Customs and Border Protection reports having made 1.8 million apprehensions along the southern border so far this year, but the flood of migrants keeps coming amid President Biden’s “mixed signals” and lack of clear policies to secure the border.
Fed up with the mess, this week Florida Governor Ron DeSantis sent two planeloads of migrants to Martha’s Vineyard, the tony island off the coast of Massachusetts, and Texas Governor Gregg Abbott delivered new busloads of migrants to the gates of the official residence of Vice President Kamala Harris.
These are stunts designed to focus the administration and the public’s attention on the consequences of uncontrolled illegal immigration. But America needs a lot more than stunts to actually reform our immigration system.
Immigration has vexed policymakers for decades, but it has gotten harder in recent years as facts have been obscured by virtue signaling on the left that equates border security with racism and xenophobia and “own-the-libs” theatrics on the right.
A study last year debunked a host of myths touted by immigration foes: Overall, immigrants don’t take American jobs, lower wages, abuse the welfare system, exacerbate budget problems, or contribute to crime and drug trafficking. In fact, the evidence suggested the opposite is true in most cases.Still, President Biden is justifiably criticized for not advancing a plan to secure the border effectively. According to a NPR/Ipsos poll released last month, more than half of Americans say there's an "invasion" at the southern border.
Broadly speaking, there is a lot of common ground among Americans on immigration, according to a survey by the Pew Center published last week. Majorities in both parties say that taking in refugees from countries where people are fleeing war and violence is an important goal. Nearly three-quarters of Americans favor better security along the U.S.-Mexico border. Over 90 percent of Republicans surveyed supported tougher enforcement but so did nearly 60 percent of Democrats. In addition, a poll last year by Vox and Data for Progress found nearly 70 percent of respondents said they were either “strongly” or “somewhat” supportive of a clearing a legal pathway to citizenship for the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants residing in the United States. When asked specifically about “DREAMers,” those who were brought to the U.S. as children, 72 percent expressed support, including a majority of Republicans. Just 24 percent were opposed.
Partisan differences come into view when it comes to priorities. Roughly 80 percent of Republicans put a high premium on deportations of immigrants currently in the country illegally, compared to half that number among Democratic respondents. Conversely, Democrats were much more likely to support allowing most immigrants now in the country illegally to stay and accepting more refugees from war and violence.
Some people see the Statue of Liberty beckoning one and all, no questions asked. Others see today’s “huddled masses yearning to breathe free” as a threat to their own liberties and, ironically, to the very definition of America.It is long past time to cut through the rhetorical extremes, look at the facts, and find balanced solutions that will enable us to continue to be a nation of immigrants and a nation of laws. That is what most Americans want.