Donald Trump

Donald Trump Is Terrible on Immigration, But Congress Is the True Monster

The president's policy of separating families at the border is wrong, but he's enabled by a lack of legislative action dating back decades.


Nick Gillespie

It's the "dago guinea wop greaseball" side of me whose stomach turns when reading the stories and seeing the pictures of kids and parents being separated at the U.S. border with Mexico. My mother was born in Connecticut in 1927 to Nicola and Maria Guida, two Italians who originally came to America in the 1910s. They never spoke English and they're dead, as is my mother, so I can't exactly check this story out. But one version goes like this: My grandmother had her first child, my uncle John, in the very late '10s, got homesick, and traveled back to the old country with her infant son. By the time she was ready to return, immigration laws had changed and they were unable to come back for several years (neither she nor my grandfather became U.S. citizens until after World War II, during which my uncle participated in the invasion of Italy of all operations).

It's not remotely the same situation as the one unfolding today in slow-motion sadness, but both involve laws about borders that keep families apart and both should give us all pause. What minimal amount of humanity does it take to feel the pain of the children involved, or the mothers and fathers? The immigration restrictions of the early 20th century were explicitly racist and nativist in intent (read about Bhagat Singh Thind, an Asian Indian who fought for the U.S. in World War I and, as a "high caste aryan," tried to get himself classified as white in 1923 and who had contempt for "mongoloids" and blacks; even some of the people fighting racist immigration and citizenship laws were racist).

Today's situation involving adult illegals entering the country with children takes place in a wildly different context, but the casual brutality of taking kids away from parents while legal niceties are being sorted out is uncomfortably reminiscent of the past. As a Twitter obsessive, I'm well aware of the old "if you don't want your kids to be locked in sleeping pens in a converted Walmart with a Donald Trump mural, then don't break the law!" arguments. Save it for someone who doesn't care, or is uninformed. Donald Trump and his supporters have repeatedly said that they are not just simply following the law, but that it's a "horrible law" and that Democrats are responsible for it. No part of that is true, as The New York Times (yes, yes, that failing thing) makes clear:

For more than a decade, even as illegal immigration levels fell over all, seasonal spikes in unauthorized border crossings had bedeviled American presidents in both political parties, prompting them to cast about for increasingly aggressive ways to discourage migrants from making the trek.

Yet for George W. Bush and Barack Obama, the idea of crying children torn from their parents' arms was simply too inhumane — and too politically perilous — to embrace as policy, and Mr. Trump, though he had made an immigration crackdown one of the central issues of his campaign, succumbed to the same reality, publicly dropping the idea after [public discussion in 2017 by former Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly] touched off a swift backlash.

But advocates inside the administration, most prominently Stephen Miller, Mr. Trump's senior policy adviser, never gave up on the idea. Last month, facing a sharp uptick in illegal border crossings, Mr. Trump ordered a new effort to criminally prosecute anyone who crossed the border unlawfully — with few exceptions for parents traveling with their minor children.

And now Mr. Trump faces the consequences. With thousands of children detained in makeshift shelters, his spokesmen this past week had to deny accusations that the administration was acting like Nazis. Even evangelical supporters like Franklin Graham said its policy was "disgraceful."

If you can't trust the Times, then read George Mason University law professor Ilya Somin's analysis at the Volokh Conspiracy, which states in part:

If enforcing the law really were the main concern of Trump and Sessions, they could easily address the issue by supporting legislation banning family separation at the border, except in cases of child abuse or similar exigency. Congressional Democrats have in fact proposed such a law, the Keep Families Together Act. If Trump were to endorse it, the bill could easily attract enough GOP support to get through Congress quickly, as many Republicans also oppose family separation and worry that the administration's policy might hurt their in the midterm elections. But Trump refuses to do that, because he instead prefers to use the plight of separated children as leverage to extract concessions from Congress on other immigration issues. He literally wants to hold the children as political hostages in order to push through his agenda of drastically reducing legal immigration, as well as illegal.

Here's the thing: To the extent that we are talking about this particular situation (which, amazingly to my mind, is not negatively affecting the president's approval ratings), we are missing a bigger and more important part of immigration policy specifically and political power more generally. The problem is with Congress, and it's always worth remembering that Donald Trump is not the cause but the effect of the decline in the ability and willingness of Congress to actually do its job in the 21st century. Its main job is to write and pass legislation, especially on major federal issues, but it has mostly abdicated that responsibility for decades now and nowhere is this more true than in the case of immigration reform. This is a fully bipartisan failure, as the Republicans and Democrats have both enjoyed legislative power since 2001, but the only time that they have really pulled off things has been in the wake of real and imagined major catastrophes (The Patriot Act in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, the passage of Sarbanes-Oxley in response to the tech bubble bursting) or ramming things through on starkly partisan lines (Obamacare, last year's tax bill). The clever libertarian thing to say is that gridlock is good and who wants more laws anyway, right?

In fact, the incompetence and indifference of Congress in hitting its basic marks—such as insisting on declarations of war before invading and bombing foreign countries or passing an actual budget once in a while—is the reason why the House and the Senate combine for a craptacular approval rating of 15.7 percent. By that comparison, the president's sad! 43.7 percent rating is pretty goddamn great.

From a libertarian point of view, Trump is horrible on immigration. Indeed, the whole cornerstone of his presidential campaign was built on a reality-challenged rant about Mexican migrants being rapists, drug dealers, disease carriers, and worse. That is a problem, but Trump isn't the reason why our immigration laws are so screwed up.

After George W. Bush was reelected in 2004, he said he had a ton of political capital and he was going to spend it on two big issues: Social Security reform and immigration reform. Neither went anywhere, primarily because of pushback from his own party. Like his father and Ronald Reagan, Bush had always been unapologetically pro-immigration and pro-immigrant. He was a political realist on the topic, though, and went along with increased border enforcement as the cost of doing business. But in 2007, a Democratic-controlled Senate quashed his last, best hope for comprehensive reform. The Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act would have added border fencing and border patrol, but would have also created a pathway to citizenship for some illegals and incorporated the old, first version of a Dream Act. It never got to a vote in the Senate thanks to most Republicans and a sizable chunk of Democrats. Immigration reform got shut down under Obama too, thanks again to both parties' reluctance to act (at the time, reform proponent Tamar Jacoby of Immigration Works USA blamed "anti-immigrant Republicans [who] have joined with Democrats allied with labor unions, many of which have a history of resisting immigration out of concern that a supply of immigrant workers competing for jobs will drive down wages"). Apart from his parting gift to "dreamers," Barack Obama was not good on immigration, if not quite as upfront about it as Donald Trump. He and his fellow Democrats—who accomplished nothing on the issue when they had the chance—are mostly comfortable spectating as the GOP follows through on its suicide pact on the issue.

As long as we're blaming Donald Trump for the rending of families at our Southern border, he's happy (he's a narcissist, after all). Democrats are happy (perhaps wrongly, they sense an advantage in the upcoming midterms) and Republicans are mostly happy too (members are pushing bills that would chop legal immigration by 40 percent or more). But as in so many other things, to focus on the president is to let the people most responsible for the current mess off the hook. And that would be Congress.

NEXT: Trump's Policy of Separating Immigrant Families Makes for a Contentious Father's Day: Reason Roundup

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  1. I appreciate that you have continued your vilification of this Obama era policy, if you don’t mind, could you collate some of the stories from Obama’s term so I can provide them to Trumpists. Thanks.

    1. Obama isn’t the president anymore. Get over it. It’s 2018. At the risk of being a little too black and white, either you think the current policy is acceptable or you don’t. If you do, then justify it. If you don’t, then blaming it on past administrations is silly.

      1. No I think I’m going to do it my way.

      2. “You gargle Obama’s balls”

        2018 ‘discourse’

        1. It’s gargled balls all the way down.

      3. The problem is it a long standing policy.

  2. My mother was born in Connecticut in 1927 to Nicola and Maria Guida, two Italians who originally came to America in the 1910s. They never spoke English….

    Shining examples of the immigrants loving America! “Mi rifiuto di parlare in inglese”

    Nick, you people don’t even realize that your arguments are shit, do you?

    1. My 1910s-era Norwegian immigrant grandparents learned to speak and read very good English while raising 9 kids on a North Dakota farm during the depression. That happens when immigrants choose to get out of their linguistic ghettos and live in the country they’ve moved to.

    2. Did you have a non-shit argument?

      1. Nick is that you?

        1. I guess that’s a no.

          1. Is that you Tony? It looks like you.

            1. Tony doesn’t sock. Though “you’re Tony” isn’t a refutation anyway.

              1. Does one have to reply to a shit argument reply at Reason now?

              2. Yes, Tony says he doesn’t sock (?_?). And it wasn’t a refutation because there was nothing to refute. What a strange, too strident, out-of-nowhere defense of Tony.

          2. You can read my other secure the border arguments running on Reason at the same time, if you wish.

            I prefer not to repeat myself with good Constitutional arguments on this article since it is premised on garbage that is so Anti-American its sickening.

    3. My mother’s family came to Canada in the 1890s from Molise. And while they faced some serious discrimination (that’s another story in the Quebec/Canada context), they still learned English and French. My mother is PERFECTLY trilingual. I’m trilingual but retarded about it.

      My father came from Calabria in the early 50s. He owned a small business and speaks three languages too.

      It’s true some immigrants didn’t learn the language but it had less to do with not wanting to integrate and everything to do with when they came. If they came later on it’s very hard to learn a language. But in my experience this doesn’t mean they were doing it to be disrespectful. On the contrary, they made sure to tell their siblings to learn the language, to work within the established norms and mores of the host nation and respect Canada or America. The ones who didn’t speak the language were the first to say, ‘to be an idiot like me.’ My father was like that. Master all the languages. Don’t be a fool and don’t let politics drive you.

      I’ve never heard of them saying ‘fuck you, I’m Italians that’s why’.

      1. Hey, I have an idea. The US should have language laws like Quebec. For liberty.

        1. Don’t get me going on that. Please don’t.

      2. My father came to Italy with his cousin. He came to Montreal, his cousin went to Connecticut. He insisted my father join him and my father was set to stay on the boat and go so to speak. Alas, his two older brothers were settled in Montreal having arrived in the 40s and told him he had to join them.

        His cousin used to visit us in the 80s and he was a die in the wool, hard core, pro-American. Greatest nation in history. That was his position at the table over wine.

    4. Prior to World War I, there were so many German immigrants in some areas of the country that schools, courts, etc. were all conducted in German. A “hate Germany” campaign was launched when the U.S. entered the war, and all that was scrubbed out of existence. When I lived in Chicago in the late sixties, there were plenty of “linguistic pockets” where everyone spoke Greek, Polish, etc. And then of course there were all the Mexicans in the Southwest who suddenly became “American” without choosing to do so. And, yeah, the Indians as well.

      1. There were approximately 12 people living in the southwest in the 1800s. That’s how one battle near Houston could impact such a large area.

      2. The town of Kitchener Ontario was changed from Berlin during WWII.

        Both Italians and Germans (and Ukrainians in Western Canada) were interned and/or put under strict curfew in North America. For some reason it gets very little mention (if at all) in the books.

        1. Same reason why FDR putting Japanese-Americans in concentration camps get so little mention.

          The Democrats running the show in the 1940’s were racist fucks and current Democrats don’t want to blast holes in their race-baiting nonsense today.

          1. Not sure about that.

            Japanese internment is very well documented, represented, and mentioned. It has been the subject of docs and movies in the mainstream.

            When I was studying history in university, that was in the books. I only found out about the Krauts, Wops and Ukes in periodicals.

            1. You’re right, Rufus. The Japanese-American internments were documented and mentioned in docs and movies. Spun to minimize the action would be more accurate.

              You would think that putting Japanese into camps for having committed zero crimes would get more mention though. More mention than illegals trying to enter the USA and then having to wait in facilities to be deported while their immigration hearings are heard, anyway.

              Germans and Italians tended to be interned after acting in a manner that was borderline treason. Most Italians and Germans in the USA were never interned. All Japanese-Americans and their American kids were interned from the West Coast of the USA.

              Most Americans learned a lesson from slavery. Some Americans never learned a lesson from unconstitutionally interning Japanese-Americans during WWII.

              1. This is true there was some concern about ‘enemy alien’ activities but recent scholarship brings into question if it was even a threat.

                It was too small in numbers it’s been asserted.

                Here in Montreal, Mussolini funded Casa d’Italia and Italians rallied around that but did it transfer to supporting the Axis cause? Maybe there was a spike but people who did quickly changed their minds. The vast majority did not.

                According to my grandparents anyway.

                I *guess* one could argue not enough attention was brought to it from a civil liberties perspective. But there’s something to be said of letting it go. That’s what happened in the Italian community. Those who were interned just put it behind them and didn’t make an issue of it; which is why we know so little of what happened.

                The Canadian government under Mulroney apologized for it. Nor sure if that was necessary but I guess it’s nice for some.

      3. there were plenty of “linguistic pockets” where everyone spoke Greek, Polish, etc

        There is still plenty of that in NYC. And the reason isn’t because they don’t learn English, it’s because newcomers keep arriving every year.

        1. “I’m here to get my free shit” in hundreds of dialects.

      4. WWI caused the German Spitz to be renamed the American Eskimo Dog.

    5. Nick speaks English quite well, and I expect that his mother did too. So “not speaking English” is not an attribute that is passed down from generation to generation. I am a bit surprised that his grandparents didn’t learn English, but it doesn’t make them bad people.

  3. This is a good example of how politicians don’t solve problems. Immigration law is a mess that will never be fixed because nobody in power wants it fixed. That includes all those who are weeping for the children; their tears will miraculously dry when a Democrat is elected President.

    1. Agreed, it will never get “fixed” for whatever value of “fixed” anyone has in mind. Too many people benefit from the current situation.

      1. It’s essentially modern day slavery. Off the books labor that can’t use the legal system against business owners and the tax burden is thrown off onto the middle class.

    2. The DEMs are only after VOTES……It is citizenship they want for the illegals, not laws that allow them to work here!

  4. Good piece. One observation re:

    “…which, amazingly to my mind, is not negatively affecting the president’s approval ratings…”

    The media can only call Trump a crazy person and basically Hitler so many times before people stop listening. They cried wolf too many times and now they cannot actually hold Trump accountable in any meaningful way.

    1. In order to fit Mitt Romney into the idea of Literally Hitler in 2012, Literally Hitler had to be stretched so far as to become basically meaningless.

      1. This was the turning point. When the media went after Mitt Romney, as milquetoast and unobjectionable candidate as any we’ve seen post WW2, and successfully vilified him, they laid the groundwork for Trump.

        I didn’t vote for Trump. He was a horrible candidate and in many areas he’s a poor President. But I think the current situation is a from of karma. A balancing of the scales.

    2. TBH, I’m a little disappointed that they’re keeping them in tent cities when you could be propping up the American steel industry by housing them in cattle cars or something. /sarc

      1. Many of the cited ‘parents’ put their kids into the hands of coyotes who rape whomever they want to, leave stragglers behind to die, and leave groups of people locked in railcars or semi trailers to roast alive when the heat is on. But no one really cares about the kids, they just care about making Trump look bad.

  5. ” the casual brutality of taking kids away from parents while legal niceties are being sorted out”

    US citizens accused of crimes are often separated from their kids while the ‘legal niceties’ are sorted out.

    Are you arguing that would-be immigrants be treated more leniently than citizens?

    Or would you prefer that having a kid is a ‘stay out of jail and stay with the kids’ pass that all should have?

    1. I’d argue that both are fucked-up situations all around, but that illegal immigration is a fundamentally different charge from, say, assault.

      Of course, I also think drug laws are a load of bullshit, so I’m probably way too lenient.

      1. They are both f’d up and you don’t have to commit assault to get thrown in jail and separated from your children. Inhaling/Ingesting a plant substance or not paying a trafic ticket because you don’t have the money will also do it. No one really cares about that because that’s not what the current outrage is even about.

        1. I didn’t want to wade into this, but in my role at our facility I was privy to the reasons for placement, and less than one in ten was because of violence in the home. Most were neglect, followed by drug charges.

          1. Just curious, what kind of facility are you talking about?

            (You don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to or if you’re looking to preserve your privacy.)

            1. It was a locked facility for children who had been removed from their families for cause. I don’t mind answering questions, just tell me whatyou’d like to know and I’ll do my best.

              1. Aren’t many of these kids put in the custody of extended family members, so they are with family but away from the problem relatives?

                1. My kids? Or the kids at the border?

                  No, my kids were not placed with relatives nor was it an option,, that is how they ended up with me.

                  Very frequently, the grandparents are not suitable for placement ( according to the agencies) or not available, or unwilling. It was always a priority to place the kids with relatives, but that process is not instantaneous, so even if suitable relatives existed, emergency placement in my facility was necessary for the short term.

                  I don’t know about the process used at the border.

                  1. Thanks. I meant kid placement inside the USA and I appreciate the info.

                    I know a friend who adopted a family child and I was shocked at how complicated and lengthy the process was even when the family member was willing and the perfect solution to an unsafe household for the child. I am curious how many good guardians refuse to go through the government nonsense.

                    1. That I can answer, a depressingly high number, for many reasons, one of which is the red tape and constant monitoring.

                2. Part of my job takes me to a level four youth facility. I do not directly interact with the clientele, but I do read their histories.

                  Sometimes they get placed with extended family, but due to the nature of apples and trees often the extended family is also problematic. Sometime they can’t be trusted with the kids, sometimes they flat our don’t want them.

                  (IMO, the constant rejection is often more damaging than the direct abuse.)

        2. But that’s a separate argument. Like I said, I think drug laws are a load of bullshit, so I chose assault as an example because you can legitimately argue “well, maybe the kids are off being separated from this guy” or “this guy is violent enough to deserve jail time.” I’d similarly argue that in terms of harm, illegal immigration is closer to smoking crack than it is to assault, even though I think it’s a crime and that illegal immigrants should be deported. A lot of this is arguably the devil in the details, but I’d argue that we shouldn’t have drug laws on the books, that there should be a clear reason to separate kids from parents if you’re gonna do that, and that the justice system is fucked up.

          1. Agreed

    2. I once worked in a facility which catered to a population of… children that had been taken from their parents while the “legal niceties” were sorted out.

      Such facilities are legion, and everyone knows it, as far as my conversations on the subject have shown me. The current outrage is … curious.

    3. How many misdemeanors do you think people should be jailed for?

      1. What kind of stupid fucking question is that? God damn why can’t you people have a straightforward conversation without all the bullshit?

        1. The poster is being passive aggressive instead of making an argument. But, to be fair, this is the comment board on Reason.

          1. I was also responding to a passive-aggressive non-argument.

            1. You mean Nick’s article?

              Yea, that was passive-aggressive.

              1. It really wasn’t.

                1. We’re used to immigration articles being passive aggressive and full of bullshit.

            2. Can we please dispense with psychobabble terminology like “passive aggressive”? Aside from being an oxymoron, the fact that adults are arguing about who is and who is not displaying that trait, like kids saying “I know you are but what am I?”, should show the vacuousness of the concept.

  6. Finally. The media won’t go after Congress because it’s easier to pretend that we have a king and blame him.

    1. Yeah well our Founders laid the blame at the feet of George III for things that were largely the doings of Parliament. I’m sure someone is thinking, hey it worked before.

      1. To be fair to King George “the tyrant”, Parliament was legally justifying much of what the King demanded.

  7. Dago panini. Guinea minestrone. Wop risotto. Greaseball polenta. I-talian pizza. Mama’s boy pasta.

    Hoagies and Philly cheese my foot! I think I have a whole new menu here!

  8. Blaming congress for what the American people want may be a cop out, and if the American people want the immigration policy we have, that’s probably our fault. I think it was Doherty who once wrote that the true purpose of libertarianism was always to create new libertarians–changing people’s minds is our job.

    And libertarians have been instrumental in changing people’s minds about gay marriage, the drug war, etc.–why is immigration so different?

    I think part of the blame belongs to an elitist approach, that, subconsciously or otherwise, sees a liberal immigration policy as something to be inflicted on the American people from above–either by the president or the courts–which flies in the face of everything else libertarianism stands for. Libertarianism is not about seizing the reigns of power and inflicting our policies on the American people over their objections.

  9. If the American people are willing to watch families broken up and Dreamers deported, it’s mostly a function of their decades long frustration with presidents, courts, states, and cities that refuse to enforce immigration law at all. In other words, telling people that gun violence can’t be prevented doesn’t make them want to keep AR-15s legal–it makes them want to ban all guns. Likewise, telling people that the border can’t be secured doesn’t make them want to open the border and let people come across at will. It makes them want to persecute any illegal aliens who fall into our clutches.

