Dawn’ is, but they’re either an idiot or a liar (or both).

You know perfectly well why we refuse to consider any immigration reform without securing the border.

Because we’ve done this before – MULTIPLE TIMES.

Every single time its the same bullshit from the liberals. ‘Oh we’ll go ahead and legalize the ones here and then we’ll worry about the border’.

Nothing gets done, and a few years later we have an even worse problem.

We’re sick of the lies.

There is literally no rational reason to refuse to enforce border security other than wanting more illegals to come.

Close the border so the problem STOPS GETTING BIGGER. Then, and ONLY then, will we discuss what to do with the illegals already here.

    Radegunda in reply to Olinser. | June 26, 2014 at 12:19 am

    Exactly right. The only thing that needs to be “reformed” right now is the insane non-enforcement of immigration laws and non-guarding of the border.

    There’s no reason we should be worrying about the people “in the shadows,” given that they put themselves there by scorning our laws. We have no obligation to them.

    People say it isn’t right to “punish children for their parents’ actions.” Okay, but is it correct to reward children for their parents’ misdeeds? If your parents give you a BMW they got unlawfully, do you get to keep it?

      Radegunda in reply to Radegunda. | June 26, 2014 at 12:27 am

      The pro-amnesty crowd argues that “We just can’t deport them all!” But virtually no one is saying we should launch a major campaign to round up all the illegals. There’s a lot of distance between that and the positive encouragement of illegal border-crossing that reigns today.

      If the government (at all levels) just displays some seriousness about actually enforcing laws and protecting the border, the incentive structure will turn against entering the country illegally. Those who are still here “in the shadows” can sort out their own situation.

        JayDick in reply to Radegunda. | June 26, 2014 at 11:06 am

        “Rounding them up and deporting them” is a red herring. Make it impossible for them to work and most of them will leave on their own. And, that is doable under current law with a little effort.


We ain’t got no Fences.

We don’t need no Fences!

I don’t have to show you any stinkin’ Fences!”

That argument didn’t work out so well for Gold Hat in the original. Why do you think your luck will be better? Are you feeling lucky?,…

Once again, I ask for a simple explanation of why we need to reform our system of immigration. Somebody please tell me, short of the complete lack of enforcement, what exactly is “broken” with our current system?

    what exactly is “broken” with our current system? it works too well for their purposes–they want something “brokener”.

    btw, do not give up your guns, you will need them.

    aperture in reply to IrateNate. | June 25, 2014 at 11:30 pm

    This has been my question exactly, how is it broken? When a group of people break a law, we are to conclude the legal code is broken? Anyone who uses that phrase should be required to stop & provide specifics before they continue.

    Radegunda in reply to IrateNate. | June 26, 2014 at 12:33 am

    Anecdotal evidence tells me that the government might be making things too difficult for those who make the effort to immigrate legally — especially people who don’t check off certain “diversity” boxes.

    But what’s really broken, obviously, is any willingness by the government to protect our borders. It’s so Alice-in-Wonderland: the government doesn’t really try to enforce the current laws, and then the resulting disorder is cited as proof that “the status quo just isn’t working.” But “status quo” in that argument refers to the law that isn’t being enforced — rather than the neglect to enforce the laws.

    JayDick in reply to IrateNate. | June 26, 2014 at 11:10 am

    There are some reforms I would like to see, but certainly not the kind proponents of current proposals would like.

    1. Harsher penalties for businesses that knowingly employ illegals.
    2. No more chain immigration except for spouses and dependent children.
    3. No more anchor babies.

    There are probably some more; these came to mind immediately.

stevewhitemd | June 25, 2014 at 8:56 pm

Let me see if I can implement RedDawn’s idea here:

Part the First — border security — great, do it. Fences, patrols, sharks with frigging lasers on their foreheads, all of that.

Part the Second, independent of the First — comprehensive immigration reform — no. [all further pleas met with silence ]

Well, that’s how I’d implement it.

