“Hey, what’s up with that title?” I hear you saying. “I thought you hated political correctness! Now here you are, criticizing the most politically incorrect President since Andrew Jackson for one of the most politically incorrect policy initiatives ever done!”
First off, relax. I have made my position on political correctness abundantly clear, right here on this blog. I will not attack creative works for alleged “racism” or “sexism” simply because it gave Polygon or Kotaku or some other progressive outfit the heebie-jeebies. I will not treat whites like some kind of demonic entity. And I definitely feel that countries have a right to police their borders and set immigration policy.
However, this set my teeth on edge:
Some 6 million to 8 million people in the country illegally could be considered priorities for deportation, according to calculations by the Los Angeles Times. They were based on interviews with experts who studied the order and two internal documents that signal immigration officials are taking an expansive view of Trump’s directive.
Far from targeting only “bad hombres,” as Trump has said repeatedly, his new order allows immigration agents to detain nearly anyone they come in contact with who has crossed the border illegally. People could be booked into custody for using food stamps or if their child receives free school lunches.
The deportation targets are a much larger group than those swept up in the travel bans that sowed chaos at airports and seized public attention over the past week. Fewer than 1 million people came to the U.S. over the past decade from the seven countries from which most visitors are temporarily blocked.
I get it, I really do; illegal immigration violates a country’s borders. We should send back those who cross the border illegally and make them enter the right way. If we simply let everyone possible flood into the country, it would be total chaos. As I said, I’m not some open-borders fanatic; I believe that policing borders is a generally good idea.
However, President Trump’s policy is a sledgehammer where a scalpel is required.
We’ve already seen the problems caused by the recently overturned travel ban — people with valid visas and green cards were turned away or held in limbo despite having been cleared by the US government’s extreme vetting procedures (which often take years.) Already, the President has shown that he cannot implement immigration policy without making a total mess of it.
And these were people who tried to immigrate legally.
Now imagine what will happen when it’s not just a few hundred thousand an ocean away, but 11 million people right here inside the country. Deporting people who have actually harmed Americans, I can understand. Sending back recent arrivals, I understand too. However, uprooting whole families who haven’t done anything wrong — and who have put down roots — is just impractical.
Case in point: the DACA applicants. Having been brought over as children, they didn’t even make the decision to migrate; their folks made it for them, for obvious reasons. “Sending them home” to a home they never knew is sure to create chaos for the receiving country; after all, what’s waiting there for them? With no home and no job, they’ll unduly burden those countries — countries far less wealthy or efficient than the US.
Which brings me to the second point — the breaking up of families. Does anyone honestly think that even right-wing types won’t feel sorry for those who are dragged out of their homes in the middle of the night by SWAT teams? All it takes is one child shot, one mother maimed, for the entire notion of border control to collapse among regular (i.e. not ardently partisan) non-progressives.
If it were up to me, here’s what I’d want from an immigration policy in light of current conditions:
1) Increased border security. Prevent illegal border crossings with great vigor, and check up on people who overstay visas as soon as possible (A wall probably won’t help, though.)
2) Focus on deporting criminals. Those who do harm to Americans should be deported — end of story.
3) Path to citizenship for those already here. I’ll probably get raked over the coals for this, but I think that this is the best solution given the current circumstances. I envision something basically like DACA, but for all the current illegal immigrants. Many, of course, fear perverse incentives such as “if you cross illegally and hide long enough, you’ll get citizenship!” but I think that strong border control, going after visa overstays ASAP, and swift deportation of criminals can blunt that enough for it not to be a major problem.
I know that none of those things will satisfy the “Gotta deport ’em all!” contingent, but things like this have to be done carefully, not willy-nilly as with the travel ban. It will take time, but most things worth doing do; rush jobs generally suck.
Let me leave you with this quote as well, which I took from this thoughtful article:
Regardless of what I think, Trump is my president. But that doesn’t mean I can’t say he’s wrong about the immigration issue.
Also, I’ve written a novelette called Sword & Flower, something I’m sure any reader would enjoy. Click the cover image below to get it from Amazon: