Saturday, February 27, 2021

Biden's So-called Immigration Reform Another "Fig Leaf"

Biden Has Reopened A Trump-era Facility
It's starting to look like Joe Biden over-promised on how rapidly changes or reforms to an immigration system groaning under the strain of decades of neglect, abuse, and competing priorities would take place. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand it is a bad idea to invite bad people into your neighborhood. In this regard, the Trump administration had some success in deporting many thousands of MS 13 members. However, President Joe Biden has already ensured with his initial Executive Orders that the old open border policies of old would be restored people wishing to enter the country can flood back in again.

Ironically, because of this, The Washington Post recently reported the Biden administration has reopened a facility in Carrizo Springs, Texas, to house migrant teens who crossed the border without adults. What the Biden Administration is currently doing with immigration does not constitute real reform to a broken system. It is tweaking and sidestepping comprehensive immigration reform which has become a political football used by those wanting to swing policies in the direction they desire. Do not underestimate the ability of politicians and mainstream media to confuse this issue by claiming it is also a litmus test to measure whether a person is compassionate or cares about their fellow human beings. 

The immigration system is badly broken and fixing it is easier said than done. A huge part of the problem stems from the fact most people can not agree on exactly what kind of immigration system we should have. To many Americans, the key issue is how open the borders should be and who should be allowed to enter. The debate of what people "deserve" and whether those who have it should share is not new. To some people, it comes down to basic human rights. This turns into a wish of how things could be rather than how they are. Remember, borders are a creation of man and men set the rules as to who crosses them and on what terms. While it may seem unfair to exclude or deny individuals this right we must remember that life is unfair and this is a reality of life.

Trump's Border Proved Politically Divisive 

Many countries have "controlled" borders that limit those who wish to enter. This means, whether a person lives in a "land of plenty" by luck or worked their way in by cunning or toil it is something to be valued. The main reason countries try to keep immigrates out stems from the types of people that wish to enter. Sticking in my mind is the line, "they opened the borders so workers would come in but they got people instead." This keys onto the fact that many citizens resent people being allowed to enter the country and joining the group of people receiving government aid. To make matters worse many of these people do not follow or honor the mores and customs that allow a society to function.

While it is difficult to get numbers, it appears that between December 21, 2018, and June 11, 2019, the DHS with their "catch-and-release' system" allowed at least 190,500 border crossers and illegal aliens into the interior of the United States. These people were often given work permits which allow migrants to take jobs in the United States while awaiting their asylum claims. One federal immigration official noted that only around 12% of border crossers actually end up qualifying for asylum. This highlights that many illegals simply ignore immigration laws. ICE officials told Congress last month that around 87% of illegal aliens fail to show up to their court dates. This forces the agency to undertake the expensive task of attempting to locate each offender for deportation which is nearly impossible. If you are against immigration, this truly is a crisis. 

The phrase, "catch and release" refers to a collection of policies, court precedents, executive actions, and federal statutes spanning more than 20 years. These were cobbled together by Democratic and Republican administrations. This means many of the people apprehended by US authorities were released from detention while awaiting their immigration hearings. This was partly due to limitations in detention space and legal limits on who could be detained and for how long. For example, one court ruling prohibits detaining women and children for more than 21 days. While many of the same practices occurred during Obama's time in office, President Trump took a lot of heat over the immigration issue. In truth, the result of Trump's directives turned out to be "more show and salesmanship" than a major change in the way things were handled. This is because congressional approval was needed to pay for more detention capabilities, this is why many federal agents complained they were spending more time processing immigrants than guarding the border.

Immigration is the crux of the issue and Trump's so-called wall has become a diversion. It is little wonder much of the world appears to have lost faith in America's ability to lead when we have allowed the country to be held hostage over such the mundane issue of a wall aimed at reducing illegal immigration. The fact is walls are a barrier and barriers impede easy access. While such a barrier is not the answer or solution to immigration it is a tool that can help limit and direct how people illegally enter the country. Ironically, American citizens stand in long lines with passports in hand while long parts of our borders go unprotected. The fact is anyone who has traveled knows you can't just walk into any country without any questions asked.

America's Immigration System Is Broken

A lot more of our political attention should be focused on the broken bureaucratic apparatus that comprises our current immigration system. Immigration has been an issue for decades and not properly addressing it will not make it go away. A reasonable solution to solving our immigration problems has eluded both Republicans and Democrats time and time again and reduced those caught within the system into political pawns. The debate over immigration, processing new arrivals, and addressing millions of undocumented immigrants, receives plenty of press but most of our immigration problems lurk below the radar.