Immigration reform would solve exactly nothing. The problem exists in two places. First, in the aliens’ nations, where conditions exist to motivate mass emigration. Second, in America, where there are Democratic and Republican interests to demote American citizens. By ignoring the first problem, Obama has contributed to its progress, and creation of a humanitarian crisis through responsibility shifting. By ignoring the second problem, America has a large and growing population which is unproductive and succumbing to corruption.

There is no immigration crisis. America has more than enough men and women to do every job that needs to be done. In fact, too many Americans, and their children, are displaced by excessive and unmeasured (i.e. illegal) immigration, which not only disenfranchises Americans, and their posterity, but also sponsors progressive corruption, both in America and the aliens’ home nations.

However, to be fair, with the abortion/murder of over 1 million Americans annually, there may be a common misconception that America is understaffed or dying in a Dodo Dynasty. With the normalization of abortion/murder and other dysfunctional behaviors, perhaps there is sanity crisis in America, which is only exacerbated by permitting an alien population to secure control of this nation through immigration and reproduction.

Midwest Rhino | June 25, 2014 at 9:37 pm

Many illegals will indeed “self deport”, to use Romney’s term that earned him mockery in the mfm. Heck, there are even Americans that are self deporting, since they are sick of the criminals that are gathering power in DC, and sending out henchmen via DHS or IRS or EPA.

But we need better terminology. Let’s “reunite the wayward souls with their families back in their homeland”. They have invested tens of thousands of dollars in remittances from America. They worked illegally, usually paying no taxes, receiving benefits … time for them to retire home and join their loved ones. “You’re welcome, now go home”.

For the tens of thousands of drug runners, coyotes, gangsters, and human traffickers … we should allow them to return to their native lands, where they can enjoy their pure culture, and avoid the evils of America, that are surely the cause of all their problems. No more having to dial 2 for Espanol, or having to deal with those racist Americans that refuse to learn Spanish. (though they do get an interpreter in any language if they show up at an emergency room … and that ain’t cheap)

We have a system, but the gangsters IN our government refuse to implement it, because THEY ARE the in cahoots. Holder/Obama give the cartels weapons, and fight the governors that try to control the borders. And now they are flying the illegals to various unsuspecting cities, dispersing the invaders to parts unknown.

“Immigration Reform” to the left just means complete surrender of our sovereignty, rejection of traditional America. We could seal the border … THEY don’t want to do it. They are busy transforming us.

Those that don’t self deport … they came illegally .. we can maybe work out some status, but no citizenship or voting cards EVER. But we should be taking biometric data on every single one of them.

Why anyone thinks we need “immigration reform,” let alone “comprehensive immigration reform” (code for loaded with pork and loopholes) is beyond me.

Have we not displaced enough citizen workers already? Have we not depressed wages enough already? Have too few citizens been required to unwillingly train their lower-cost (to the employers but not to the taxpayers) replacements? Have we experienced too few disastrous results of our loose asylum policies, unmonitored education visas, and the like?

Frankly, when I hear anyone advocating immigration reform I figure they’re either people expecting personal profit at the expense of the taxpayers, or people who don’t like the United States of America.

Why would I support rewarding people who prove every day they have no respect for our sovereignty and laws?

Whoa. I think RedDawn has been grievously misread by a number of commentators here.

RedDawn is asking why the issue of immigration reform has to be on the table at all, or in political and public discourse as if it’s a necessary co-requisite, like peanut butter and jelly, to demanding that our laws be enforced and our borders be secured. Re immigration issues during the Reagan years: times have changed.

We need to be saying “Secure the borders” not “Secure the borders and then we’ll talk about immigration reform.” We should not be offering consideration for the federal government to do the job it’s supposed to do in the first place.

    janitor in reply to janitor. | June 25, 2014 at 10:56 pm

    P.S. Perhaps the subheading should say: Immigration reform talks should not be offered like a carrot in return for demanding that the federal government do its job and secure the effing borders.

    AZ_Langer in reply to janitor. | June 25, 2014 at 11:13 pm

    That sounds good, but name one elected or appointed person in government who actually wants to secure our borders. I doubt a single one of them does, because game playing is much more lucrative.

