Last year, a majority of Americans polled thought there was an “invasion” on the border. U.S. immigration process was built in layers of law over decades. Reforming it is hard. Reaching consensus is rare. Neither those favoring restriction nor those favoring expansion are ever satisfied.
Past presidential administrations did the best they could, mostly enforcing the law, but occasionally inventing legally dubious programs like family-reunification parole for Cubans (2007) and Haitians (2014) or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (2012).
But for President Joe Biden, restraint is a dirty word. Not content merely to release inadmissible border crossers pending far-off court dates, the administration has ignored the law and invented an entire parallel migration system, a sort of Upside Down of what they call “lawful pathways” to let people in on parole.
Opening the Floodgates
In the furtherance of left-wing ideology, California passed Proposition 47 in 2014, reducing thefts totaling less than $950 from felonies to misdemeanors. According to the Desert Sun, “Many police say this law is a major factor in the wave of shoplifting that has plagued cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles and closed many stores.”
Stores have adapted by (a) closing or (b) locking things up. At the same time, they instruct their employees not to stop thieves, on pain of being fired.
Meanwhile, New York City’s shoplifting complaints rose 44% from 2021 to 2022. All this retail theft angered businesses in his city, so Mayor Eric Adams announced a plan. Dead last of his seven points is the creation of an “Organized Retail Theft Task Force.” Higher up are “two diversion programs” for offenders, and the installation of “resource kiosks in stores to connect individuals in need to critical government resources and social services.”
Adams was once a cop, so he ought to understand the criminal mind a bit better.
The recidivist thieves driving that 44% increase are likely opportunists exploiting a system they know won’t catch or punish them—not low-income mothers desperate for Pampers.
Former professional booster Jared Klickstein gets it. He wrote that “no matter how shiny or sophisticated, no electronic kiosk would have prevented me from shoplifting to feed my $350-a-day heroin and cocaine habit.”
Not helping, New York District Attorney Alvin Bragg has allowed a relative handful of career thieves to be released time and again, such that they account for half the shoplifting in the city.
Non-solution for Real Problem
Equally oblivious to human nature is the plan in Washington, D.C., to solve reckless driving by sending text messages to the owners of a “random sample of 100,000 cars that have received a large number of citations” for speeding and running red lights.
To be clear: The D.C. government knows who the most recidivist, dangerous drivers are, but instead of taking them off the roads through prosecution, its answer is to “make people think about their driving habits.”
Allowing thieves to steal with impunity doesn’t lower theft, and letting known dangerous drivers off with a warning doesn’t reduce accidents. Likewise, inventing more and more parole-based bogus immigration programs won’t discourage illegal immigration.
Only law enforcement will do that.
But instead of enforcement, the Biden administration has just added yet another Family Reunification Parole program, this time for people waiting their turn for immigrant visas in Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.
The Biden administration’s pretzel logic is this: To prevent people entering the U.S. illegally, they’re inventing a program that pretends they are coming legally. To justify it, the Department of Homeland Security implausibly argues that bumping 100,000 people from these four countries to the head of the line and allowing them to wait for their visa number in the U.S. is both a foreign policy objective and a “significant public benefit” to the U.S.
Costs Outweigh “Public Benefits”
Though they almost certainly never consulted the state and local schools and hospitals that would have to bear them, “DHS has determined that the significant public benefits” of the Family Reunification Parole program “outweighs any costs incurred for schools … and health care.”
Having pressured Latin American countries to sign the Los Angeles Declaration on Migration and Protection, the Biden administration now claims that the U.S. now needs to follow through on the countries’ joint “intent to work together to expand access to regular pathways” for would-be illegal immigrants.
But as Phillip Linderman, a fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies and a retired U.S. career diplomat, explains here, the Biden administration’s underlying dream is the globalist one of open borders and untrammeled migration by right.
To assist this goal, the U.S. has persuaded Guatemala, Costa Rica, and Colombia to set up “Safe Mobility Offices” that will channel people into “accelerated refugee processing, family reunification, and labor pathways to the United States.” There’s already a website, setting Uncle Sam up as a migration advisory service abroad.
I’ll credit Adams with genuinely wanting to prevent crippling theft in his city’s stores, even if his methods are ridiculous. But anyone studying the Biden administration knows full well that its parole policies aren’t designed to deter illegal immigration, much less remove anyone living here unlawfully.
All the talk of “pathways,” “root causes,” and regional cooperation is just smoke and mirrors to distract a weary U.S. public’s attention from the true agenda.
This piece originally appeared in The Daily Signal