ICE

Immigration Nation Brilliantly Captures the Brutal Logic Behind America's Immigration Enforcement Regime

The new Netflix docuseries is a damning indictment of ICE.

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Netflix's Immigration Nation is a damning portrayal of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). And yet it is not damning enough! The directors of the six-part series, Christina Clusiau and Shaul Schwarz, got unprecedented access to the inner workings of the agency tasked with enforcing America's Kafkaesque immigration system, but the most oppressive side of the agency—where sexual and other abuse occurs on a regular basis—remains hidden from the camera.

Still, the glimpse we get reveals an agency that thinks nothing of inflicting the cruelest punishment for the smallest offense, and sometimes for no offense at all—all because the people concerned were born on the other side of the border.

Given just how secretive ICE is, Clusiau and Schwarz pulled off a small miracle by using their pre-existing relationship with an ICE spokesperson to embed themselves in the agency just when President Donald Trump assumed office. For the next three years, they followed ICE around the country, from New York to Texas to Arizona, watching agents conduct raids, debate enforcement tactics, and plot media strategy while blithely upending—and ending—lives.

The documentary, whose more incriminatory parts the Trump administration tried to suppress, opens with a pre-dawn ICE raid on undocumented immigrants in New York. The raid marks the first day of the weeklong Operation Keep Safe—whose actual purpose, contrary to its name, was to instill fear. One ICE agent gushes as he gets ready for action: "I love my job." A Hispanic agent, on the first day of his job, is giddy: "It's Christmas for us." Another exults that the change of administration means "it's a different world now" where the "floodgates have opened."

But who exactly is getting sucked in? Not folks with serious criminal histories. ICE's own records show that only 13 of the 225 people arrested during that operation had serious crimes on their record. The vast majority of those arrested either had committed minor misdemeanors, such as DUIs, or were that unfortunate breed called "collaterals."

Collaterals are undocumented people who have committed only visa violations—akin to speeding in a rational world—but happened to be in the vicinity when ICE came looking for someone else. If any agent has qualms about going after them, those reservations dissolve as the pressure of filling arrest quotas kicks in. ICE agent Brian's experience makes this abundantly clear. Just when he was expressing his distaste for the practice, he got a call from his supervisor, who tells him "I don't care what you do" just "get me two" arrests.

None of this is news to anyone who follows the issue. But what's jaw-dropping is to watch ICE agents openly bend and break the rule of law in the name of…enforcing the rule of law.

A typical Operation Keep Safe raid involved scores of agents surrounding an apartment building, stealthily climbing the stairwell, and banging on doors. By law, ICE agents can't enter and arrest until they are asked in. So how did they obtain an invitation? By lying and identifying themselves as police. If someone protested on seeing who they really were, the reaction essentially was "Tricked ya!". The agents then calmly go about the grim business of handcuffing dazed fathers (and sometimes moms) while ignoring the pleas of their shell-shocked spouses and wailing children.

Or that's what the relatively well-behaved agents did. The really out-of-control ones went further. The documentary shows one attempting to break in by picking an apartment building's lock, apparently unperturbed that he was being filmed.

Nor is that the worst of it.

In Charlotte, North Carolina, local immigration activists turned Sheriff Irwin Carmichael's cooperation with ICE via the 287(g) program into a huge issue in his 2018 reelection bid. This program is essentially an ICE "force multiplier," as one official puts it: It allows ICE to deputize local officers for enforcement purposes and use local jails to park unauthorized immigrants much longer than their original offense merits, until ICE whisks them away for deportation. (When some activists got into a heated exchange about this with an official at a press conference, he responded: "One more profanity and I'll pick you up myself.") The activists won, and Carmichael's replacement scrapped the program on his first day.

ICE instantly started plotting reprisals. Over the ensuing weeks, it assembled 50 agents and created six transport teams to patrol Latino neighborhoods, often in unmarked cars, looking for anyone who looked unauthorized. Racial profiling was of course rampant. They stopped Latino work crews at traffic lights, intersections, and gas stations on the smallest of pretexts, such as a broken tail-light. Unless they claimed to be U.S. citizens, the agents would intimidate them into being fingerprinted on a mobile machine, arresting them on the spot if no match was found.

The upshot was even more terror. And that was exactly the point, as Bryan Cox, ICE's public affairs spokesperson openly admitted. Anti-287(g) activists, he explained, have to be taught that scrapping cooperation with ICE will result in more—not fewer—deportations. "You thought we were bluffing and whatnot?" he smirked. "The whole goal here is to get them to change their policy." Plainclothes off-duty ICE agents started attending activist meetings. ICE's answer to Americans protesting its reign of terror against immigrants was a reign of intimidation against the protesters.

ICE and its sister agencies terrorize immigrants not just through its enforcement squads and detention camps, but by weaponizing its bureaucracy.

