Democrats Get Immigration Wrong, Again

By Kausha Luna on February 12, 2016

Last night, the Democratic debate in Milwaukee became the latest example of the ill-informed immigration narrative propagated in the United States and the lack of interest in enforcement of immigration law.

During the debate Sen. Bernie Sanders went after Hillary Clinton's vague support for deporting some Central Americans, claiming she was willing to deport "people who were fleeing drug violence and cartel violence," making an explicit reference to Honduras. Yet, violence is not the principal reason Honduran are choosing to migrate.

As I pointed out earlier this week, a 2015 survey showed that the primary cause for Honduran emigration is economics, not violence. Of the respondents that had a family member who had migrated in the last four years, 77.6 percent did so in search of better economic opportunities. Similarly, the government of Guatemala characterized the reasons for migration to the United states – for both Guatemalans and for the Cubans who have been transiting Guatemala – as "economic and/or for family unification." Nevertheless, Americans, especially presidential candidates and the media, choose to ignore the facts and create a narrative of their own.

After Sen. Sanders' comment, Mrs. Clinton responded by saying that a message had to be sent to the people of Central America about the dangers of illegal immigration. This message is repeated over and over, but it is always a qualified warning. For example, last year in Guatemala, the U.S. government launched a multimedia campaign in response to the continued influx of illegal-alien minors and families to the United States. The campaign was presented as a tool to discourage people from migrating illegally. But in reality, the campaign was saying, "Don't migrate illegally, but if you do, here is a 'how to.'" More recently, the Obama administration put on a similar show with the January ''raids" carried out by ICE. This operation resulted in: the detention of a mere 121 illegal aliens, the removal of just 77, and earlier this week eight families were released.

Enforcement of immigration law is not a goal of either of these candidates taking part in last night's debate. Until that changes, people will continue to migrate illegally.