    Because of this, any open borders treaty with Mexico will necessarily be contingent on first securing the border. The American people will not let congress open the border so long as our so much of our government refuses to enforce the law. To be in harmony with that, we libertarians should be supporting an open legal immigration policy–not pretending that ignoring congress’ enumerated powers and telling the American people to go fuck themselves is somehow the libertarian solution to anything.

    1. To be in harmony with that, we libertarians should be supporting an open legal immigration policy

      You misspelled ‘welfare reform’, but I agree that it can be two things.

    2. Because of this, any open borders treaty with Mexico will necessarily be contingent on first securing the border.

      You’re just a talking-points ticker tape machine, aren’t you?

      Do you even care that you’re not saying anything?

      1. Well, Past Me, you never care that you’re not saying anything.

      2. Talking points?

        Who out there is saying that in order to have an open border, we need to secure it?


        You’re a buffoon, Tony.

        1. How secure do you want it? Let me guess, the day it stops being a politically tenable wedge issue for Republicans, that’s when it’s secure enough.

          The current issue is refugees coming to checkpoints and turning themselves in. Pretty secure! So are their children in those concentration camps we set up for them.

          1. refugees? If they are refugees, what’s wrong with Mexico’s policies?

          2. You do realize that ABC was going to do a story in 2014 under Obama about this very same thing. A reporter from ABC took photos of kids behind cages. The media went silent on it. Why is that??? I know you all are not that stupid, the answer is obvious. The media wants you to believe that Trump started this mess, the globalist owned media hates Trump, and the media also knows there is a huge segment of the population that believes every thing they see and read from the fake news media. This lie is proof that the media has complete control over that segment of the population. They will not do any research about this. Very sad. Almost every one has an I-Phone and it takes 2 seconds of your time to look this stuff up. Look for ABC pictures of kids in cages.

    3. I’m in agreement with this. I’m also torn, while I have sympathy for the children being separated from their parents their parents are responsible for putting them in this position. Part of me says that if this policy has any deterrent effect maybe it’s worth considering.

      1. It sucks that kids have to be separated from their parents. The parents can solve this by agreeing to deportation immediately.

        Furthermore, America is not mistreating these kids. Just like America is not mistreating illegals pending deportation.

        Being housed in a giant facility while immigrants go through the massive government bureaucracy they requested while getting 3 meals a day is far from mistreatment.

      2. It’s called dumping the poor population on Americans. It is a La Rosa plan, and Mexico’s complicity is clear.

        Drive the herds to the border, then call the press and complain about procedures. This creates political pressure for open borders. So, Reason is all in.

        It doesn’t matter that TB, measles, whooping cough, even polio are on the rise.

        Trump should sue Mexico for not accepting refugees from counties south of their southern border. And assisting the migration to the U.S. border. Or put them on buses and send them to Canada! See how that works? It won’t. And Reason will flip out about that. One thing Reason has in common with Putin and Xi is the destruction of the United States.

        But, lets fuck over everybody else so the peoples south of the border can take over the political landscape and secede (think California).

  10. several commenters have written that this policy of separation was started due to a law suit, before Trump. could someone provide a link. also i guarantee you that as soon as the kids are with their families again someone will get raped or hurt in some way and the suits and media will fly about how terrible Trump is.

    1. I see it in another article on Reason. and its typical of all laws and suits there is often more than one interpretations.

  11. It’s easy to gloss over the fact that everyone is racist and no one opposes racism. The only complaints are about the pecking order.

  12. Elian Gonzalez

  13. I like how this headline conflates “immigration” with processing illegal immigrants.

    Perhaps the correct answer is a more rapid, family friendly, deportation to Panama.

  14. I thought this was some policy that has been ongoing for awhile? I saw Obama mentioned in early articles about this. Now it is just a Trump policy? Why did this media narrative morph?

    Can we jail the families together and then deport them? Is that an amenable compromise? Or is this equally inhumane?

    1. One can hardly imagine the level of outrage if Trump/Sessions had started locking vulnerable children in adult jails with dangerous people, often under the supervision of no one but a stranger who had been travelling with them who claimed to be a parent or relative. Why don’t we lock up the preschoolers found in the back of the ‘free candy’ van with the driver, who claims to be their guardian? Some one is doing the raping, Don

  15. Wait, I’m confused…those pictures of kids in cages weren’t from 2014?

    1. Trump’s malign intentions clearly transcend the boundaries of space and time.

  16. (which, amazingly to my mind, is not negatively affecting the president’s approval ratings)

    (The consequence of going apeshit over every thing, real or not.)

  17. Save it for someone who doesn’t care

    OK… I don’t care. You know what? There are a million travesties going on around the world at any moment and unless they directly impact me or my loved ones, I don’t care. How could I possibly?

    I get it. Bad optics and yada yada. But I’m not going to pretend I “care” about something in order to score political points. We get enough of that from TEAM players.

    1. You’re reading my mind.

    2. Congratulations, you’re part of the problem. Do you feel cool now?

      1. Fuck off Tony.

      2. People minding their own business is the least of our problems.

        Conversely, some of the world’s worst problems are the result of people who think it’s appropriate to draft everyone else in society to solve some problem against their will.

        The drug war, ObamaCare, the invasion of Iraq–why can’t you just leave me out of it?