In recent days, reports have surfaced that immigration authorities—in an administration allegedly dedicated to slashing red tape—have quietly adopted a no-blanks policy that rejects visa applications if any part of a form is left unfilled. If someone does not have a middle name and skips that line, their petition gets thrown out. Ditto if they leave out the apartment number because they live in a house. The strategy is to make the process so hard for people who are trying to do it by the book that they abandon their quest to live in the United States.

One of the most heart-wrenching stories in Immigration Nation shows how the immigration bureaucracy chews up and spits out Carlos Perez. As a police officer in El Salvador, he offered intel on Salvadoran gangs to the New York Police Department. When the gangs found out, he and his wife fled, at one point swimming across a river with their two toddlers strapped to their backs. The precise details are a bit fuzzy, but it seems Perez sought asylum and was released into the country with work authorization, which he dutifully renewed on a regular basis. But his lawyer forgot to file a formal petition—something that occasionally happens because these migrants are too poor to buy quality representation and don't have the language skills to navigate the byzantine system themselves. Many years later, when ICE realized this, it took Perez into custody. And after some months, ignoring his pleas that he'll be killed if he returns home, sends him packing back. The fact that he had risked his life to help American law enforcement counted for nothing against his trivial lapse in paperwork.

At one point, we see him calling his family from a detention camp prior to deportation. He poignantly gives his son, a teenager who has to prematurely step into his dad's shoes, instructions on making car payments and other such business. The ICE supervisor, who had total discretion over Perez's fate, admits that Perez was trying to play by the rules. But in the end, he says, he gets "an inherent kind of satisfaction—I won't say 'joy'—in removing people who don't belong in the country regardless of public sentiment."

After Perez's deportation, his son drops out of school, cashes in his meager savings, and tries to support the family. "I've lost all faith in the U.S. government," he mourns.

The documentary also introduces us to Cesar Lopez, a U.S. marine veteran turned translator, who was refused entry when he tried to return from an assignment in Central America because he had a 12-year-old marijuana conviction on his record. He had to sneak back via Mexico to rejoin his wife. The only legal way for him to return would have been to die, because then his remains would be brought back for a military funeral.

Cesar's story, unlike Perez's, has a happy ending—one of very few in the series. After a herculean effort, he eventually gets a pardon from the governor of New Mexico.

When the administration adopted its zero tolerance policy, the filmmakers captured the horror show in real time because their crew happened to be at the El Paso detention center when it began. They capture scenes of grown men weeping uncontrollably because their kids had just been snatched from them. The story that will break every parent's heart comes when a Honduran mother describes how her toddler behaved when he was reunited with her after months of separation. He would timidly raise his hand before asking her questions. Using the bathroom was stressful for him because he wasn't toilet trained when he was ripped away, and whoever trained him used force.

And then there is the 63-year-old Guatemalan woman—petite, frail, terrified, and the furthest thing from a threat to the United States—who fled her country with her 12-year-old granddaughter. According the grandmother, an MS-13 gang member took a fancy to the preteen and demanded that grandma let him marry her or he'd kill them both. The two traveled for 10 days by land to reach the U.S. border and immediately turned themselves in at a port of entry, exactly as legally required. The granddaughter was released from detention after two months to join her mom, who lives in the U.S. The grandmother, however, was held in detention for 17 months—illegally, her lawyer claims, since she met the test for being released into the country while her asylum petition was considered. But she was a pawn in the Trump administration's deterrence game, so the rules didn't matter.

Her petition was eventually rejected. Before her lawyer could file an emergency appeal—as is perfectly in keeping with the rules—she was deported in the dead of the night. She wasn't even allowed a phone call to bid her granddaughter good-bye.

Story after story in Immigration Nation shows how the government systematically games and breaks the rules to keep immigrants out. Yet one ICE agent smugly tells unauthorized immigrants, as he leads them to the bridge back to Mexico, to "try to do it the right way" next time, because, the right way is "always the best way." He seems oblivious to the fact that even before Trump arrived on the scene and gutted legal immigration, few options to come in the "right way" existed for low-skilled migrants: Every administration since President Lyndon Johnson has been slamming doors in their faces.

Johnson scrapped the Bracero program that had allowed Mexican guest workers to come and go relatively easily, following the demand for their labor in this country. That program was never replaced with anything remotely analogous. (Currently, there is no queue where low-skilled migrants can wait to obtain a full-year legal work visa.) After President Ronald Reagan offered amnesty to the undocumented immigrants who had gathered in the shadows since the Bracero program ended, the incensed nativist right (along with leftist labor unions) browbeat President Bill Clinton into putting border enforcement ahead of visa reforms. Ever since, every president has doubled down on the first and backed off from the second in an effort to appease the restrictionists, who keep moving the goal post.

