Before We Give Up On Immigration Enforcement, Why Don’t We Try It?

Center For Immigration Studies

Here’s a new definition of chutzpah: obstructing immigration enforcement — and then claiming that the huge illegal population is proof the law can’t be enforced.

That’s what supporters of the various guestworker/amnesty proposals inevitably do. They claim that the United States has tried, but failed, to enforce the immigration laws, so it’s time for something new. On its face, this assertion might seem plausible. The illegal-alien population has grown from perhaps 3 million at the end of the last amnesty about 15 years ago to more than 11 million today. Over that same period, the federal government more than doubled the size of the Border Patrol and prohibited the knowing employment of illegal aliens. In the words of a Wall Street Journal editorial, ‘If a policy keeps failing for nearly two decades maybe some new thinking is in order.’

Well, think again. The reality is that increased enforcement has been focused almost exclusively at the border, and even that effort has been laughably inadequate. Any Border Patrol agent will tell you that he and his colleagues can’t be expected to shoulder the entire weight of immigration enforcement. Border enforcement must be complemented by vigorous and comprehensive enforcement of the immigration laws inside the country as well, in order to eliminate the magnet of jobs that attract illegals in the first place — and this we have all but abandoned.

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