        You work on the problems you care about. I’ll work on mine.

    3. Big picture, immigration policy is going to impact you or your loved ones.

      I don’t know what “directly” means. For instance, if someone is Hispanic, immigration policy very likely will “directly impact” them or their family at some point, perhaps when they are stopped on the street. Will the policy “directly impact” a person if a loved one (unloved family members don’t count) is somehow involved in a business impacted by immigration policy? Or maybe when they need something and others say “well, you didn’t care about us, why should we care about you?” OTOH, living in a society generally doesn’t mean we only care about our immediate family.

      I doubt you don’t care either writ large either. On some issue, you care, even if it doesn’t really “directly impact” you. People don’t tend to think like that across the board.

  18. Question: Why do people think our outrage is disingenuous?


    But, that’s different

    1. error.

  19. These children should be reunited with their families immediately. In Mexico, where they entered the US illegally.

    This is relatively simple but…

    The left does not want that, nor does the right. The left wants the dilution of American values to install their socialist vision of your future. The right wants cheap labor. The invasion of America is a bilateral political assault.

  20. What if “families” are not being torn apart?

    “They’re ‘posing as families’! Homeland security chief says ‘well coached’ asylum fraudsters are abusing federal laws and putting children in danger”

    Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen opened a new defense for the Trump administration following attacks over separating illegal immigrants from children

    She said many people who appear to be family units when they arrive aren’t actually related ? which is one reason for the ‘family separations’

    Between October and February HHS saw a 315 per cent increase in ‘illegal aliens fraudulently using children to pose as family units to gain entry into the country

  21. Immigration policy is a big big issue and like any number of them, the legislature is unable to settle on a complete solution, leaving a lot of details to be settled by whomever is executing the law. This was so on some level since the Founding. The buck still stops with those carrying out policy.

  22. Well, let me tell you something, my kraut-mick friend…

    1. Careful. Your pony could be in trouble.

  23. And your grandparents placed an unfair burden on society, expecting them to cater to their inability to speak English rather than bother to learn it.

    I presume if the government did not force kids to taxpayer funded schools, your parents and even yourself would not speak English. Which is hardly a “libertarian” argument,

  24. Just have the congress open the borders so everyone is welcome and can vote and collect all kinds of welfares.

  25. Excuse me, Nick. You need correction. Separating kids and adults who sometimes may be parents has been the policy of the U.S. government since Bill Clinton was President. Tha’s one fact. Another, many of the so-called parents are really coyotes who brought the kids across so that later the U.S. will bring the parents to reunite them.

    An inarguable fact is, regardless of who is President, even the most corrupt, Obama, or the most naive, Ford, the underlying deep state is so corrupt it very likely can never be cleansed.

  26. So I guess the compromise position is, if you’re just adults you’re not allowed in, but if you have kids you’re welcome. Hmmm.

  27. This is not affecting his “popularity” because a large number of people don’t give a shit about immigrants, and don’t want them in the county.

    Seriously; there’s enough people in the USA already. We don’t need more. Especially dirt poor, uneducated ones.

  28. So many great points. Both sides are guilty.

    Maybe not this one particular time.

    The media is circling the wagons around the meme/narrative/spin that Trump is on the wrong side of this issue. He’s not.

    My leanings are libertarian, but as long as their old place and the new place they want to settle in are different in terms of social safety nets, it is an extension of Gresham’s law. Bad policies will drive out good.

    Socialist leanings proliferate among the inserted masses. Combine that with loosy goosy voter registration and ID regulations, and the temptation and opportunity for fraud turns in an immense payout if it can be pulled off. I’d prefer that my federal government inoculate itself from such extreme risk of private gain and public pain.

    My maternal grandparents never ever voted Republican. My paternal grandmother ended up, to the best of my understanding, died a Reagan Republican.

    Assimilation is not a four.. five … six … whatever letter word. It is the desire of a massive majority of the American people.

    It’s not about the photo opps over the fate of the children this week. In terms of relative performance at international borders, the USA’s treatment of children is world class humane. In a chaotic world of rank exploitation of children in so many places, the separation of children from alleged parents at the border is sane policy,

    1. The Democrats cannot come to the table to alleviate the suffering of the innocent and yes, even the guilty, because to do so would force them to be on the side of, for all intents and purposes, suicidal open borders.

      Libertarians like open borders, but they also respect real limits on Utopian fantasies.

  29. Both Thomas Jefferson and James Madison held the opinion that the power over immigration was NOT delegated to the Federal Government.
    Here is Jefferson on the matter:

    [A]lien friends are under the jurisdiction and protection of the laws of the state wherein they are; that no power over them has been delegated to the United States, nor prohibited to the individual states, distinct from their power over citizens; and it being true, as a general principle, and one of the amendments to the Constitution having also declared, that “the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited to the states, are reserved, to the states, respectively, or to the people,” the act of the Congress of the United States, passed the 22d day of June, 1798, entitled “An Act concerning Aliens,” which assumes power over alien friends not delegated by the Constitution, is not law, but is altogether void and of no force.

    This comes from the Kentucky Resolutions (resolution #4).