Clinton criminalized immigration, making nonviolent offenses that are relatively minor infractions under U.S. criminal law deportable aggravated felonies under immigration law. He also sealed off the San Diego corridor that migrants had commonly used to come to the United States. So instead they walked through the harsh Arizona desert, in extreme temperatures, without food or water, relying on human coyotes or smugglers—all of which the documentary captures in horrific detail.

The Clinton administration knew that rerouting the migrants through remote areas would result in more deaths. Indeed, that was the point. The UCLA archeologist Jason De Leon, who excavates human remains in the desert, notes that one of the official metrics used to gauge the success of this "prevention through deterrence" policy was the number of migrant deaths. The government couldn't go and shoot 3,000 migrants in the desert, he noted. But it thought nothing of consigning 3,000 migrants to their deaths if it could be chalked up to the travelers' decision to put themselves in harm's way.

One of the concluding stories in Immigration Nation features Camerina Santa Cruz, a Tucson-based mother whose 20-plus-year-old son, Marco, lived in Nogales, Mexico, 63 miles away—shorter than some Americans' commute to work. Marco was denied a visa to join her in America. So he decided to make the schlep through the Sonoran desert with some buddies and disappeared. She kept waiting for him to show up for five years. Then one day she learned from the Pima County Medical Examiner that they had matched his DNA to partial remains they'd retrieved from the desert. We watch her drive to the examiner's office, dressed all in black, to bring her son home.

Reason has long argued that immigrants who come to the United States to work hard and live in peace are an unmitigated blessing. But let's assume, arguendo, that their economic and cultural costs make them a net negative. Would that make America's border wars rational? Not too many who watch this documentary with an open mind and a heart would say yes. The series shows that the more America cracks down on the border, the more it has to crack down. Every round of brutality begets another, still more brutal round. There is no brutality equilibrium that can buy America lasting deterrence. As one unsentimental agent puts it, when it comes to hunting the "human species," the hunter is always behind the curve because the prey is adapting faster than him. The border jumpers are always "a little bit smarter than you," he says. So the hunter compensates for what he lacks in smarts by ratcheting up his brutality level.

That's the tragic logic that Immigration Nation brilliantly captures.

NEXT: The Democratic Convention Was a Brief for Biden's Character. Policy Got Left Behind.

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  1. Forcing people to live and work on specific sides of imaginary lines drawn on maps: that’s violence.

    1. You mean like your property line? That assumes you own property…

      1. National borders are not private property lines.

        1. only use is maps boring without them.

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        2. National borders are not private property lines.

          They are not. But since the US government deprives us of freedom of association and private property rights, the are the best we have in lieu of private property lines.

          Once we regain the right to our private property, as we would in a libertarian society, we can open our borders. In that case, of course, many people would be excluded from many places because they lack the necessary private memberships.

          1. Rights are gained by individuals refusing to waive them, not by “we”, not collectively. “We” can’t open “our” borders because “we” don’t have borders, rulers (authorities) do. Rulers rule, i.e., initiate force, threaten, defraud, but after gaining a moral blank check from the populace that grants unlimited political power. Until that grant of power is withdrawn and replaced by self-governance, reason, rights, choice, no one is safe, no justice or order is possible.
            Freedom requires acceptance of self-responsibility/reliance. That scares the hell out of too many, so they self-enslave and call it freedom/democracy. Then they force political immaturity on everyone. By what right? That question is ignored, replaced by force.

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            2. Were you wearing a mask when you wrote this?

            3. You’re as empty-headed as any ideologue.

        3. Oh, so those lines aren’t imaginary or on maps?
          Explain

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        4. Yes, they are.

        5. If it makes you feel better, think of the US as the enforcement area where US Ancap Defense Forces, Inc., has set up shop.

          You’re free to support any other Ancap Defense Force you want, but that won’t stop USADF from enforcing their laws on you in their enforcement area.

    2. We have government by the people and for the people, not by self-righteous anti-democratic ideologues dictating to everyone from on high. Not for foreign nationals either.

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    5. Anarchists don’t believe in government. News at 11.

      Abolish borders, armies, police, and law. Back to cannibalism!

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  3. Politicians have prevented any sensible compromise on immigration laws for decades now. Pretending like the happenstance from a decades-long political stalemate is “logic”, brutal or otherwise, is not honest.

    Not surprised about the lack of honesty, given the author here.

    You want the system fixed, tell your Reps to support a compromise immigration bill that gives everyone part of what they want, including a wall. If you don’t want the system fixed, then stop whining about it.

    1. I want immigration where I don’t get taxed to support immigrants. If I want to on my own dime, that’s okay.

    2. Right. I watched the Netflix series and thought it presented a pretty even look at both sides of the argument. It is a complex problem we have allowed to get progressively more lax to the point that the balance of workers needed to work available has shifted in the wrong direction. Trump’s policy, though it seems harsh, puts the onus on the law, not the feelings about how we should be nice to everyone that needs our help, as seems to be present policy. It was interesting to see the pressure put on Mexico when the border process changed and made it harder to just show up and cross into America. Change is never easy or comfortable.
      I especially found the story of the Marine Cesar compelling. In that case, I feel that if America allows an ‘undocumented’ person to serve and risk his/her life for the country there should be a path to citizenship through that service. Didn’t seem right that we allowed the man to serve in a war for us and then deported him when he returned. My opinion.

