Addressing the “Root Cause” of illegal immigration

Reno Gazette Journal October 3, 2021

Our southern border is overrun by immigrants, Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) has had over a million and a half “encounters” in the past 11 months. Meanwhile, “Border Czar” Kamala Harris, has often talked about solving for the “root cause” of illegal immigration. The “root cause” is the fact we have incentivized illegal immigration and here’s how I propose addressing it.

End Asylum: Asylum is the most abused part of the entire immigration system. Anyone who walks into this country and claims they have been persecuted will be let in with a hearing scheduled years down the road. Such claims of persecution are inherently hard to prove, so most “qualify”. The definition of persecution, additionally, has expanded to include everything under the sun including domestic violence, gang violence (Biden Executive Order 14010 Section 4 (G) (C)), and China’s one-child policy.

End Catch and Release: When you try to illegally enter the United States and get caught, you are released into the country until a scheduled court hearing. Currently, a hearing date is nearly three years after entry. During that time, these illegal aliens are allowed to freely roam around the country and enjoy the privileges just like American citizens. To top it off, nearly half of them don’t appear for their court hearings and there is no way to track them.

End birthright Citizenship: Birthright citizenship was enshrined in the constitution to give rights to slaves who were forcibly brought into this country, not those who came into this country voluntarily by breaking laws. Not a single European country allows for birthright citizenship. This misguided interpretation of conferred citizenship upon birth within the national borders, even to parents here illegally, has long been abused.

End welfare for immigrant visa holders: Unless you are a U.S. citizen you should not be eligible for welfare.

Place restrictions on DACA recipients: Illegal immigrants protected by DACA may be granted a work permit that is renewed every three years. They should not be eligible for citizenship, welfare, COVID checks, and other government giveaways. My column from January 2018 covers this topic in more detail.

End chain migration: Currently, once one person becomes a naturalized citizen, that person can bring his/her spouse, parents, children into this country. The parents can then bring their other children. This process can continue until the entire family tree is here. Congress should enact laws that do not extend this privilege beyond the spouse and minor children.

Tax remittances: In 2020, immigrants sent $68 billion from the U.S. to their country of origin (referred to as remittances). That’s more than twice the amount sent out of any other country in the world. Countries south of the border benefited significantly from these outflows. In addition to unloading the least educated segment of their population to the United States, these countries now get billions of dollars in return. Congress should tax remittances.

Exclude illegal immigrants for apportionment count: Congressional seats are allocated to states based on population, which includes illegal immigrants. This rewards states that incentivize illegal immigration. The population count used for apportionment should exclude illegal immigrants.

One final point: While most of the conversation on how to prevent illegal immigration has been focused on the merits of a wall, such a wall should just be one of many components of an overall solution. We need a comprehensive approach that doesn’t reward those who run across the border even if they manage to get in. The changes proposed in this column will essentially eliminate illegal immigration.