Monday, March 15, 2021

The Law of Unintended Consequences Comes for Immigration

More proof, if proof were needed, that trying to be the opposite of Trump on immigration policy does not produce viable, sustainable policy. This is becoming clearer by the day. Fareed Zakaria:
"In recent years, hundreds of thousands of Central Americans have tried to enter the United States to ask for asylum. The Trump administration initially used cruel tactics — including separating children from their parents and putting them in cages — but eventually arrived at a practical policy. It stopped taking in asylum seekers at the southern border, forcing them instead to wait in Mexico for their cases to be resolved, and it negotiated agreements that allowed the United States to send people back to Central America to seek asylum in a neighboring country rather than in the United States.
Now Biden has overturned those policies, and that, combined with expectations of a more generous approach to immigration, has contributed to the current surge of migrants.
Nearly 180,000 people have arrived at the southern border or tried to cross illegally in 2021, more than double as many as in the first two months of 2020. These numbers will increase as it gets warmer. Officials at the border are already overwhelmed. There has been a particularly large surge of unaccompanied children, probably the result of a Biden decision to create an exception for them to a Trump rule barring migrants on health grounds. Federal authorities are scrambling to find places to house the 3,500 children still languishing at Border Patrol stations and are even looking at an airfield and an army base.
The truth is the asylum system is out of control. The concept of asylum dates to the years after World War II, when the United States created a separate path to enter the country for those who feared religious, ethnic or political persecution — a noble idea born in the shadow of the United States’ refusal to take in Jews in the 1930s. It was used sparingly for decades, mostly applying to cases of extreme discrimination. But the vast majority of people entering the southern border are really traditional migrants, fleeing poverty and violence. This is a sad situation, but it does not justify giving them special consideration above others around the world who seek to come to the United States for similar reasons — but patiently go through the normal process."

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