      1. The policy needs to be improved, but it can’t be improved without an honest compromise. Maybe in very small ways, but nothing major.

        The name-callers and finger-pointers do the most harm. Nothing gets better for the people you/we want to help until that stuff quiets down about 90%.

      2. I especially found the story of the Marine Cesar compelling. In that case, I feel that if America allows an ‘undocumented’ person to serve and risk his/her life for the country there should be a path to citizenship through that service.

        There is. Gaining US citizenship through service in the US armed forces has a long tradition: If you are serving or have served in the U.S. armed forces and are interested in becoming a U.S. citizen, you may be eligible to apply for naturalization under special provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

        Didn’t seem right that we allowed the man to serve in a war for us and then deported him when he returned. My opinion.

        If he got deported, he must either have broken immigration law or broken criminal law, and in some rather serious way.

      3. Netflix?
        Who sexualized 11 year-old girls?
        Um…NO!

      4. It is a compelling story. There are some issues with it.
        From what I have been able to find, he served two years of a four year commitment in the USMC before being given a general discharge for fighting and insubordination.
        In the images of him in uniform, he wears no rank insignia, which is a little odd. He does wear the National Defense Medal, which everyone serving in the military receives.
        I cannot say for sure whether he “served in a war”, but it is pretty unlikely, as non-citizens, except in special circumstances, are not allowed to serve in a capacity where a security clearance is required.
        His “marijuana conviction” was from being caught trying to smuggle 20 pounds of pot across the border. He pled guilty to felony possession with intent to distribute.

        When a green card holder applies for military service, it is a pathway to citizenship, but only if you play by the rules. That means serving the full commitment with an honorable discharge, and avoiding felony convictions.

    3. Sensible Immigration Policy:
      A country’s citizens decide, through self-government, the laws that determine who is and isn’t allowed in their country. Those laws are enforced.

  4. Abolish ICE?
    Ok.
    So long as they’re replaced by infantry divisions

    1. You misspelled “infant divisions.”

    2. Nope. Posse Comitatus.

    3. A wall with laser turrets.

      pew pew pew

  5. >>and the furthest thing from a threat to the United States

    equal protection under the law

  6. Shreika is back….sadly.

    Bottom line….Illegal aliens are just that – illegal. Go the fuck home and apply to come here. My wife did. She had to wait 10 years.

    It is not wrong or unreasonable to ask foreigners to respect and obey our laws. Shreika doesn’t seem to grasp that simple fact.

    1. Saying “ no” is “brutal”. Haha.

    2. It is not wrong or unreasonable to ask foreigners to respect and obey our laws.

      That depends on the laws themselves.

      When the laws are fair and just – sure, you’re right.

      When the laws are unfair and unjust – then, not really. Then, “following the law” is for suckers.

      1. When the laws are unfair and unjust – then, not really. Then, “following the law” is for suckers.

        You’re a sucker if you think that you can get away with ignoring laws just because they are unfair and unjust.

        And you’re an evil prick if you demand that oppressive laws that inconvenience you be changed while not batting an eye over the jackboot that’s on other people’s neck.

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      2. chem…You seem to imply our immigration laws are somehow unjust, and therefore are worthy of ignoring. Uh….no.

        It is not for the uninvited guest to tell the host what they should be doing.

      3. Yes Pedo Jeffy, it’s very important to you that we allow child rapists from foreign countries unlimited access to American children.

    3. I wonder if she is any relation to that shreiky hobag in Seattle…

    4. Our Country, Our Choice.

  7. Although Reason.com will always be my favorite source for billionaire-funded open borders advocacy, it’s encouraging to see Charles Koch’s immigration agenda is being promoted in other media. Good for Netflix.

    #OpenBorders
    #(EspeciallyDuringAPandemic)

  8. Meh you have to apply to work or live in other countries legally so yes the same applies here. Sorry you broke the rules.

    Now congress could of course fix immigration laws such that guest workers are allowed as long as no citizens are available. But of course we know companies violate that shit even now. Personally saw that happen where a white engineer was replaced with a cheaper Indian employee. And not just once. So I am unsympathetic. Also saw many cases of Tech jobs shipped overseas. Sorry but you made the mess of fucking over Americans for cheap labor you get Trump.

  9. I want to see liberal heads assplode when trump is reelected. I expect a great wailing and gnashing of teeth and I don’t want to be disappointed. You tried everything else to get rid of him and you failed. Are you game for a rematch lefties? I’m laughing at the superior intellect.