  30. This is Madison with his concurrence with Jefferson in the Virginia Resolutions

    That the General Assembly doth particularly protest against the palpable and alarming infractions of the Constitution, in the two late cases of the “Alien and Sedition Acts” passed at the last session of Congress; the first of which exercises a power no where delegated to the federal government, and which by uniting legislative and judicial powers to those of executive, subverts the general principles of free government; as well as the particular organization, and positive provisions of the federal constitution; and the other of which acts, exercises in like manner, a power not delegated by the constitution, but on the contrary, expressly and positively forbidden by one of the amendments thereto; a power, which more than any other, ought to produce universal alarm, because it is levelled against that right of freely examining public characters and measures, and of free communication among the people thereon, which has ever been justly deemed, the only effectual guardian of every other right.

    Here is the “An Act Concerning Aliens” Bill that was signed into law (Unconstitutional law) by John Adams.

  31. So why the H E L L did the Hitler media wait until now to report this? Their are pictures from 2014 when Obama was in charge showing kids behind cages. Those pictures were taken by an ABC reporter. The Hitler media is messing with every ones heads. Why did the media not report on it when Obama was POTUS???

  32. When the States were aligned by the Articles of Confederation the States had power over Aliens, Asylum and Naturalization. (Immigration, Refugee, and Citizenship). Only power over Naturalization (Citizenship) was delegated to the new General Government by the Constitution. (Article 1 section 8 clause 4). Therefore Immigration, (Aliens) and refugees (asylum) were powers reserved to the States respectively, or to the People. (10th Amendment).

  33. Imma leave this right here: Mom Brings Coughing 10-Month-Old to the Hospital. Days Later, Cops Take the Baby.
    ‘They already had a foster parent in the room, to remove my son… before they ever proved there was an emergency situation.’ via Reason

  34. Well Nick, I’m a dago, guinea, wop, greaseball just like you. All of my grandparents came over from Venizia, Lombardy and Tuscany between 1899 and 1910.

    You’re spot on!

    Great article.

  35. “The president’s policy of separating families at the border is wrong, but he’s enabled by a lack of legislative action dating back decades.”


    It’s existing policy predating Trump.

    The difference is that Trump will actually enforce a tiny bit of immigration law.

  36. “which, amazingly to my mind, is not negatively affecting the president’s approval ratings”

    Yup. That’s because most Americans aren’t open borders idiots. If we’d been taking care of business and not letting this problem get out of control we wouldn’t have to resort to harsh measures. At this point we need to make an example out of current illegal immigrants to deter future illegal immigration. Sometimes you gotta be mean to achieve goals that must be met. It’s not like we’re gassing anybody, or starving these people or anything. They’re probably eating better than they would have in their home countries. They’ll survive.

    Now quit being such a bleeding heart pussy Nick. You’re supposed to be a man, use your thinkz not your feelz!

  37. Here’s a thought experiment:

    Imagine that the Mexican people grow some balls and try to overthrow their corrupt ass government, a civil war ensues. What if 40 million Mexicans say “Fuck this, I’m going to the USA, my cousin Jose already lives there anyway!”

    Is this something we should allow? 40 million people in a few years would DRASTICALLY change the country, and surely NOT for the positive in the short to mid term time frame since the average education/skill level in Mexico is very low.

    What about if a crop disease spread throughout the rice crop in Asia, creating a massive famine. Maybe 300 million Chinese, Indians, etc want to come here overnight. Should we let them in? It would double the population almost overnight! That’s crazy town. Again it would create massive changes, not for the positive. We’d be 3rd world overnight.

    I would say FUCK NO on both counts. Maybe as a humanitarian thing we should try to ensure the civil war in Mexico is being fought decently, no mass atrocities and whatnot. Maybe we should send food to Asia so people don’t starve. But we don’t have an obligation to let in an obscene number of foreigners simply because they imagine it suits them. When it would fuck up our country, why should we do it??? I’m not into compelled altruism.

    1. Fact is that California and many other areas now are crappier places because of a ton of low education immigrants. Maybe it’ll all sort itself out in another 50 years if we cut off the influx, but in the short term it has made things worse for native born people. If anything that means a slow and steady approach is the way to go as it rocks the boat a lot less. I don’t think we native born folks have an obligation to make our lives worse for the benefit of foreigners.

      So if you will concede that it’s reasonable to not allow in 40 million fleeing Mexicans, or 300 million Asians in then you have already conceded that it’s a matter of scale/degree.

      Being 100% principle driven is usually just a load of bullshit. The fact is that having a single vicodin pill might make your back ache go away or whatever, which is good… Whereas 10 of them will kill you. Lots of stuff is like that in the real world, not in la la land theory. Immigration is one of those things.

      If we had zero standards and allowed in anybody and everybody FOR REALZ like Reason wants, our country would turn into a 3rd world shithole in short order. If we had zero immigrants that would have downsides too.

      Hence, IN THE REAL WORLD, there is some spot in between that is optimal. I don’t kid myself into thinking the government will actually pick the perfect number or type of immigrant. Merely that SOME set of standards is preferable to none.

      1. Those who are such doctrinaire Libertarians that they’ll follow their principles over a cliff would say, “let the Market (PBUH) work it out. If those 340 million refugees come here and find we have no need for their services, then we’ll just let them die of starvation and exposure in the streets and send them to the landfill.” Those of us in the reality-based community realize that would not happen, and instead there would be a massive effort to feed and house all those people which would be ruinous for our country.