Tens of billions of dollars are wasted each year on this costly inefficient system according to an article published by the American Action Forum way back in April of 2015. The article explored the cost of a broken immigration system on American business. The fact is that when the American Action Forum (AAF) analyzed the total costs of the immigration system, they found close to $30 billion in annual regulatory compliance costs. It hardly takes a rocket scientist to determine that reducing the number of people "illegally" entering the country would save billions of dollars and allow the system to function better even in its current poorly crafted form.

Examining paperwork requirements by way of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) the AAF found 20 requirements dealing specifically with the labor implications of hiring an immigrant worker. Of this, seven paperwork burdens specifically applied to employers. AAF used agency estimates on the amount of time for each requirement, the number of forms, the length of applications, and the number of applicants. When an agency failed to provide a cost for the paperwork burden, AAF used the Department of Labor’s estimate of “Real GDP Per Hour Worked:” $60.59 and assumed $180 per hour as a reasonable cost for an immigration attorney.

Immigration also takes a toll on American employers, these burdens increase the cost of doing business and place a barrier to firms wishing to hire qualified workers. AAF found that a hypothetical firm hiring an immigrant would have to manage up to six federal forms, totaling 118 pages, and at a cost of approximately $2,200 per firm, per hire. Even small businesses in states far from the border are required to confirm a worker is legal to work. This is a bit ridiculous for small firms with only a few workers, all from their own family which they have known since birth, but that's the law. 

Another article in The New York Times from September of 2016, titled; “The Economic and Fiscal Consequences of Immigration” cites a 509-page National Academy of Sciences Study that reinforces the fact this is a very controversial issue. The report allowed interest groups on both the left and the right to claim it vindicated their positions. America’s Voice, a liberal advocacy group, declared from the pro-immigration side it "confirmed immigrants benefit America." while conservatives calling for more restrictions on immigration read the same report but had a very different interpretation saying it showed "workers and taxpayers lose, businesses benefit.”

According to a Harvard-Harris poll, around 2-in-3 American voters are opposed to catch-and-release, and according to GOP voters, conservatives, and Trump supporters, reducing overall immigration remains a priority. Little of the border wall barriers Trump promised were ever built. None of this is a solution to the Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals (DACA) situation, and loading millions of people on buses and deporting is never going to happen. Still, those wanting more open borders should realize the current immigration is broken.  

We should step away from the "emotional" aspects of immigration such as flowery debates about the rights of people and what they "deserve" and focus on real immigration reform. In the overall scheme of things considering America's multi-trillion-dollar budget, the cost of building a wall is peanuts and it is easy to see how America will get a good economic return on money spent for a barrier that works 24/7 year after year. Again those we have sent to Washington are proving they are more interested in grandstanding and playing to their base rather than solving real problems.

 (Republishing of this article welcomed with reference to Bruce Wilds/AdvancingTime Blog)


  1. As a generous "liberal" I believe some limited controlled immigration is a good thing. Is it possible to pick a number given the many different rationales that people have for coming? Approximately 750,000 people become naturalized citizens every year. There are 1.1 million green cards issued yearly. Permanent residency is a pathway to citizenship and there are numerous categories to apply for. Last year about 5,000 Americans renounced their citizenship. In 1965 before the Immigration and Nationalization Act, the number was about 265,000 predominately European green cards. Since 2000 it has been slightly more than 1 million with Europeans a very small minority.
    There are about 4 million live births in the USA yearly. So approximately 50% of the growth of the population stems from immigration. The percentage of foreign born citizens continues to grow from 3% in 1965 to 14% today. What would be a good number? There is clearly a NONE crowd and there is a more the merrier crowd. In short, I think every year Congress should vote on a preferred number of legal immigrants. There could be some controlling legislation to say they couldn't change more than X% so that it could be administered effectively.
    But the problem is not legal immigration. It's managing illegal immigration. That number is speculative. The preferred number is 12 million but that is a stock figure not a flow.
    I have been disgusted with our political leadership on this issue since the early 1970s. It is maddening to have a policy of neglect. Every cell in your body controls what can come in and go out to maintain viability. Every country must do likewise.
    I would counsel slow change. Settle on the number and then enforce it. We have never been serious about enforcement. There are a million excuses and I am tired of all of them. I worked in Germany in the 70s and there was a simple protocol: obtain a work permit for passport, register with the local police your local address, and give your employer your permanent address to send your withheld taxes back to you after you exit. You are a guest not a citizen and do not have the same benefits of vacation, child care etc. Your employer pays your health care.
    The wall I believe is foolish. The best control is to monitor access to normal everyday things like setting up a bank account, renting an apartment, enrolling children in school, traffic stops, health care emergencies. All of these contacts should uncover the undocumented. They deserve a hearing but I am not sure how much due process as a right simply of being human. I don't think the cost of processing deportation can be higher than the coyote cost of getting here. We have no mechanism to make our leaders decide and so they haven't. It's hard to know what to bitch about to our overlords since they don't listen anyway but immigration foolishness and neglect is right up there. Pardon the rant.

