Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) recently referred to detention centers at the U.S. border as “concentration camps,” suggesting those “concerned enough with humanity” take the words “never again” seriously and must “do something about it.”
AOC and her fellow House Democrats must pass legislation that funds a border wall. Immediately.
Leave aside the offensiveness of her comparison for the moment, because she’s right about one thing.
If AOC and her fellow House Democrats truly believe the detention centers are “concentration camps”, and that detaining illegal crossers is an “atrocity,” they have a moral obligation to take any and all measures necessary to reduce the number of people in detention.
They must “do something about it.”
They must pass legislation that funds a border wall. Immediately.
THE PRESIDENT’S CONSTITUTIONAL OBLIGATION TO PROSECUTE ILLEGAL BORDER CROSSERS.
AOC and Democrats would like to blame President Trump for detaining migrants at the border.
President Trump and Congressional Republicans have proposed numerous plans to stop illegal crossings; House Democrats have rejected them all.
Article II, Section III of the Constitution requires that President Trump “shall take care that the Laws be faithfully executed.” “Shall” is mandatory language; the President is obligated to enforce the country’s immigration laws.
8 U.S.C. § 1325 makes an illegal border crossing – “entering (or attempting to enter) the United States at a time or place other than as designated by immigration officers” – a crime with a maximum penalty of six months in jail. If a removed alien illegally crosses again, it is a crime with a maximum sentence of two years, under 8 U.S.C. § 1326.
Detaining those he charges is part of “taking care that the law be faithfully executed.” Absent detention, there is little reason to suspect illegal immigrants designated for removal will regularly comply.
President Trump didn’t write these laws. Congress did. The president’s job is to enforce the law. Ocasio-Cortez, as a member of the body charged with writing the law, bears the responsibility for the legal regime Trump is obligated to enforce.
The White House alongside Congressional Republicans have proposed numerous plans to stop illegal crossings; House Democrats have rejected them all.
In other words: These are AOC’s “concentration camps”, not President Trump’s.
BORDER WALLS STOP ILLEGAL CROSSINGS.
While a border wall cannot stop ALL illegal immigration – as visa overstays happen after legal crossings – it would massively decrease illegal border crossings, placing a massive obstacle in front of someone trying to cross in between ports of entry.
Israel demonstrates the empirical truth here.
According to Israeli government statistics, roughly 61,000 illegal immigrants crossed into the Jewish state between 2007 and 2012. When Israel completed its border wall in December 2012, that number plunged dramatically:
The syllogism, therefore, is simple.
According to AOC, detaining illegal border crossers is an “atrocity.”
A border wall would reduce illegal border crossings and thus reduce the number of people detained.
Thus, by standing in the way of border wall construction, AOC and the Democrats bear moral responsibility for this continuing “atrocity.”
Notice also that framing detention as an “atrocity” renders many Democratic objections to the wall asinine.
Complaints about the cost of the wall (or that Mexico was supposed to pay for it) are now completely inappropriate. This is an “atrocity,” and if AOC is willing to put up $93 trillion for her Green New Deal, $50 billion for the wall is surely a pittance.
But, you might say, Democrats do have an answer to this moral quandary: open borders! AOC pretty clearly believes in open borders, suggesting that she doesn’t care whether immigrants are “documented or undocumented.”
Because AOC compared detention centers to “concentration camps,” she now has a moral obligation to deal with political reality and take pragmatic steps to solve the problem.
Here’s the problem: there isn’t any popular support for this proposal at all.
Only 30 percent of Americans want to see immigration increase, according to the latest Gallup poll. That’s probably why Democrats continue to insist they aren’t for open borders, and that they want more border security.
Moreover, Republicans control the Executive Branch and the Senate – and they won that power on a platform of more border security and stopping illegal immigration, not open borders.
Because AOC compared detention centers to “concentration camps,” she now has a moral obligation to deal with political reality and take pragmatic steps to solve the problem. There is no popular, bipartisan support for open borders, and no clever framing will change that.
But if she came out in favor of a wall, a wall would be built. AOC can move her party; she can’t move Republicans.
It’s time to put up or shut up, Congresswoman.
Help stop this “atrocity.”
Fund the wall.
Will Chamberlain is a lawyer and the publisher of Human Events.