Ever since Donald Trump stepped up on the podium in Trump Towers and declared his candidacy for President of the United States, we often hear people harken back to the comments made by him on that day.
Admittedly, the president did not word things how I would have worded them at all. His “style” is always very abrupt and in-your-face, which is part of his appeal to many people.
Regardless of what I think about how he presents his opinions, there are some things that we need to be honest about when discussing the topic of illegal immigration.
As a Republican myself, I have met many individuals on the right side of the aisle who believe in stronger border security and a reduction of illegal immigration, yet I have never heard any of them put forward racist viewpoints or want to totally refuse the entry of immigrants into our country.
We want people to wait their turn and respect the process our country has set up that allows individuals to enter the country legally.
In fact, the United States has the largest foreign-born population in the world, totaling 46,627,102. That’s 14.3 percent of our population. The next closest nation is Germany, with 12,005,690 people who are citizens not born in the country. I think the United States should continue to lead the world in accepting legal immigrants into our country.
However, we cannot have open borders. We must maintain some degree of order, and what has been taking place at our southern border for so long has not been orderly in the slightest.
According to a 2017 study by the Pew Research Center, an estimated 11.3 million illegal immigrants are living in the United States. That number constitutes 3.4 percent of the total population of the U.S. Most illegal immigrants have lived in the country for over a decade.
Now let’s analyze the policies that were held by previous administrations regarding immigration. For instance, the Obama administration in 2014 was forced to build “cages” to deal with the influx of unaccompanied minors who showed up at the border. This is an example of the deep hypocrisy we have seen recently.
Guess who said this: “Undocumented workers broke our immigration laws, and I believe that they must be held accountable, especially those who may be dangerous. That’s why over the past six years deportations of criminals are up 80 percent, and that’s why we’re going to keep focusing on threats to our security.”
You may have seen where I was going with this: it was President Obama.
Don’t get me wrong, putting people in cages is not something I like to hear about either. It leaves a bad taste in my mouth, but upon digging a bit deeper we can see that they are not really cages at all.
In fact, according to Thomas Homan, Obama’s executive associate director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement between May 2013 and January 2017, the “cages,” as they are now being called, were not built to take care of children. The chain link dividers in the facility that have been photographed however do keep children separate from unrelated adults, which helps to protect the children.
He went on to say this, and I could not agree more: “We are all blessed to live in the greatest country on earth and I can’t blame anybody who wants to live here…But we are also a country built on the foundation of the rule of law. Those who choose to enter this country illegally, which is a crime, a federal crime, or to overstay their visa have knowingly chosen to break the law. Meanwhile, millions of people who have become permanent members of our society through our generous legal channels, they have shown their respect for the rule of law and for the American people.”
In conclusion, Democrats can point fingers at Republicans, ICE and the President all day long, however that is not going to change the facts. Most Republicans want immigration levels to stay the same, 16 percent of Republicans want legal immigration to increase, and only 28 percent want it to decrease according to a Quinnipiac University poll in 2018.
Furthermore, ICE does not make the laws, they simply enforce them, so blaming and villainizing them will get us nowhere. Finally, the president has not taken action that is any different than the previous administration.
Certainly, there are problems at the border, but maybe comparing the Republicans to Nazis isn’t the best way to solve the real problem.
Noah is a senior Political science major and president of the BU Republicans.