By Joe Guzzardi
December 1, 2016
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Since Donald Trump’s election, the media have published hundreds of stories about illegal immigrants’ fear for what might come next, namely deportation.
Trump has stated repeatedly that, initially, the focus will be on deporting the 2 million to 3 million criminal aliens. Later, he’ll assess the situation for the remaining illegal immigrants in the United States.
Still, the fearmongering continues, and the media refuse to acknowledge the public consensus. After 30 years of lax immigration enforcement under both Republicans and Democrats, Americans are fed up and want immigration laws enforced.
Historically, Americans have welcomed immigrants, but in recent years, immigration’s high, unsustainable levels have overwhelmed voters.
The most compassionate approach to immigration is rigorous border and internal enforcement that would deter illegal immigrants from coming to the United States, and would avoid tragic cases like the recent shooting of a 4-year-old Salvadoran girl traveling with her mother through Mexico toward the United States.
At a train stop, a group of would-be robbers boarded, and during the chaotic moments that followed, the child was shot in the arm. The train’s conductor took the mother and child to a local hospital for treatment. Upon leaving the hospital, smugglers transported the mother and daughter to a stash house in Mexico.
In her statement to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the mother said the conditions in the overcrowded house were deplorable, and there was no medical assistance. Eventually, U.S. border patrol agents rescued the woman and child as they crossed into the United States.
The mother’s voluntary statement is part of a State Department public-service announcement (PSA) testimonial series to highlight border crossing dangers. Launched May 31, the series is also part of a CBP Spanish-language public awareness campaign that releases the videos in Central America through U.S. embassies.
“Human smugglers are cold-blooded individuals who have no regard for human life,” CBP spokesman Jaime Ruiz said.
“Getting sick during the journey has been a death sentence for thousands of migrants who put their trust in merciless criminals. If a migrant gets ill or injured, she/he will likely be abandoned and left to die; we see this almost every day.”
The mother claimed that she was motivated to make the dangerous journey because she was seeking “something better” for herself and her daughter.
The pull factor that lures migrants not only from Central America but also globally is President Barack Obama’s nearly nonexistent enforcement which in turn has encouraged an expanding global smuggling network to prey on the naïve who wrongly assume their journey will end happily.
In December 2015, the Homeland Security Department told Congress that it had deported just 6 percent of youths who entered the country illegally, a huge policy failure.
The porousness of our failed border is well known. Illegal immigrants share this information on social media and inspire their friends and relatives to surge the border.
In short, instead of enforcing U.S. immigration laws, the Obama White House has sent an encouraging message that most illegal aliens will be allowed to stay.
Trump’s promises of criminal deportation, immigration enforcement and securing the U.S.-Mexico border will discourage illegal immigration. Going forward, common-sense policies should spare families from the type of violence the Salvadoran mother and her child suffered.
— Joe Guzzardi is a senior writing fellow for Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS) who now lives in Pittsburgh. He can be reached at [email protected], or follow him on Twitter: @joeguzzardi19. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.