    1. Well said and thanks for the comment. I pardon your rant and agreed with much of it. As for some type of physical barrier, not necessarily a total one, the big benefit it generates is a message. It also directs people to legal points of entry.

  2. For most politicians, immigration is not about doing the right thing or even what is good for the nation. For the Left, it is all about bringing in as many immigrants as possible, legal or illegal, then providing them with free education, healthcare, and other benefits, and finally getting them permanent resident status or citizenship. All this so that they will vote Democrat, with the ultimate goal of turning Texas blue so that they will win every Presidential election. The Republicans desperately want to stop this, so they vehemently oppose what they call "amnesty", even for the folks who were brought here as children, and by doing so they come across as xenophobic or anti-immigrant which the Democrats exploit to the max. IMO, our broken immigration system will never be fixed.

  3. The problem will persist until they they take down that flashing help wanted sign at the border. It can be seen across Mexico and clear into Guatemala. The truth is that most of them are not coming to the U.S. for welfare but because they know that once they arrive there's a good chance they'll get work. Just for an example, a large portion of the workers in your meat packing plants are illegal immigrants and management knows full well who in their plant is illegal.They're the ones willing to work overtime when necessary and the ones who don't complain about the unhealthy working conditions. The majority of americans just will not work under those conditions. period.. Lets face it, there are certain industries that rely on illegal immigrant labor and management is well aware of it. If you want to stop it just start fining management when they find illegals working. It'll stop real fast.

  4. You've tackled an overwhelming problem, and I applaud you trying to bring rationality and realism to the debate, but it's a symptom of a deeper issue. Until that deeper issue is resolved, the immigration "problem" will not go away, but get even bigger.
    I’m speaking of the intention to destroy what we call the "Western world". This is a full-frontal attack on first world countries by the world's elite, which has been trained to see itself as citizens of the world, and to see patriotism and pride in one's culture as war-mongering imperialism.
    Back around 1990, Hewlett-Packard was the first company I'm aware of that made a corporate decision to move their high-tech work to India. Thousands of American workers were laid off. A decade or so later, when Carly Fiorini, HP's CEO, was running for public office, her opponents brought up moving American jobs overseas. Her response was "There's no such thing as an American job." Unsaid, but clear, is the message that there is no allegiance to American workers, economy, nor ideals.
    We can see the ridiculous lengths European countries have suffered while undergoing the effort to destroy their culture with the importation of millions of uneducated, military-aged hostiles from the Middle East. It's gone so far as to claim that Africans and Asians are indigenous to Europe!
    Klaus Schwab and HRH the Prince of Wales talk about The Great Reset, and the need to narrow the gap between the rich and poor, but they are not talking about narrowing the gap between the uberrich and say, school teachers - they are talking about diminishing the wealth gap between the workers in Western countries and the workers in the impoverished countries.
    I did some lobbying in the 90s, addressing the outflow of tech industry from the US to Asia; immigration reform frequently came into the discussion. When challenged about how to stop illegal immigration, defenders of the current system said the way to do it was to eliminate the difference between the standard of living in the US and in Central America. A brief thought experiment will show the result would not be to bring other countries up to US standards, but rather, to take the US down to Third-World status, or maybe second world. Maybe not like Zaire or Sudan, maybe like Turkey or Mexico.
    I suspect that is the plan – to flood the US with millions of sick, uneducated illegal immigrants.
    Part of destroying the productive economy of the US is not only to export high-paying tech jobs, but more importantly, export the training. That's another story that is easy to get side-tracked on to.
    So, to wrap around to the beginning – unless we deal with the takedown of the US, and until we attack the core problem of a ruling elite that despises the average American, any discussions about what to do with the border is just spinning our wheels. It can be used to lead into the deeper issues, but isolated by itself, will do nothing to help solve the problem of getting the power away from those who wish to harm us.

  5. Margaret, Thanks for the comment. Your idea a weak immigration system can be used as a weapon by your enemies has great merit.

  6. During Meet The Press on 3/21, in response to why kids are not being turned back at the border and how they are being held, an administration official used the line "that's not who we are."
    It should be noted that such a statement fails to address much of anything.