        1. Those who are such doctrinaire Libertarians that they’ll follow their principles over a cliff would say, “let the Market (PBUH) work it out.

          They’re not ‘doctrinaire Libertarians ‘. They’re leftists. They don’t want to let the market work it out no matter how much they claim to–because they want the rights of those who DON’T want open borders to be ignored. Freedom to associate, sure, as long as we associate with the people we’re told to associate with.

        2. That’s pretty much it. A lot of people claim they will walk off a cliff for “principles.”

          1. Only an idiot would walk off a cliff for principles. I’m libertarian on 99% of issues because libertarianism produces the best results IMO. In instances where it is clearly a dumb shit idea, why be in favor? The world isn’t black and white, and accepting grey exists is simply accepting reality for what it is. Suicide for principles is still just killing yourself out of stupidity.

          2. These types fully ignore that it WON’T happen the way their nonsense scenarios work out in their head, because almost nobody is a 100% pure libertarian. This applies to stuff like the welfare state, voting, birth right citizenship, and a million other issues. IF we had a strict libertarian society we COULD allow something close to open borders, but since we don’t it’s suicide.

          3. As you mention any real world scenario will simply result in the USA turning into a 2nd or 3rd world shit hole. 300 million overnight is obviously a stretch… But 40 million over a decade or two could well happen if something massive happened globally. The fact is that 40 million low education people getting dumped into the USA WOULD have massive negative quality of life repercussions for most citizens. Why should anybody already here be in favor of this? Principles? Who cares. Results are better.

    2. IMO our country can more easily deal with accidentally having too few versus too many. I think a lot of it is common sense stuff as far as requirements. If we let in only high skill people, they won’t be a drain on natives, because they’ll pay their way. In terms of numbers, perhaps letting in as many as can land jobs takes care of that. Seems a pretty simple way to let the market optimize to me… But even if it’s a little off it beats open borders.

      It is no coincidence that our country was the most prosperous, stable, and cohesive during the time that we had the lowest percentage of foreign born people in our history. AKA the 50s/60s.

      Everybody had moved here, learned English, assimilated, been taught the righteousness of American ways. Everybody FELT like Americans, and FELT like they were the same people. When you have people burning American flags and waving Mexican ones, it’s pretty clear those people don’t REALLY think of themselves as Americans first. Yet their kids or grand kids probably will… But only if we stop the mass influx and give them time to melt into the pot. I’m quite sure if Italian immigration rates had remained as high as they were back in the day Italians would have had a harder time integrating too.

      So maybe a little slowdown to give the country time to meld back into a cohesive nation again isn’t such a bad idea…

  38. Constitution Framers:
    Legislative Branch – Make the laws
    Executive Branch – Implement the laws
    Judicial Branch – Interpret the laws

    Current status:
    Judicial Branch – Make the laws
    Legislative Branch – Imp^H^H^HWhine about how the laws are being implemented
    Executive Branch – Interpret the laws

  39. It absolutely falls on congress going back decades. They didn’t want to deal with it so it was dealt with by selective enforcement. A precedent that makes a laughing stock of our constitution, our laws and our legal system. If you are likely to vote for the current administration the laws don’t apply to you, otherwise they do? Banana republic is US.

  40. Nothing says “this policy is bad”quite like “my family was OK and we did this”.

    Really, it’s quite a useful thing to do in an argument.

    And does Ilya have any thoughts about some of the glaring issue with that bill he is pimping? Seems awful protective of parents who commit any crimes so long as they have a child in the house.

  41. It falls on Congress to fix this. Until, that is, Chuck Schumer rejects a Senate proposal because he says:

    “There are so many obstacles to legislation and when the president can do it with his own pen, it makes no sense,” Schumer told reporters. “Legislation is not the way to go here when it’s so easy for the president to sign it.”

  42. Do the morons at not get the fact that their Open Borders nuttiness is not shared by the majority of the American People. This is why we elected the man! IDIOTS

    1. The majority of the American people regard the entirety of libertarianism as nuttiness. They want to be cared for and protected. Liberty is scary.

      1. I agree. Liberty is not skittles and unicorns. I could care less about the majority.

        I am a libertarian. That is not what the majority is by far.

  43. Illegal immigration and over immigration are tough issues and we finally have a President who is willing to take some of the heat that comes with getting some meaningful action done on the issue. Many people are fed up with the years of wordy, dance around legislation that throws money at nothing but buying our votes with borrowed money! As he has said many times, he is a deal maker and he is unlikely to just give in on something just because it “feels good” but does not accomplish anything real. More power to him!

  44. For 8 long years 0bama was allowed to whine he inherited this, that or the other from George Bush and no one of note called him out on it. In spite of 0bama putting firmly his imprimatur on the culture and government, each effort a failure, he still complained this is what he inherited. Never was he assigned responsibility for his failures and bad decisions.
    Now, we cannot look back and assign responsibility to 0bama for his actions as the cause of the situation we are in now and rather the problem seems now to be President Trump’s pursuit of enforcing the laws which congress passed. Laughable.
    Please, let’s be honest in use of the language.
    The problem is illegal immigration, not, legal immigration.

    Whoever runs this site, please, remember, you are called reason. The content on this web site seems to more progressive pandering rather than reasoned and honest examination of the issues of the day.

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