The U.S.’s nearly two-year-old border crisis continues unabated, yet Senate Democrats and some Republicans are foolishly resuming a push to grant amnesty to hundreds of thousands—and perhaps millions—of people living in this country illegally.
There is a simple test to determine if a given policy will reduce illegal immigration, and amnesty—whether for Deferred Action Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients or any other group—clearly fails the test.
Illegal aliens coming to the U.S. generally want five things. They want to enter the country, stay here, work here, send money home, and bring family here. Policies that allow or facilitate any of those five elements encourage more illegal immigration. Policies that prevent those goals decrease illegal immigration.
Let’s begin with illegally entry. Policies such as having a wall system, using the Remain in Mexico program, and requiring asylum seekers to request protection in the first safe country they enter (and returning them there if they do not) reduce illegal entries. Illegal encounters at the border significantly decreased when the Trump administration implemented these policies.
Yet, the Biden administration halted the wall construction and ended the Remain in Mexico program. Moreover, it actively encourages all illegal aliens crossing our border to apply for asylum, even though it knows full well that most are ineligible for the once important protection benefit. The result? Over 5 million illegal alien entries since Biden took office.
These and other ill-considered federal, state, and local policies have now so “normalized” illegal immigration as to almost erase the line between legal and illegal immigration.
At the federal level, the administration has watered down asylum standards and ignored immigration-benefit fraud; granted mass paroles; endlessly extended “Temporary” Protected Status to nationals of over a dozen countries; continued DACA; reduced the capacity of Immigration and Customs Enforcement to locate, detain, and deport illegal aliens; and provided endless “due” process before U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and in immigration court until an alien gets a green card.
States and localities have created sanctuary jurisdictions in which public officials refuse to ask a person’s immigration status or to communicate with ICE. They further facilitate illegal aliens’ ability to stay longer in the U.S. by providing driver’s licenses, which lead to additional downstream benefits, like bank accounts, housing assistance, and voting rights. After a few years of enjoying these benefits, illegal aliens then argue they should not be deported because they have too many ties here in the U.S.
If legislators want to stop illegal immigration and encourage legal immigration, stop giving them benefits that facilitate and prolong their ability to live here illegally.
Working in the U.S. without work authorization has been illegal since 1986, when Congress passed the Immigration Reform and Control Act at the recommendation of the U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform. The commission, led by then-Rep. Barbara Jordan, D-Texas, had found work to be the No. 1 pull factor of illegal immigration to America.
Today, however, the USCIS routinely skirts this law by providing employment-authorization documents and automatic extensions through numerous “temporary” programs such as DACA, Temporary Protected Status, “Operation Allies Welcome” for Afghans, “Uniting for Ukraine,” “Volunteering for Venezuela,” and mass parole.
Congress needs to take back its authority to determine who is authorized to work while in this country. Thorough worksite enforcement is also necessary to end unauthorized work. Employers should use E-Verify to the maximum extent possible to prevent unauthorized work, which will decrease illegal immigration.
The remittances sent by illegal aliens to relatives in their home countries make up significant portions of those nations’ GDPs. This leads their governments to pressure American politicians to continue ignoring illegal immigration. Meanwhile, the U.S. economy does not benefit from this generated income.
Preventing unauthorized work in the U.S. disables an illegal alien from sending remittances home and would discourage illegal immigration.
Finally, ending both birthright citizenship and chain migration are necessary to prevent illegal aliens from avoiding deportation based on their acquired ties to the U.S. Illegal aliens are subject to the jurisdiction of their home country per the U.S. Constitution. As such, their children born in the U.S. are not properly U.S. citizens. Congress should correct the current erroneous interpretation granting U.S. citizenship to babies born to aliens residing here illegally.
By even discussing amnesty for illegal aliens, Congress encourages illegal aliens to stay longer in the U.S. in the hope of obtaining amnesty. It also encourages more people to try to enter illegally in the hope that they can get in on the prospective amnesty action.
DACA amnesty proposals are no different. Granting amnesty to DACA recipients would only result in more minors being trafficked and abused by unscrupulous cartels and coyotes.
Amnesty rewards law-breaking, and even just considering amnesty proposals further undermines border security. Given the national security and personal safety threats already created by the Biden administration’s open-border policies, the only immigration legislation Congress should be passing is a border security bill.
This piece originally appeared in The Daily Signal