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The illegal immigration issue in the 2016 election

January 4, 2016

To many people the very existence of the U.S. is threatened culturally, economically and militarily by the continued flood of illegal immigrants.

Donald Trump initially made his political bones on the issue and on his  promise to deport them, all 12 or 13 million of them, and it is the lead issue in his newly minted traditional campaign ads.

About deporting those 13 million illegal immigrants…When Mr. Trump opines that Dwight D Eisenhower, the 34th American President, deported 1.3 million illegal alien immigrants, he is probably using the figure claimed as fact by some fact-checking websites who cite the reports generated by the Immigration and Naturalization Service, or INS, and the various presidential libraries.

That figure also includes illegal immigrants that “self-deported” because of the government’s actions on deportation.

Illegal immigration has been and will probably always be an economic and national security problem at some level. Given the difficulty in finding these people once they are in-country, deportation will probably always be an incomplete way of dealing with the problem.

From an economic standpoint, and given the current trend away from funding the training for and growth of entry-level vocational or manual labor jobs, the impact on jobs “taken from U.S. citizens” may be substantially less than what is hyped.

Economically, the impact that will be felt in providing increased publicly funded goods and services for a population is only likely to increase, as both original entrants and their newly born children enter the welfare systems and public schools.

The Pew Research Center provides a look at the illegal immigrant population from 1990’s 3.5 million to 2014’s 11.3 million. While the inflow volume has been highlighted in the media during President Obama’s reign, the actual population has been steadily increasing for the past 24 years, under both Democrat and Republican presidents, showing that border security hasn’t been at the top of any administration’s to-do list.

Depending on how reliable you deem the sources to be, during their terms three Presidents, Hoover,(1929-1933) Truman (1933-1945) and  Eisenhower (1953-1961) deported or induced to leave under threat of deportation some 5.6 million illegal immigrants. That’s over a collective period of 22 years in office and a time span of 32 years. That’s about 175,000 per year over the 32 year time frame or just over 254,000 for each year the three men were in office.

Assuming that the next President serves a full eight years and has the same average per year in office , that’s about 2.1 million people.

In contrast, President Obama has at least numerically earned his nickname of “deporter-in-chief”, averaging  approximately 333,000 annually over the six years from 2009 to 2014, or a projected 2.67 million in eight years. That figure may somewhat suspect, since even people who are turned around right at the border are counted as deportations, rather than denials of entry.

Suffice it to say, it just isn’t possible for anyone, including Trump, to round up and deport or induce to leave some 12 or 13 million people in eight years, much less one or two years.

What deportation on a massive scale might do is to slow the incoming flow.

There are fewer and fewer jobs that require the type of manual labor that most immigrants can do without proper documentation and training. Add the threat of aggressive deportation actions and it may be possible to cut the flood to a trickle.

Indeed, in an report by the  Pew Research Center and cited by Reuters, the net number of Mexican immigrants returning to Mexico recently is actually greater than the number entering already. Some of those are reported to have cited the realization that things aren’t really much better here than where they came from as the reason they are leaving.

So, if sheer numbers are a problem economically, what impact do they have on the security issue?

There you have a different kettle of fish. If even 100,000 people enter and stay in the country illegally and a miniscule 1% or 1,000 of them are hardened criminals or terrorists they could potentially do a lot of damage.

The far left is fond to a fault of saying that lack of economic security or equality is the driving force behind self-radicalization, an argument that seems strange given their equal fondness for importing people into a country that isn’t growing enough of the type of jobs these immigrants need to have to alleviate poverty.

Indeed, there seems to be a penchant for ignoring the fact that so far, none of the named terrorists seem to have been panhandling on street corners or dumpster diving to get by in life.

Given that just two people caused 14 terrorist-inspired deaths in San Bernardino, that’s more than a little unsettling. The injuries and deaths caused by the gang and cartel members that have entered or will enter are probably beyond accurate calculation, but if you doubt their influence, take a walk alone and unarmed through some of the border towns and sanctuary cities after dark. Go ahead, I dare you.

That leaves us as a nation with a different problem. To deport them, we have to find them.

If we can’t profile people based on certain characteristics, and even when captured they are subject to a catch-and-release legal system, then can we ever reduce the problem to a manageable level?

The candidate that can accurately present the real problem and then reduce the potential for that stripe of immigrant to just walk in and disappear will be on to something that even the average illegal immigrant or liberal talking head can get their brains around.

Maybe the better thing for candidates to argue about is how to ensure, without the slightest chance of recidivism or revolving door justice, that once captured and convicted none of these bad guys (and girls) can ever return to cause trouble within the U.S. in the future.

From → op-ed

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