Friday, March 19, 2021

Immigration Blues

I wrote about this a few weeks ago but my points have only become more relevant. Call it a crisis. Call it not a crisis. Whatever it is, it is a big, big problem that is exposing the Democrats' lack of any real plan to deal with the immigration situation.
In an article by Tom Edsall in the New York Times, Stan Greenberg:
"...warned that the administration will have to gain control of immigration: “The border matters,” he said, “and Republicans will use images from the border to sear into people’s consciousness. It is very important that they” — the Democrats — “are soon seen to be managing the border and immigration.”
Yes, and right now that is not the impression. In the latest CBS News/YouGov poll, Biden's approval rating is 69 percent of vaccine distribution, 62 percent overall, 60 percent on the economy......and 52 percent on immigration (36 percent among white noncollege voters).
The Economist, in a leader on the crisis/problem/whatever, rightly points out:
"Immigration, for years the most polarising issue in American politics and one that has become ever harder to solve, could soon dominate the agenda. To the president’s right, Republicans are on the rampage. To his left, meanwhile, progressive Democrats are out of step with wider American opinion, championing impractical demands (such as stopping deportations) while labour unions oppose sensible policies such as issuing more work visas. Mr Biden may want to avoid a confrontation with progressives, whose support he needs for other legislation. Yet he finds himself in a bind that could yet cost his party control of Congress in the mid-term elections next year.
In the short term, Mr Biden cannot change the dire circumstances that are propelling Central Americans, Mexicans and others to try to set foot on American soil, but he can easily alter the signals he sends. His administration has at times sounded like a shy host who is too polite to kick out hungry gate-crashers. “We are not saying ‘Don’t come’. We are saying ‘Don’t come now’,” was the excessively mild recent message to potential migrants from the secretary of homeland security, Alejandro Mayorkas. On March 16th Mr Biden sought to dispel any ambiguity: “I can say quite clearly: don’t come over,” he told abc News. He needs to do more to impose clarity and control.
That means making it plain that tolerance of legal immigration has to go hand in hand with toughness on the illegal sort. This will sometimes feel harsh. Unaccompanied minors who do not have successful asylum claims or family of legal status in America should be sent home. But there is no contradiction in being pro-immigrant yet anti-illegal-immigration. Recent Democratic presidents have taken strong stands on enforcement, including deporting illegal immigrants, bulking up border control and building fencing on the southern border."
And this is the critical point. The asylum system has become a very, very poor substitute for an actual, workable immigration policy that would be both humane and enforceable. As long as that situation is allowed to endure, that is as long as Democrats will be hugely vulnerable on this issue.
"A sustainable immigration policy for the future must involve creating more ways for immigrants to enter America legally. Currently there is no queue to join if you want to come to live and work in America, which is why so many migrants are either rushing the border to claim asylum or entering illegally. The asylum system has become a backdoor substitute for a proper immigration scheme. Mr Biden would also, sensibly, like to extend citizenship to undocumented immigrants who are already living in America and to the “Dreamers” who arrived there as children. Yet hope of such reforms depends on him acting decisively. An uncomfortable showdown with noisy elements within his own party may soon be needed."

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