March 24, 2017
[This is the beginning of a long piece by me on the reasons for limiting immigration, that will appear in Saturday's print edition of the Wall Street Journal.]
The immigration debate in the U.S. has been contentious for decades, but Donald Trump’s candidacy and election have taken it to a new level of polarized animosity. Politicians and the public have focused, understandably, on Mr. Trump’s promise to build a “big, beautiful” wall on the U.S.-Mexico border and on what should be done with the millions of illegal immigrants currently in the country.
These are certainly important issues. But they are enforcement issues. They are less fundamental than a question that too often goes unaddressed in our debates: Why limit immigration at all? Almost everyone at least pays lip service to the need for limits of some kind, but we don’t often enough challenge each other to explain what limits we support and why. Read more...
March 14, 2017
The New Republic, a century-old liberal magazine, basically ceased to exist when most of its staff and writers resigned in 2014 in response to mismanagement by owner Chris Hughes, co-founder of Facebook. He sold the shell of the magazine last year to a lefty activist and publisher from Oregon, and what's now called TNR seems to be just another Salon. Read more...
March 14, 2017
John Fonte noted at the National Review site last week that the new DHS office serving victims of criminal aliens (dubbed VOICE) will help challenge the dominant media narrative about immigration. Along with the complementary initiative to systematically provide the public with information on crimes committed by released criminal aliens, Fonte says it represents "the opening round of a long-overdue declaration of (political) war on the sanctuary cities, counties, and states that protect criminal aliens." Read more...
March 7, 2017
The conclusion of my piece at The National Interest site today:
The new executive order doesn’t establish a new framework for immigration security; its main effect is merely to slow some of the flow for a few months to allow the development of such a framework. As such, the melodrama surrounding it may be hard to explain. But when you understand that it’s the president’s very authority to keep foreigners out of the country that’s being opposed, the melodrama makes more sense.
March 1, 2017
There were two important points related to immigration in last night's speech. The first is that the media hype about Trump possibly floating an amnesty plan was nonsense. It was driven by comments from the president himself to reporters earlier in the day that he’d be open to a deal that offered a non-citizenship amnesty to non-violent illegal aliens and a regular citizenship amnesty for the DACAs (illegals who came before age 16 whom Obama lawlessly amnestied). I don't think that was planned; he’s seemed to embrace a Jeb-like immigration plan in past off-the-cuff comments, only to back away when speaking formally, and that seems to be what happened. Taking this seriously was wishful thinking by the media and paranoia by immigration hawks (including myself) – though the paranoia, or better, eternal vigilance, is always necessary. Read more...
January 26, 2017
"This is a law-enforcement agency."
That's what President Trump told Department of Homeland Security staff Wednesday after he signed two executive orders on immigration enforcement.
The fact that he had to say that – and that the assembled ICE agents, Border Patrol officers, and others heartily applauded – tells you all you need to know about how badly Obama gutted immigration enforcement and torpedoed employee morale. Read more...
January 23, 2017
Politicians will always disappoint you. Rich Lowry at National Review tells the story of how, during the few hours he was considering a run for New York City mayor, he found himself already starting to waffle on principle to a potential voter in the elevator. If I were ever so unwise as to run for office, I too would no doubt disappoint those who unwisely voted for me.
So I was fully prepared for the Trump administration to do some things I wouldn't be happy with. But I expected the problems to arise in the area of foreign-worker visas; the president, while running for the nomination, made frequent statements in support of importing foreign workers on visas. (See here and here and here.) Read more...
January 18, 2017
Spoiler: Probably not.
Last week, President Obama ended the "wet foot-dry foot" policy for Cuban illegal aliens. Under the old approach, any Cubans apprehended at sea by the Coast Guard were returned to the island (unless they made a credible case for asylum), while those who reached shore were allowed to stay, enabling them to get green cards after one year, per the Cuban Adjustment Act of 1966.
Wet foot-dry foot is itself a narrowing of earlier practice; before President Clinton formulated it in 1995, all Cubans, even those at sea, were simply brought to the U.S. Read more...
December 28, 2016
I was among those begging Jeff Sessions not to take a position in the Trump cabinet. For sure, he will be among the finest Attorneys General in our nation's history, but I feared his departure from the Senate would leave a leadership vacuum, with no forceful, knowledgeable immigration skeptic to push back against the McCain/Schumer expansionists.
Fear not: Tom Cotton has reported for duty. Read more...
