NEW MEXICO — At the “Current Crisis: Facts, Figures, and Analysis” panel at the We Build the Wall symposium, experts from NumbersUSA and the Center for Immigration Studies, Rosemary Jenks, Chris Chmielenski, and Steve Camarota, discussed the state of the U.S. southern border and provided analysis of the political and economic impacts induced by illegal immigration. They also presented a wide array of solutions to address these issues.
Panelists agreed that a significant shift in the types of people crossing the border illegally is responsible for the current border crisis.
“Democrats have put a “target on border patrol and ICE agent backs” making it so they “can’t do anything other than release illegal aliens into our communities.”
Historically, migrants were predominantly single men from Mexico and came in numbers that border patrol could handle: they would process and return them to their home countries.
In recent years, however, unaccompanied minors and family units have begun to comprise the majority of illegal alien crossings, especially since 2014, a shift that policies like the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) catalyzed.
As Jenks put it, DACA “sent a message saying that children get a free pass”. The current numbers are unprecedented.
The issue with this shift is that border facilities were constructed and laws were drafted to accommodate single men. Now, facilities are overburdened, as they can’t process migrants at the rate at which they arrive.
Panelists agreed that Democrats are responsible for exacerbating this problem by declining to fund any attempt to improve detention centers, specifically those for families. According to Jenks, Democrats have put a “target on border patrol and ICE agent backs” making it so they “can’t do anything other than release illegal aliens into our communities.”
Jenks also dispelled the myth that family separation is a policy exclusive to President Trump. Separating children from their parents who are being prosecuted for criminal offenses has been the standard policy for migrants and even citizens long before President Trump took office.
Camarota defined the primary reasons for having a secure border: preserving of the rule of law, protecting America’s sovereignty, and preventing drugs and criminals from entering unabated. He also highlighted how illegal immigration disproportionately harms unskilled workers with low education levels by depressing their wages making it significantly harder to find employment. He dispelled a myth that labor shortages necessitate a migrant flow and that illegal aliens do the jobs Americans won’t: in the sectors which employ illegal aliens the heaviest, American-born citizens still comprise over two thirds of the workforce.
The other impact Camarota focused on was on how illegal immigration affects taxpayers.
Sixty-two per cent of illegal alien households access welfare programs, often through their U.S.-born children. He also highlighted more subtle ways illegal immigrants use taxpayer resources like education and healthcare. Overall, “the fiscal drain is about $75,000 in their lifetime more in services than they pay in taxes,” he said.
The solutions proposed were robust.
The panel agreed that the entire dynamic of how border patrol interacts with unaccompanied minors and family units need to change dramatically.
Classifying the cartels which have “full operational control of the border” as a “terrorist organization” would also allow the government to more actively combat them.
One proposed solution was changing the Flores Settlement, which says migrant children can be detained for a maximum of 20 days. Such constraints complicate the asylum process.
Asylum is a separate issue.
Improving “credible fear interviews” was one solution. Doing so would enforce existing law, which defines asylum as fleeing persecution based on religion, race, or politics, not gang or domestic violence, a loophole commonly exploited by illegal migrants to make fake asylum claims.
A safe third country agreement with Mexico is also imperative according to the panel, as it would force migrants who pass through Mexico to seek asylum there rather than continue on to the United States.
Welfare reform was touted as another solution to help disincentivize illegal immigration.
Pulling federal funding from states or cities that don’t comply with federal immigration law is a key component. Classifying the cartels which have “full operational control of the border” as a “terrorist organization” would also allow the government to more actively combat them.
The panel also acknowledged how it’s not just Democrats that impede making these necessary changes; Republicans that have sold out to corporate donors and their super PACs interested in cheap labor are equally to blame, the speakers agreed.
Human Events is reporting live from the Texas/New Mexico/Mexico border where We Build the Wall Inc has built half a mile of 25-foot-tall steel wall.
Natalie Winters is a freelance writer