On Easter: Congress Must Pass Compassionate Immigration Reform

Published on April 1st, 2015

By Joe Guzzardi
April 1, 2015

A recent Associated Press story told the tragic tale of four men and a woman found last month drowned in the Rio Grande on the Mexican side of the river. The discovery is the latest incident of needless deaths of immigrants trying to avoid the Border Patrol in their effort to enter the U.S. unlawfully.

Raul L. Ortiz, the Rio Grande Valley’s deputy chief, says that his sector has found at least 16 drownings in six months, only five short of the number reported during last summer’s historic surge of Central Americans and Mexicans into South Texas.

When border surveillance tightens, crossers chose more dangerous paths to avoid agents. Too often the consequences are fatal. In this case, the aliens drowned, but during the summer months, their deaths are often attributed to dehydration or improper protection against the night’s sub-freezing desert temperatures.

Faith-based organizations, immigration advocates, as well as some in Congress and the business community argue that the senseless deaths could be avoided if the U.S. had a more welcoming, less restrictive immigration policy.

The federal government is to blame, but not in the way the pro-immigration lobby suggests. President Obama’s 2012 deferred action for childhood arrivals, renewed in 2014, and his executive amnesty, also issued in 2014, have encouraged thousands of foreign nationals to make the life-threatening journey to the U.S. either on their own or with the assistance of coyotes or drug traffickers.

The aliens know that once they get onto U.S. soil, they only have to say “I’m a Dreamer” or “I have credible fear of persecution.” At that point, their removal chances drop to next to nothing. The Obama administration’s failure to enforce immigration law is exhaustively publicized in the foreign media, especially in Mexico and Central America. As long as prospective border crossers feel confident that no consequences await them, they’ll continue to come.

A truly compassionate approach to immigration that would dramatically reduce or possibly even eliminate pointless deaths would be to enforce existing immigration laws including vigorous internal enforcement. Instead, the White House has made the irresponsible decision to encourage more illegal immigration.

Recently, the House took the first step to end illegal immigration when the Judiciary Committee passed the Legal Workforce Act mandating E-Verify, currently used by more than half a million employers. E-Verify confirms that every U.S. job is held by either a citizen or a legal immigrant. If implemented nationally and if the White House stopped putting out the welcome mat, illegal immigration would slow and eventually be limited to a trickle.

In analyzing the winners and the losers in the immigration struggle, the National Academy of Sciences found that the winners are company owners whose dependence on pliant immigrant workers depresses Americans’ wages, wealthy families who hire domestic help like gardeners and housekeepers, and Fortune 500 companies that rely on cheap labor to generate large personal and corporate profits. The losers: lower-skilled, less educated American workers, especially the foreign-born, and poor Americans trying to leave welfare and join the labor force.

Few argue against expanded immigration. Yet in the U.S., a nation that accepts one million legal immigrants and is home to at least 12 million illegal immigrants, only the wealthy benefit. Enforcement would show sympathy for immigrants by helping to save their lives and would also remove unfair job competition for working Americans.

The Easter message for Congress is found in the Bible, 1Timothy 5:8: “But if any provide not for his own, and especially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith.”

Joe Guzzardi is a Californians for Population Stabilization Senior Writing Fellow. Contact him at [email protected] 

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