  10. Rule of law is just so unfair.

    1. If you like your country, you can’t keep it.

  11. After reading this article, if I were a citizen of another country, I would scrap plans to illegally migrate to the US—that great land of the free stuff. The US is so judgmental, trying to say a legal immigrant is somehow different from an illegal migrant. How outrageous, that’s like saying a guest you invite into your house is somehow different from an uninvited guest who breaks into your house. They’re the same, right?

    1. What if I’m an employer who wants to hire someone from the other side of the border and bring them in to work for me? What if I’m a landlord or a developer who wants to rent them or sell them a house? Why do you get to tell us we don’t have a deal? Why is collective action good in this case when I and my potential employee or tenant or customer are not harming anyone else?

      1. “What if I’m an employer who wants to hire someone from the other side of the border and bring them in to work for me?”
        I would say this would be the easier issue to resolve with a worker program. In the Immigration program there are a group of construction workers that follow work for hurricanes, tornadoes etc. They are sometimes exploited by shady companies because they are illegal. Would you be an exploiter? Would you take the responsibility for ensuring they return home when they are finished? Are you covering them with insurance? Do you pay their taxes? What happens if they get hurt? See how it can get complicated quickly?

        What if I’m a landlord or a developer who wants to rent them or sell them a house? Why do you get to tell us we don’t have a deal?
        If you don’t have prior knowledge who’s to say. But if you do, they are here illegally. Simple, you get to rent and sell under our laws. Why should you get to benefit from not obeying the same laws for your own gain.

        Why is collective action good in this case when I and my potential employee or tenant or customer are not harming anyone else?
        Well therein lies the rub. Describe harm. When your benefit creeps into my responsibility, and it will when your renter gets hurt, maimed, exploited, schooled, sick, is fed morning and afternoon, buys a social security number of mine, etc. Unless you are fully willing to be fiscally and financially responsible for your employee, tenant, customer in all phases of the above then the collective gets a say too.

        1. Oh, and collective action is good in neither case. But I’m not going to agree to open borders as long as you and others don’t agree to lowering my income, capital gains, and business taxes to zero.

          You can’t have open borders and then force people like me to pay for the consequences. Not only is that not fair, societies simply can’t function that way because people start leaving.

          If progressive plans for wealth taxes and open borders pass, I won’t hang around; there are plenty of nice places in the world to move to for people with money and/or skills.

      2. In your simplistic scenario is there a welfare state. If you rent them your house do you ensure they don’t get any or utilize tax subsidized infrastructure? If you fire the person do you promise to escort them personally to the border?

      3. Why do you get to tell us we don’t have a deal?

        For the same reason you get to tell me to give up 50% of my earnings to the state.

        Why is collective action good in this case when I and my potential employee or tenant or customer are not harming anyone else?

        Look at our deficits and debt, our progressive tax system, and redistribution: if you bring in people who don’t earn substantially above median income, they are harming others, simply by being in the country, simply because of all the government spending that is taking place on their behalf. The problem is all the stuff government allocates on a population basis.

      4. “What if I’m an employer who wants to hire someone from the other side of the border and bring them in to work for me? What if I’m a landlord or a developer who wants to rent them or sell them a house? Why do you get to tell us we don’t have a deal? Why is collective action good in this case when I and my potential employee or tenant or customer are not harming anyone else?”

        You can hire or rent to them in their country… if their country allows it.
        Why is collective action wrong for the nation but right for you and the person(s) you want to import?

      5. Why? I dunno, sneak into Mexico, set up shop, rent a place, and see how that goes. I’m guessing there are reasons why it’s not ok.

      6. What if I’m just an ordinary American and I want all the money in a bank’s vault? Why do you get to tell me I don’t have a deal?
        BECAUSE ITS AGAINST THE LAW, FUCKHEAD!
        You want to hire that worker, across the border – move there, then you can hire him all you want.
        Otherwise, we have laws. Don’t like them – MOVE!

      7. Hire anyone you want.

        But there’s no reason US immigration policy needs to cater to employers, landlords, developers, etc. There are other Americans and other interests that Americans have beyond you making an extra buck.

    2. And if you’re Shikha, surely it’s the same thing if that uninvited guest that broke in is your husband or a violent sexual predator that commits a horrific violation of her.

      Right? I’m sure Ashoka would agree with that, as she is consistent, and principled.

  12. It’s not “brutal” logic, it’s just logic. The government has decided that they want to limit immigration. More people want in than the government has decreed. Some of them are willing to risk it. The government is enforcing the decree to try to discourage them.

    Personally I’d make it much easier to immigrate for anyone who can prove they won’t be a financial burden to the government or a health or criminal risk to the citizenry, but I’m not in charge.

    1. And we just ignore any problems of infrastructure, welfare, etc?

      It isn’t logic. You’re just ignoring the parts that work against your argument.

    2. Personally I’d make it much easier to immigrate for anyone who can prove they won’t be a financial burden to the government or a health or criminal risk to the citizenry, but I’m not in charge.