December 1, 2016
In September the media reported that the Obama administration was sitting on a damning Department of Homeland Security (DHS) report that called into question the administration’s claim that as many as 81 percent of people attempting to cross the border illegally are apprehended.
This new report, whose full text the Center for Immigration Studies has now obtained, estimates that nearly half of illegal aliens slip through the southern border undetected. Read more...
November 29, 2016
Today is "Giving Tuesday" – the well-meaning but contrived attempt to counter the rampant commercialization of the Christmas season. (Maybe next year, I'll invent Wonky Wednesday to promote donations specifically to think tanks!) Contrived or not, everybody's doing it, so here's why you should direct some of your giving this Tuesday to the Center for Immigration Studies. Read more...
September 20, 2016
The news over the past couple of days highlights how screwed up our immigration policy is.
In response to the Minnesota attack by a Somali immigrant jihadist, Jeremy Carl asks at National Review, "But if even a small, but meaningful number of Somali immigrants join terror groups, which they most certainly do in numbers far out of proportion to their population, why do we need to bring in more?" Read more...
September 1, 2016
Rich Lowry at National Review is right about Trump's Phoenix address that "From an immigration hawk point of view, it is almost certainly the soundest speech ever given by a major-party presidential candidate." It was detailed and substantive and touched on issues that everyone's familiar with (like sanctuary cities) as well as less well-known ones, like the administration's unwillingness to sanction countries that won't take their own citizens back. (The text is here.) I hope this puts an end to the Jeb/Marco/Schumer talk that was so alarming last week, though I fully expect to be disappointed soon enough by the next dumb thing Trump says. Read more...
August 16, 2016
Donald Trump's speech yesterday on the threat of radical Islam included a section about immigration policy that has the usual suspects in a tizzy. This section focused not on terrorism, but rather on what Andy McCarthy calls the "grand jihad," the importation of Islamist ideology that rejects our constitutional order and open society.
In his trademark manner, Trump departed from the prepared text to Archie Bunker-ize the speech by calling this "extreme vetting," which is not the phraseology you should use once you've won the nomination and are trying to persuade the middle-of-the-road voter in Ohio and Florida. But rather than calling for body-cavity searches, as this label might suggest, he was instead calling for ideological/values screening, with the commonsense goal that "we should only admit into this country those who share our values and respect our people." He explained: Read more...
July 15, 2016
Before my family and I came to Nice for vacation, I looked to see if any large-capacity, terrorist-bait events were scheduled during our stay. Several matches of the European soccer championships were played there, but that was weeks ago, and last weekend’s final (where France lost to Portugal) was in Paris, so I figured we were in the clear.
But no one’s in the clear. I was at the Bastille Day fireworks at Nice’s waterfront promenade, with the usual ooh-ing and aah-ing: Read more...
July 1, 2016
One year ago today, Kate Steinle was killed in San Francisco by a previously deported felon protected by that city's sanctuary policies. In the interim, neither Congress nor the administration has done anything to rein in these acts of nullification by states and localities against federal immigration law. Read more...
June 23, 2016
The Supreme Court split 4-4 on the 26-state lawsuit against Obama's amnesty decrees; the full text of the ruling is this: "The judgment is affirmed by an equally divided Court." (No tally was released, but obviously the Democrat justices voted with Obama and the Republicans — even Kennedy — voted against him.)
That means the lower court's decision to uphold the injunction remains in place, and the DAPA amnesty program (for illegal alien parents of U.S.-born kids) and the expansion of the DACA amnesty (for illegals who claim to have come here before age 16) remain on hold. Read more...
May 20, 2016
At yesterday’s Senate immigration subcommittee hearing, Brandon Judd, head of the Border Patrol agents’ union, decried the “catch and release” policy imposed by the White House. (His statement starts at 2:05:50.) He estimated that some 80 percent of the illegal aliens that are apprehended are released into the United States. The key lines from his statement (emphasis added):
If you are an unaccompanied minor we will not only release you, but will escort you to your final destination.
If you are a family unit, we will release you.
If you claim credible fear [of persecution], we will release you.
If you are a single male and we do not physically see you cross the border and you claim that you have been in this country since 2014, we will release you.
May 16, 2016
Congress in 1990 created something called Temporary Protected Status in an attempt to hem in unilateral executive actions on immigration. The law created a framework for presidents to let illegal aliens from a country stay here for a limited period of time if there was a natural disaster or civil violence back home that made the country "unable, temporarily, to adequately handle the return of its nationals." The point was to prevent presidential freelancing, though what had happened up to that time was microscopic compared to Obama's outrages. (I wrote last month about the likely grant of TPS to Ecuadorian illegals in the wake of the earthquake there.) Read more...
