Conservatives have a very different perspective on illegal immigration than the mainstream media would lead you to believe. We highly value compassion as Jesus taught and lived out, but since God is also a God of order, structure, and boundaries, we value the rule of law on a higher plane because it is a fundamental principle in a constitutional republic. It is a basic belief that a sovereign nation must control its borders and enforce its laws or it will lead to chaos and lawlessness.
Since 1986, we have turned a blind eye toward enforcing our immigration policy. President Reagan believed by giving a one-time amnesty to the 2.7 million here illegally, he would solve the problem once and for all. But because we did not solve the immediate problem of a continuous flow of illegal immigrants from the southern border, we in essence created an environment of normalizing certain forms of lawlessness. This exact consequence was predictable as Senator Jesse Helms argued, “Amnesty for the millions of illegal aliens currently in these United States would establish a dangerous precedent which could well encourage additional illegal immigration.” (Congressional Record, October 17, 1986) That is exactly what did happen; we now estimate an illegal population of 11 to 12 million. It will continue to escalate until we protect our borders by using all the tools necessary - a wall, drones, increase in Border Patrol agents and whatever other new technology that can be used.
It is irrational to believe that if you are lax with one set of laws that people will respect our other laws. How does this work in your home? If you say you have a rule in your home but you never enforce it, will your child believe that any of your rules are truly standards from which you will not waiver? In the same way, if you do not enforce immigration laws, you are sending the message that our laws are just a suggestion of a standard of behavior. This is a recipe for disaster and we have seen an increase in lawlessness from those cities and states that have chosen to disobey the immigration laws.
Congress is entrusted with writing laws and the president is tasked with enforcing the laws. President Obama illegally created the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program with an executive order. President Trump rescinded the DACA executive order, telling Congress to solve this legislatively. Yet, Congress cannot find the will to do that which will be a deterrent to continued flow of illegals over the border.
Our current immigration system is lengthy, costly and needs revamping. Currently, the cost of not enforcing our immigration laws is $134.9 billion, according to the Federation for American Immigration Reform. This is money we do not have. We are borrowing this money which will have to be repaid by our grandchildren at a far greater cost. This is shameful and irresponsible.
Congress may be on the brink of addressing the illegal immigration problem beginning with the decision of what to do with the DACA population. President Trump has offered an olive branch too far, in my opinion. Children who have been brought here through no fault of their own should have a path to legal residency, but not citizenship. For citizenship to mean anything, it has to be earned. The 800,000 who have registered for DACA should be required to get in the back of the line for citizenship behind those applying lawfully and fulfill the requirements that every other immigrant seeking citizenship has to complete. Maybe then we would have a population who appreciates American citizenship rather than feeling “entitled." They must learn American history and English, the official language.
David Inserra, policy analyst for homeland security and cyber policy for the Heritage Foundation, has put forward three common-sense changes to immigration policy to solve this problem: 1. End chain migration, allowing only spouses and children. 2. Adopt an employment-based immigration system. If there is a market for this person’s skills and a job waiting for them, they will have a higher priority for entrance. With what is currently happening we are creating a permanent underclass. Is that compassion? 3. Get rid of the diversity visa program. Immigration should be merit-based, which benefits primarily the U.S. but also the immigrant. Absent from his list is the promise of President Trump to build the wall.
Our immigration policy cannot be based purely on compassion, but rather on a solid legal foundation honoring our sovereignty and borders. America cannot absorb all the disadvantaged people in the world even though we historically have been the most philanthropic nation in the world.
Next week: Katie Colling
Linda Holub, of Dakota Dunes, S.D., has lived in the Sioux City metro area for more than 40 years. She and her husband, Dave, have four adult children. A certified life coach professional with a master of arts degree from Liberty University in Human Services, Counseling: Life Coaching, Holub is co-chair of the Siouxland Coalition Against Human Trafficking.