      I agree with the principle. But I think what you don’t realize is that, given our massive government spending and progressive system of taxation, the notion of “won’t be a financial burden” translates into a requirement for a steady income substantially above the US median.

      1. Agree…but here is a question. How do we prove a source of income for immigrants coming here that is roughly 60K+ annually?

        I would extend the principle a little further. We need STEM expertise in this country ASAP, if we are going to challenge China in the long run. Can we not do even better and skim the cream (only take the best and brightest) of the total crop? I totally agree with opening the doors very wide for people who meet our desired characteristics.

        The one caveat I would add here…we need a significantly lower unemployment rate before we throw open the doors. We are currently at 10% unemployment, I would like to be much closer to 5%…then open the doors.

        1. We are currently at 10% unemployment…

          It is house arrest not unemployment.

        2. We need STEM expertise in this country ASAP

          The reason “we need STEM expertise” is because of our broken education system. It’s a system dominated by social justice concerns, diversity quotas, collaboration and soft skills, mindless paper writing, and politics. The source of this dysfunction is how government gives out scholarships, loans, educational grants, and research grants. This system doesn’t turn out good STEM graduates, and most smart people are avoiding it altogether, preferring a career in finance or business instead.

          if we are going to challenge China in the long run.

          If we are going to challenge China in the long run, we need to adopt an education system and regulatory framework that focuses on competition, rewards achievement, and is based on our own cultural tradition and history. Once we do that, you’ll find that there are more than enough Americans willing to go into STEM. If we don’t do that, importing more and more third rate STEM workers from abroad isn’t going to help us, because their kids will reject going into STEM just as much as current American kids do.

    3. Imagine if the government decided to discourage going 5 miles over the speed limit by implementing the death penalty for doing so. I think everyone would agree that that would be completely insane. Any benefit from reduced speeding is far outweighed by the suffering the penalty causes. Similarly, imagined they installed ankle monitors on everyone to measure if they were speeding or not. Such aggressive enforcement is not worth the benefit.

      People are not entitled to inflict any penalty they want for a violation of a law. Penalties must be proportional to the severity of the offense. Aggressive behavior on the part of enforcement must be similarly proportional. People seem to understand this when thinking about most crimes, but conveniently forget when it comes to immigration.

      Penalties and aggressive enforcement need to be proportionate to the harm done by the offense. If the only way to prevent a minor offense is to inflict some grave harms on the offenders, then you have a moral obligation to allow the offense to happen.

      So what is the proportionate response to someone violating immigration law? I imagine you’d need to calculate how much harm and how much benefit their violation of the law inflicts on people in America and base it on that. In the case of illegal immigration, on average illegal immigrants are probably a net benefit, they help Americans more than they hurt them. In particular, they contribute far more money to the welfare state in taxes than they consume in services. So they deserve to be treated with far more leniency than we treat traffic violations.

      1. The “punishment” for being here illegally is not punishment, at all.
        It is simply returning the situation to what it was, before the law was broken. Just like if a bank robber got to return the money and nothing else was done. The robber went on with his/her life as before.
        It is not punishment to live in your home country, which is outside the U.S.

      2. No, illegals are not net benefits. They drain the school system, for example.

        1. Educating a child is never a bad investment.

      3. on average illegal immigrants are probably a net benefit,

        There is no way to get reliable information on this from people who have a vested interest in not telling the truth about their illegal existence.

        As far as punishment proportional to the crime: illegal entry is a crime against 330,000,000 people and, without harsh consequences, the moral-hazard of overlooking their youthful exuberance leads to an unacceptable burden on 330,000,000 million people.

        1. Most studies support your assertion that immigrants are a net benefit. Many have jobs that pay taxes. In many cases they pay for taxes that will never benefit them. Many business depend on immigrants for reliable and inexpensive labor.

      4. In the case of illegal immigration, on average illegal immigrants are probably a net benefit, they help Americans more than they hurt them.

        That’s absolutely false. Illegal immigrants undermine the rule of law, unfairly take slots from legal immigrants, and are overwhelmingly a net minus to US tax payers.

        So what is the proportionate response to someone violating immigration law?

        Until you are a naturalized citizen of a country, you are a guest, and you are subject to removal at any time. That’s the deal immigrants freely and voluntarily accept when coming to the US. Under international human rights law, you simply have no right or expectation to stay in any other country than the country you are a citizen of.

        The proportionate response to someone deliberately violating immigration law is deportation. And for legal immigrants, the law is ruthlessly applied like that. Deportation is not a punishment, it’s simply a restoration of a lawful situation.

        For some reason, you seem to think that illegal immigrants should be given special dispensation for an egregious violation of US law and be treated more leniently than legal immigrants. As a legal immigrant, I don’t just find that absurd, I find it offensive.

