As should be needless to say I agree nearly completely with the plan for reforming our system of immigration proposed by the editors of the Washington Post:
A cogent plan to cope with the tsunami of asylum-seeking migrants, mainly Central American families and unaccompanied minors, would start with hundreds more immigration judges to supplement the existing 400 or so whose backlog of roughly 800,000 cases means that hearings are now scheduled for 2021 and beyond. It would mean expanding and constructing detention centers near the border, suitable for families, that could accommodate many multiples of their current capacity while migrants await the adjudication of their cases. And it would probably entail congressional action that would permit authorities to hold families for more than the three weeks that court decrees have set as a limit on detentions that involve children.
Here is where I disagree with them:
Crucially, the existence of a functional system would in short order begin to deter migrants without plausible asylum claims from embarking on the risky and expensive journey.
Their “cogent plan” would help us deal with the present flood but I think it would just result in churn—the same migrants, augmented by additional immigrants, would be making the same claims in a neverending and increasing spiral. Variation among rulings by different judges would be enough to produce that outcome and, as long as the incentives remain in place, the behaviors are likely to persist.
In the past I’ve suggested the missing pieces: workplace enforcement and an information operation in the migrants’ home countries. More effective aid to their countries would help, too, but that may well be beyond our control.
It does raise the question of why the Congress hasn’t acted along those lines already? The Congress doesn’t require presidential leadership; it doesn’t even respond to it very much. I can only speculate that the Congress, Democrats and Republicans alike, like the system just as it is.