Op-ed: How to Fix the Border

Notes for a future administration

By Mark Krikorian on February 27, 2024

Credibility in immigration policy can be summed up in one sentence: Those who should get in, get in; those who should be kept out, are kept out; and those who should not be here will be required to leave.

— Barbara Jordan, chairwoman of the U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform, 1995

If a Democrat is sworn in as president of the United States next January, it’s not inconceivable that over the next four (or eight!) years, much of U.S. immigration law could come to resemble those archaic statutes that no one has bothered to repeal, like South Carolina’s ban on keeping a horse in your bathtub. But if someone becomes president who actually wants to create a sustainable immigration regime that promotes the national interest, his or her priority should be to stabilize the border, and next would be to implement administrative and statutory changes that would prevent the problem from returning.

During the recent discussion of the misbegotten Schumer-Lankford border bill, there was much talk about President Joe Biden not needing new laws to do his job. This was true, but only partly.

Biden, suffering from an acute case of Orange Man Bad, went beyond what you’d expect of a new administration of the opposite party and created the border mess through 535 executive actions on immigration, undoing virtually every immigration measure undertaken by the Donald Trump administration. Repairing that vandalism should be job No. 1 if there is to be any hope of security at the border. But even under President Trump, when the border was under much better control, there was still too much infiltration, in large part because of statutory loopholes. Those have to be addressed, but since legislation necessarily takes longer than executive action — and because Congress and the president don’t always agree — administrative changes should come first.

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[Read the rest at National Review]