        1. The first membership test to join our club: will you obey the rules of the club?

          If no, you fail the membership test.

          That should be a rule. If you’re caught in the US illegally, you should *forever* be ineligible to come into the US.

    4. I would prioritize young hot chicks. Gotta watch the ratio, or it’s just a huge sausage fest.

      1. Good sound thinking, S-lord!

    5. A magazine calling themselves Reason calls logic “brutal”.

      First WrongThink was Crime. Now WrongFeel is Crime too.

    6. Once they vote, they can make themselves a financial burden.

      People only looking at the immediate welfare implications are missing the big picture.

      Countries are people. Particularly countries that are nominal democracies. Votes are what point the guns of government. Taking in immigrants is letting them also point that gun.

      How many countries have more libertarian people than the US? Hint: not Mexico.

      You don’t make a more libertarian country with less libertarian people.

  13. Sorry anarchists, your Welfare State cannot co-exist with Open Borders. Until the Welfare State is gone, line jumpers MUST be sent to the back of the line

    1. Exactly.

    2. Immigrants, even illegal ones, generally contribute more in taxes than they take in welfare benefits. So Open Borders would actually lower the tax burden the welfare state places on natives.

      1. That is the most idiotic thing I’ve ever read

        1. Isn’t it, though?

      2. You are correct. People tend to focus on the cost of immigrants while ignore their importance to the economy. They pay taxes and in many cases never get the benefits of the taxes. They provide reliable low cost labor some businesses require.

      3. Immigrants, even illegal ones, generally contribute more in taxes than they take in welfare benefits.

        “Welfare benefits” are the wrong measure. Illegals need roads, government services, defense, police, etc. The right measure is total government expenditures. These are currently about $25000 per capita per year. Anybody who doesn’t pay at least that much in taxes is a net burden to US society. To pay that much in taxes, people need to make much more than median income, and most illegal immigrants don’t.

    3. I am an anarchist, and in our defense, some of us realize this principle. I’ve always said that when dismantling the state, the borders have to be the last thing to go, not the first.

      1. Either way, I hope you suffer greatly and are consciously aware of it.

    4. Freedom and Open Borders can’t coexist in a world where most people don’t believe in freedom.

      Welfare costs are a tiny part of what the US loses with Open Borders. We lose liberty, for ourselves and our posterity.

  14. If ICE were driven by brutal logic, they’d find some way to bring the hammer down on Maoist terrorist sympathizer Shikha Dalmia.

  15. Nation States are the best defense for liberty. Millions of people who support socialism and tribalism is a something very important in deciding on immigration. Look at America today..massive deficits, wars, foreign interventions, debt debt and more debt, daily attacks on our natural rights…and sorry but a primary cause was the allowance of millions of socialists and communists in from central and eastern europe 100 years ago..they came with cultural marxism and have been attacking and destroying America since. Immigration can destroy a nation of liberty very quickly.

    1. There were barely any socialists or communists in Eastern Europe 100 years ago. The Russian Communists don’t count, they were a tiny, violent elite that forced their insane views over a country that couldn’t care less about them. Cultural Marxism is an affliction of elite intellectuals, not impoverished immigrants. The majority of SJWs seem to be white elites, not immigrants.

      Nation states don’t have much of a track record when it comes to defending liberty. Nationalist countries like North Korea and Nazi Germany tend to be totalitarian nightmares. It’s internationalism and free trade that defend liberty.

      1. I don’t think you’d survive pre 1648.
        Just a hunch

      2. And where do we see this ‘free trade’ ? Was it before or after colonialism ?

    2. The Democrats don’t win an election since Carter without the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, lack of immigration enforcement, failure to enforce immigration law, and birthright citizenship for the children of illegals.

      CA was the state that gave us Nixon and Reagan. They will be a one Party state for the rest of my life. 27% of CA are foreign born.

      Probably the majority of CA have no roots in CA or the US prior to 1965. It’s a replacement population.

  16. Still, the glimpse we get reveals an agency that thinks nothing of inflicting the cruelest punishment for the smallest offense, and sometimes for no offense at all—all because the people concerned were born on the other side of the border.

    If the people involved had stayed on their side of the border, they wouldn’t be in trouble with ICE. It was their choice to break our laws.

    But I agree that ICE isn’t doing a good job and that there is far too much potential for abuse. Fast deportation of people illegally in the country would be preferable, and is, in any case, the law. Deportation, incidentally, is not punishment.

    1. “Deportation, incidentally, is not punishment.”

      No, but when you start from a premise that everyone who sneaks in must be allowed to stay, then everything that is not that is “brutal”.

      Hyperbolic bullshit that starts on a faulty premise and just gets dumber from there.

