The American people need to have a realistic, rational conversation about our immigration policy moving forward to determine our nation’s future.
By our nature, we are a generous and caring people. We are pained to hear the cries of children separated from their parents at our southern border, even when the parents have violated our immigration laws.
And we understand that the family separations that dominated the news in the past week were not the Trump administration’s finest moment; nor was the Obama administration’s dismal record on immigration anything to brag about.
It’s not hard to understand how the political tin ears of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and President Trump’s senior adviser Stephen Miller misjudged public reaction to the separation of children from their illegal immigrant parents.
Sessions, who was a U.S. senator from Alabama before President Trump picked him to be attorney general, hasn’t had a tough political race in years. Miller is a policy guy, somewhat removed from the realities and implications of the political fallout from an inhumane policy. On top of this, the White House political shop is weak. Add this all up, and you can see how the immigration debacle took shape.
Many of us on the center-right understand the plight of the illegal immigrants showing up at the U.S.-Mexico border. We understand that 43 of the 50 most violent cities in the world are in Central America and that several countries south of our border are on the path to becoming failed states. We understand that the drug cartels are running rampant in Mexico and causing a massive breakdown of civil society and the rule of law.
But we also understand that America cannot absorb everyone in the world who would like to move here. The United Nations estimates there are 7.6 billion people in the world. According to U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. population is about 328 million. What if more people would want to come to our country under an open-border policy than already live here?
The American taxpayer is not obligated to fund the safety net for the poor people who Mexico is encouraging to leave that country and become our problem. We are not obligated to be the backstop for Central American countries’ utter failure to create democracies that will lead to free markets and free people.