May 15, 2016
"Immigration cases — like old soldiers — seem never to die."
That's the opening line of the First Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in a recent case that exemplifies the relentless war on America's borders being waged by immigration lawyers and their illegal-alien clients.
This is an utterly conventional case, like thousands of others that clog the courts, the result of "serial attempts to revisit a final order of removal" (a deportation order), in the words of the ruling. The alien plaintiff's 20-year campaign of lies and immigration fraud shows what our immigration-enforcement system is up against. Read more...
April 27, 2016
Almost every natural disaster in the Third World is followed by calls for amnesty for illegal aliens from the afflicted country. Such amnesties are de facto permanent, despite their label: Temporary Protected Status.
TPS is what you might call green card-lite – it provides the illegal immigrants (and legal tourists, students, et al. whose visas are expiring) a work permit, Social Security number, driver’s license, and access to certain welfare benefits, but not an immediate path to citizenship. Obama’s lawless DACA and DAPA amnesties were modeled on TPS. Read more...
March 11, 2016
The Washington Times’ Stephen Dinan also took the radical step last night of asking the Republican candidates about the level of legal immigration. Over the previous 47,000 debates this season, this question – one of the most important faced by any country – has only come up once before. In January, Rubio was asked why he wanted to massively increase immigration; his panicked response was a fruit salad of non sequiturs. Read more...
March 11, 2016
I was delighted to see Stephen Dinan of the Washington Times in one of the moderators’ chairs last night. He asked about immigration right at the beginning of the night, with questions on both foreign worker visas and immigration levels overall. Here’s what was said about the first topic. Read more...
March 10, 2016
I wrote the other day that if the Supreme Court validates Obama's lawless amnesty decrees, much of immigration law will effectively be rendered null and void. I was referring to the many criteria for admission and exclusion, which Obama claims he can ignore at will.
Of course he's already ignoring much of the law anyway, choosing not to enforce the law against virtually all illegal aliens under the pretext of "prosecutorial discretion." (The Supreme Court case is about Obama's attempt to go the next step and formally award them work permits and Social Security accounts.)
The Democratic candidates in last night's debate suggested Obama was too strict on immigration, and tried to outdo each other in pledging to gut the law even further. Read more...
February 29, 2016
You want to see the roots of Trump’s appeal? Read Sunday's New York Times:
A few weeks after Senator Marco Rubio joined a bipartisan push for an immigration overhaul in 2013, he arrived alongside Senator Chuck Schumer at the executive dining room of News Corporation’s Manhattan headquarters for dinner.
February 3, 2016
[This is a short piece by me that appears in today's issue of the Latin America Advisor, published by the Inter-American Dialogue.]
In June, the Supreme Court will drop an immigration bomb into the middle of the presidential campaign.
That's when it is expected to rule on the 26-state lawsuit challenging President Obama's edict granting work permits and Social Security numbers to as many as four million illegal aliens who have U.S.-citizen or legal-resident children. This legalization program proposed by Obama is ostensibly temporary, but is understood by everyone to be de facto permanent; revoking lawful work permits from four people is easy, but from four million is essentially impossible. Read more...
January 15, 2016
Finally, someone asked about the central question of immigration policy: How many? Here's what Maria Bartiromo asked of Rubio in Thursday night's Republican presidential debate in South Carolina:
Under current law, the U.S. is on track to issue more new permanent immigrants on green cards over the next five years than the entire population of South Carolina. The CBO says your 2013 immigration bill would have increased green cardholders by another 10 million over 10 years.
December 17, 2015
Tucked into the 2,000-plus pages of Paul Ryan’s monster spending bill to fund the federal government through the rest of this fiscal year are two immigration measures that testify to the strength of employer interests in bending immigration policy to their will.
One is a change that would effectively quadruple the number of H-2B foreign workers. These are unskilled non-farm workers (a companion program to the H-2A for farmworkers, and the H-1B for tech workers) who work in a variety of industries, including manufacturing, tourism, lifeguards, seafood processing – you know, jobs Americans won't do. Read more...
November 20, 2015
Is the era of mass migration from Mexico really "at an end"?
That's the claim of a new report from the Pew Research Center titled "More Mexicans Leaving Than Coming to the U.S." It finds a net decline of the Mexican population of 140,000 from 2009 to 2014. Herewith a few thoughts. Read more...