    2. “Deportation…is not punishment.” For some, it’s a death sentence by secret police, for others it’s slow death by poverty.
      “It was their choice to break our laws.” “Our laws”? Your and the ruler’s laws, not mine. Don’t assume I consent to democracy, i.e., rule by force of arms. Don’t assume the majority has any moral authority over the minority. It doesn’t. I repudiate the initiation of violence, threats, fraud by YOUR govt. It’s NOT my govt. Your surrender of your sovereignty to others doesn’t obligate me to self-enslave also. Your collective mentality is your burden, not mine.

      1. That’s just fucking idiotic.

      2. Someone could just slice your neck with the same stupid logic you spout. Who are you to demand ‘they’ act within the law ? Right ?

      3. Political asylum is abused by liars; hence, true political victims suffer.

      4. “It was their choice to break our laws.” “Our laws”? Your and the ruler’s laws, not mine. … Your surrender of your sovereignty to others doesn’t obligate me to self-enslave also. Your collective mentality is your burden, not mine.

        Yes: “our laws”. You can give up your US citizenship any time you like, so you are a US citizen by choice. As long as you choose to keep it, in return for the benefits that gives you, you have agreed to abide by its laws and obligations. And despite your empty posturing, the fact is that you are largely abiding by US laws, because if you weren’t, you’d be in a jail cell somewhere.

      5. “Deportation…is not punishment.” For some, it’s a death sentence by secret police

        Those people can seek political asylum in neighboring countries (not the US).

        for others it’s slow death by poverty.

        Almost none of the illegal migrants coming to the US are threatened by a “slow death from poverty”. Extreme poverty today largely only exists in Africa. Furthermore, the dysfunction of other nations’ political systems that produces this extreme poverty is not America’s moral responsibility.

      6. Wow you must’ve learned that from an angry homosexual communist.

      7. It’s not punishment to prevent people from taking something that they have no right to.

        It’s not you government. Fine. Emigrate anytime you like. It is my government, and I expect it to act in the interests of Americans by enforcing our borders.

  17. “So the hunter (ICE) compensates for his lack of smarts by ratcheting up his brutality level.” Or, maybe his conscience requires the dehumanizing of his victims to avoid facing the moral consequences of his actions. This is common in war. Soldiers become more and more inhumane, and thereby less human. They turn to drugs and suicide. In war, there are no winners.

    1. No one is ‘dehumanizing’ anyone. These are illegals. They don’t belong in the US. They didn’t wait in line like very legal immigrant. They have to either be immediately deported, or detained.

      1. But the goal of Marxists is to destroy the US and they believe illegals will accomplish this, which makes them racists in every category.

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  19. This article is full of poor logic and absurd notions. Migrating illegally is NOT the same as a speeding ticket.

    1. So, lemmee see here. You’re expecting good logic and compelling notions from an article penned by Schecky Dullmia? Understand she is merely Reason’s chief clickbait and you’ve swallowed it yet again.

    2. While migrating illegally is not the same as a speeding ticket it is close to a speeding ticket that bilking people out of money with promises to build a wall. It is closer to a speeding ticket than hiding illegal payment to porn stars. It is closer to a speeding ticket that taking bribes to fill a Senate seat. I could go on, but the fact is illegally immigrating is a lot less then a lot of other crimes we are willing to over look.

      1. While migrating illegally is not the same as a speeding ticket it is close to a speeding ticket that bilking people out of money with promises to build a wall.

        Lucky then that we don’t punish people who come to the US illegally at all, we just restore them to legal status by deporting them.

        That’s in contrast to people who speed or do any of the other things you list, who are, in fact, subject to legal punishments in the US.

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  21. >Not folks with serious criminal histories

    Apparently you and every one else at ‘reason’ is unaware that entering the US illegally is a crime. I’m surprised that you and everyone else at ‘reason’ doesn’t think the only crime that illegal aliens commit is not heading directly to Silicon Valley to mow lawns, wash dishes, and babysit for your Silicon Valley overlords.

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  23. I was struck by the fact that quotas came up in the article. Quotas often come up in the discussion of law enforcement and particularly for minor offense. How many traffic tickets were issue, how many immigrants were picked up. While it is important to have metrics to evaluate personal performance and program, quota do not seem to be an effective tool here. I like to see law enforcement at ever level from FBI, Ice down to the city patrol offer get a better metric for judging performance.

  24. I’m a simple man.

    If I see someone in a mask I automatically think and assume illiberal sheep.

  25. “Collaterals are undocumented people who have committed only visa violations”

    Which is to say, they’re deportable illegal aliens. See how simple that was?

  26. Shiksa you ignorant slut…

  27. Fuck you, reason.con. My dad is an immigrant and he says you’re a bunch of pussy eating leftists.

  28. Why did you close comments in the other thread about H1-B visas, Shikha? Kitchen too hot for you? Or did you realize that H1-B doesn’t confer actual immigrant status, just an allowed period of time to work? Read my lips: There. Is. No. Constitutional. Right. To. Immigrate.

  29. Poor Shikka is all butt hurt over the illegals again, boo frigging hoo…

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