A Cogent Plan

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.

7 comments… add one
  • TastyBits Link

    What is happening at the southern border is not a spontaneous event, nor is it economically driven.

  • Could you expand on that, TB? I know that there are NGOs ginning up migration in Central America and their motivations are not economic. I think that most of the migrants themselves are economic migrants.

  • TastyBits Link

    Since I do not have the time to fully document this, it will bee my opinion.

    In any case, I have no doubt that the people coming want to get away from poverty and violence, but very few of them would have packed up the family and trudged a thousand miles.

    Likewise, I have no doubt that many US citizens would want to move into your neighborhood and other commenters, but these poor Americans do not. If there were groups organizing, transporting, feeding, and advising the Chicagoans in the most violent and poor areas that all they needed to do was board a bus to your neighborhood for a better life, you would have people camping on your front lawn.

    Back to the caravans arriving at the border, a wall would not stop them, and lack of employment will not cause them to leave. Once they touch US soil, they are on their own. The people who facilitated their journey north will not provide economic support or help returning home.

    Furthermore, not one Democrat, open borders Republican, or libertarian will do anything to ensure these new arrivals are better in the US, and if one of these immigrants happens to stray into their neighborhood, they will be tossed out. Even if they somehow manage to stay, the Democrats, open borders Republicans, and libertarians will move – “for the schools”, of course.

  • steve Link

    We disagree here. I think that if someone leaves their country on March 1st to seek asylum in the US, even if they are really just going for economic reasons, and they are back home on April 30th after a quick hearing, the word will get around and people will stop coming unless they are really desperate. What happens now is that they leave and a year later they are still gone, so others follow.

    “Furthermore, not one Democrat, open borders Republican, or libertarian will do anything to ensure these new arrivals are better in the US, and if one of these immigrants happens to stray into their neighborhood, they will be tossed out.”

    Many churches, like ours, have taken in refugees (in association with some other churches). It is costly, but has been fairly successful. Unfortunately our church membership is pretty old and the church is not that big. I fear that we will soon need to decide between maintaining our soup kitchen and efforts to support refugees. (Our church is about as liberal as it gets. We have maintained the soup kitchen for many, many years, so I think we will probably keep that going at the cost of the refugees, but there will be some angst over it. I know it is cool to be all cynical on the internet and to diss groups you dont like, but there really are good hearted people who care about others and put in their own time, work and money to care for others.)


  • What I think you’re missing, steve, is that those apprehended are only a minority of those who actually come here. They’ll keep coming because most, as you put it, “are still gone”. They know they’ll get in eventually.

  • This is a fairly simple problem to deal with although it will take time.

    Here’s how:

    1) S T O P referring to this as an immigration problem and the migrants involved as ‘immigrants.’ This is a national security issue (and at least here in my home state, a public health problem) and these people are not immigrants…they are illegal migrants who came here without permission or vetting.

    2) By all means, a border wall. It wil not by itself solve the problem but will reduce it significantly, and also have an effect on drug smuggling and human trafficking.

    3) Give every illegal migrant 40 days to register as such with ICE. They would receive an ID that clearly lists their status as pending and would be required to inform ICE of their whereabouts every 30 days. Any who fail to register or keep ICE posted on their whereabouts properly would be subject to immediate deportation with no appeal. They would also need to show this ID to their banks to make reparations home.

    Another incentive would be the possibility of being allowed residency if these migrants meet certain criteria.

    4) All states would be required to provide voter registration lists to the DOJ, so they can be compared with the ICE registration list.

    States and jurisdictions with sanctuary laws are in clear violation of the tenth amendment, since immigration is clearly one of the powers the Federal Government controls, just like printing currency.
    The DOJ would institute indictments and criminal trials for public officials in violation of federal law.

    5) A presidential commission would create criteria and decide how many of these illegal migrants we can absorb. Given the over 3 million people who have applied to migrate here legally but can’t just walk across our borders, this is only fair and just.

    Once that number is determined and criteria agreed on, it can be applied to these migrants. Those who meet the following criteria would be eligible to remain here:

    1. No criminal record whatsoever, including drunk driving, immigration fraud or voting illegally.

    2.has learned or is learning English in a recognized school environment.

    3. Has a skill needed such as plumbing or carpentry

    4. Has served, is wiling to serve or is serving in our military

    5. Is not on public assistance, has a steady work history and has paid all due taxes.

    6. Passes vetting for health and lack of disease, just like they used to have to do on Ellis island.

    7. Is not a member of criminal or anti-American organization.

    Let’s say we decide we can adsorb 8 million illegal migrants who meet these criteria. Simply draw ID #s in a lottery and deport the rest to their home countries, unless their employers need them and they can qualify for H2A or H2B visas, both of which allow employers who need foreign workers to have them stay in the US for jobs of a temporary nature like agriculture or resort help.

    8. Make human trafficking a capitol offense requiring the death penalty. Watch how that cuts trafficking down!

    Immigrants in general should be people with skills who are ‘value added’ to America. This is how Canada, Australia and New Zealand conduct their migration programs and so should we.

    I have a correspondent who is a software designer with an inch of letters after his name and a couple of patents. He speaks English, has a wife and two kids and no criminal record or questionable associations. He owned a home and would not be a financial problem. He wanted to come to America given the difficult situation for Jews in the Netherlands, the country of his birth. ICE kept stalling him for over a year, constantly demanding more paperwork and bureaucracy.

    He finally got fed up and applied to two countries, Israel and Australia. Not only did the Israelis process his application in record time (just one month) but they gave him and his family counseling on items like taxes, home buying, medical insurance and all sorts of vital info, as well as a list on contacts to cal in Israel and start his job search early.

    The Ozzies took just a little bit longer, six weeks and then it was ‘welcome to Australia!’ They also gave him a list of contacts so her could start his job search.

    He chose Israel, had a job waiting for him as well as an intro to an ulpan ( a school designed especially for olim (new migrants) to teach them Hebrew. He’s happily settled in and his latest side project is a tech startup with a friend of his he works with.

    We could have had him here contributing to our economy ,but I guess he is less desirable than an uneducated laborer from Honduras.

    There’s nothing wrong with bringing such people in, but right now they’re costing us far more every year than it would cost to build the wall and implement the above policies.

    My apologies for the long comment, but this stuff just presses my button .

  • TastyBits Link


    President Trump’s offer to send the new arrivals to the sanctuary cities has been received with the exact response I predicted.

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