    Juba Doobai! in reply to janitor. | June 26, 2014 at 11:23 am

    If that is the case, the failure to communicate clearly is RedDawn’s fault. The first rule of writing is say what you mean so people don’t have to figure out what you mean to say.

    tom swift in reply to janitor. | June 26, 2014 at 11:35 am

    Whoa. I think RedDawn has been grievously misread by a number of commentators here.

    You got that right.

    Nevertheless, RedDawn is befuddled by the same “reform” smokescreen as most of the commenters.

‘Should border security be a prerequisite for immigration reform? I don’t think so.’

How on Earth can any nation even claim to have any immigration policy at all with its borders wide open?

I agree “immigration reform” and border security are two completely separate issues and we need to talk of both separately and at the same time.
“Immigration reform” is a misnomer anyway because every year we have immigration reform with the Congress passing a new immigration bill. Our whole immigration law can, technically, be thrown out any year and replaced with something else, including no immigration whatsoever. (On immigration reform note, I want to reemphasize something I said on a previous thread: Why is it so hard for Belorussians to ask for asylum?)
The best way to address illegal immigration is by dismantling the welfare state.

inspectorudy | June 25, 2014 at 11:27 pm

Let me see if this will work for Red Dawn. Let’s deputize the 90,000,000 unemployed Americans as border agents, send them out in large bus convoys to grab and handcuff every alien that can’t prove they are here legally and then drive them to the border states and deposit them on the Mexican side of the border. That solves two major problems at one time. It makes the unemployment rate go to almost zero and it makes immigration reform obsolete!

These flash mobs of children crossing northward from Mexico should permanently put an end to the guilt-inducing concept that we need to do all we can to keep families together.

For a parent to put their child into the hands of a coyote or smuggler is a fundamental betrayal of their primary role as parent. I’ll be the first to say it: I don’t parrot the idea that ‘any parent would do the same.’ No, any parent would not do the same. Shame on every parent who abandons their child to such a dangerous journey.

And, to send your child alone to another country so the people in the other country have to pick up the costs of parenting them is simply a selfish act, not heroic or brave.

The reason you want immigration reform conditioned on securing the border is because we’ve been repeatedly burned over the decades by politicians who move at lightning speed to welcome illegals while ignoring border security. This isn’t some new phenomenon, we’ve been down this road time after time.

and btw I was surprised by the negative reaction to the writer of this piece. I agree that securing the points of entry (including the Visa system) should not be an issue of debate. The writer correctly notes that has nothing to do with whatever people are talking about when they say “our system of immigration is broken.” It isn’t.

I wonder why they are busing these children who are crossing en masse to cities away from the border. They should be kept close by, processed as quickly as possible to satisfy the formality, then returned to their home countries asap. I get no sense of urgency from the federal government about this, very disconcerting.

On a different note, I have deep respect for those from other countries who follow our existing path to citizenship, for their patience with the bureaucracy and their respect for our laws. From work permit to green card to application for citizenship, there is solid reasoning for the steps. If you’ve attended a Naturalization ceremony with anyone, the pride and joy of citizenship in the room is overwhelming.

I would note border security is but one part of enforcement. We are the only industrialized nation which has no means of tracking visa visitors with tourist, work, and student visas. And the e-Verify system is ready right now to eliminate the use of fake SSNs.

Reform is of course needed. We have neither the manpower nor the system to find and deport 10-12 million people who do not wish to be found. For instance, law enforcement at all levels – federal, state, and local, all of them – makes roughly 2 million custodial arrests a year. By that is meant the suspect is booked, not just issued a summons in the field.

If we doubled the number of law enforcement officers, it would still take at least five years just to round up the illegals, not to mention the new facilities that would need to be built to house them even temporarily before deportation.

Plus we would need no-knock entry authority – repeal the 4th Amendment altogether – and domestic check points: “Papers, please.”

That’s not going to happen, period. Only idiots think it will.

So some accommodation will need to be made to make these people guest workers or something, just to get them on the tax rolls and buying auto insurance, etc. We pay the costs they do not.

