Biden administration open border policies: a threat to the sovereignty and security of our nation
By Maurice Washington
Immigration law is fundamental to any country. For more than 200 years, the United States has welcomed millions of people from every corner of the globe. But the debate over border security and immigration has become divisive because politicians have put politics before principles. Reasonable Americans find themselves trapped between diehards on both sides. And today, we lawfully admit more than one million people every year. That is more than any other country in the world.
Under the Biden administration, thousands of illegal aliens are pouring across our borders, the highest numbers ever recorded. During the past year, better than 1.7 million (more than six times the population of Charleston) foreign nationals from 160 different countries from around the world have showed up at our border with no visas. Virtually all of them have been let in, and almost none of them will ever leave.
Illegal immigration is not a victimless crime. The consequences of illegal immigration are far-reaching. It causes an enormous drain on public funds. The needs of endless numbers of poor, unskilled illegal entrants undermine the quality of education, health care and other services for Americans. Job-desperate illegal immigrants unfairly depress the wages and working conditions offered to American workers, hitting hardest at minority workers and those without high school degrees. Illegal immigration contributes to population growth, overwhelming communities by crowding classrooms, consuming already limited affordable housing, and undermining national security.
The situation at the border became so dire during the summer that even the architect of the Biden border crisis, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, was caught on tape admitting that it was “unsustainable” and that “we’re going to lose.” He also acknowledged as he toured the border region in August that the open border poses unnecessary hazards to frontline Custom Border Patrol agents who come in close contact with migrants.
Some staunch apologists for the Biden administration’s disastrous border and immigration policies have begun to turn on the president and his chief lieutenant. In a Sunday edition editorial, the Washington Post accused the administration of having an “incoherent” border strategy and openly blamed it for the border crisis. (The situation at the border is a product of design, not incoherence. Nonetheless, the fact that the Post and others acknowledge that the policies are “politically toxic” is significant.)
America is being transformed and will never be the same after this. The Biden administration is diluting the political power of the American citizens by importing a brand new population. There is no way to justify this on the basis that it’s good for America because it is not. Illegal migration costs the American taxpayer approximately $132 billion annually, and could exceed $200 billion by 2025. For the country, it’s a catastrophe, and it’s happening without the knowledge or consent of most Americans. As I write this column, there is a brand new migrant caravan down in Mexico heading to the U.S. border, aggressively forcing its way through Mexico police barricades.
The debate is not about whether we should allow immigration — it’s about how we do so in a way that protects American sovereignty, respects the rule of law and is beneficial to all Americans.
Citizenship should not be handed out but earned through a process that screens out bad actors. Unauthorized immigrants should be required to come forward, admit that they broke the law, pay fines and back taxes and pass a criminal background check. Only then should they be eligible to pursue the naturalization process, which requires immigrants to spend at least five years as legal permanent residents and show proficiency in English and an understanding of America’s history.
More than ever, America needs the brightest, most talented and hardest-working people the world has to offer. The objective of immigration policy should be to affirm America as the land of opportunity — where people of any background can work hard, develop ideas and benefit from the fruits of their labor. America’s great advantage has always been its ability to attract diverse people from all corners of the world and bring them together to build the American dream.
We must respect the consent of the governed, that is the will of the people. Individuals who are not citizens do not have a right to American citizenship without the consent of the American people.
That consent is expressed through the laws of the U.S. Through those laws, we the people invite individuals from other countries, under certain conditions, to join us as residents and fellow citizens. We cannot compromise national security and public safety.
Every nation has the right, recognized by both international and domestic law, to secure its borders and ports of entry and control what and who is coming into its country. A disorganized and chaotic immigration system encourages people to go around the law and is a clear invitation to those who wish to take advantage of our openness to harm the nation. Secure borders, especially in a time of terrorist threat, are crucial to American national security.
Becoming a citizen means becoming an American. We must preserve patriotic assimilation. The founding principles of this nation imply that an individual of any ethnic heritage or racial background can become an American. That’s why we have always welcomed immigrants seeking the promises and opportunities of the American Dream. Patriotic assimilation is the bond that allows America to be a nation of immigrants. Without it, we cease to be a country with a distinct character, becoming instead a hodgepodge of different groups. If we are to be a united nation, living up to our motto of E pluribus unum, out of many, one, we all must understand and embrace a common language, history and civic culture. That not only benefits America but also those immigrants and their families who aspire to prosper here.
Finally, our lawmakers (Republicans, Democrats and Independents) must respect the rule of law and immigration is no exception. Failure to enforce our immigration laws is unfair to those who obey the law and follow the rules to enter the country legally. Those who enter and remain in the country illegally should not be rewarded with legal status or other benefits. When politicians condone such behavior, they only encourage further illegal conduct and perhaps should resign their position or be voted out of office.
Based on these principles, immigration reform should include transitioning to a merit-based system. We must close loopholes that prevent enforcement of our laws and have overwhelmed immigration courts, allowing illegitimate asylum claimants and other lawbreakers to remain in the U.S. indefinitely.
We must and can address this issue in a manner that is fair, responsible, humane and prudent. This is too important an issue to not get right and too important an issue to be driven by partisan agendas. Let’s stay focused on what is best for the welfare of all Americans, both those of today and those of the future.
Maurice Washington is chairman of the Charleston County Republican Party and former Charleston City Council member. He is president CEO of Trust Management, LLC, and is committed to a life of public service.