But that doesn’t mean a “path to citizenship” for them OR their offspring. There is already a path to citizenship. If that is what they want, get in the proper line and wait your damned turn.

And if we do not INSIST upon “enforcement first,” passed, in place, and working, BEFORE whatever legal status we grant the current illegals, we will get NONE.

Both previous “comprehensive reforms” included strict enforcement provisions that never seemed to take hold. Not again.

“Trust us” is not a policy. It’s a sucker play.

    Juba Doobai! in reply to Estragon. | June 26, 2014 at 11:29 am

    We used to track all non-citizens. I know because every years we used to have to go and fill out the requisite forms so INS/ICE knew where we were.

[…] Immigration Reform|Border Security|Amnesty – Legal Insurrection […]

it is, by design, a Cloward-Piven strategy. Failing that, it is an attempt to provoke an incident “citizens form a militia and move to secure the border” that will give the Federales an opportunity to declare martial law and suspend the November midterm elections……and another distraction for Obama’s dismal numbers.

the Bundy standoff was the dress rehearsal

All right. Cutting through the smokescreen –

“Immigration reform” has nothing to do with immigration or reform, so don’t try to criticize it in those terms. It’s code for amnesty. The goal is –

1. amnesty for illegals
2. citizenship for illegals
3. permanent Dem voting majority
4. a one-party United States
5. unimpeded implementation of the full Progressive agenda

My prediction – President Shuck ‘n Jive will not be able to stampede the House into passing an amnesty, because the Republicans know that it would be suicide for them. Boehner et al have not been very effective at stopping the Progressive assault – and it’s not even clear they’re terribly interested – but they know when their own careers are at risk, and 10 million new Democratic voters will make Republican officeholders an endangered species.

So how will he do it? For all the talk of executive orders, it’s not obvious how an E.O. can turn an illegal into a voter. So I expect he’ll use the Presidential pardon power to make their criminal status go away. The extents of the pardon power are not well explored; recall that Ford pardoned Nixon for everything without even having to explicitly state what crimes he was being pardoned for. That was a surprising extension of arbitrary Presidential power, but it was never challenged. Obama will probably do it and then use an E.O. to direct INS to staff up so it can process all citizenship applications at lightning speed, no questions asked. The blanket pardons may well be challenged in the courts, but O. can be confident that he has four sure votes in the Supreme Court, and just needs one more. Maybe Roberts will come through for him again.

When? Right now the optics would be bad, with the current crime wave at the southern border. The press will eventually cooperate to smother that story, so he may wait a bit. But he can’t wait too long – once Sharpton and the rest of the professional race-baiters realize that an unlimited flood of Hispanics will crowd blacks off the Federal subsidy gravy train, they’ll start squawking. So perhaps Barry will make his move right after the 2014 elections.

I don’t mind disassociating the two. What I do mind is that there is any discussion whatsoever about whether to secure the border or not. How is it possible that this is even a question?

rorschach256 | June 26, 2014 at 10:40 am

The primary reason why they cannot be disassociated is the fact that the amnesty crowd are liars. they will assure us that they fully support border security just long enough to get amnesty passed and then will pretend that the issue is closed and walk away. the ONLY way to get border security is to use it as a bargaining chip. if you ask me the only “reform” we need are more immigration judges to process deportations in a timely manner (as in immediately), revocation of birthright citizenship to children born of illegal aliens here illegally, and mandatory e-verify checks backed up with extremely stiff penalties for hiring illegals combined with cleaning up errors in the e-verify system.

The article ignores the political aspects of the subject. For a political compromise, each side must give something to the other side. Republicans want border security, Democrats want some form of amnesty. That’s why they are always linked.

I would like to see a discussion of exactly what’s wrong with our present laws. There are some flaws, sure, but things would be much better if they were simply enforced. That has never really happened.

The only immigration reforms are to make it a serious felony with years in federal prison as punishment for this crime. The same goes for those that help illegals including those who establish or maintain sanctuaries. Same goes for everyone who provides them employment or government aid. When the criminals surrender to police they will only be deported with a suspended sentence after they confess. W