The Immigration Ultimatum

The year was 1986.  We tried the carrot approach, I suppose hoping that if we were understanding and big-hearted, the curse of nonstop illegal immigration would cease.  President Reagan, a conservative Republican, with the acquiescence of Congress, granted amnesty to millions of foreign nationals illegally residing in the United States.

The slate was wiped clean, and from then on, we were told, the government would get serious about illegal immigration.  The borders would be secured, immigration law enforced.  It was a sham.  Mass illegal immigration continued unabated.  Just another slap in the face to American citizens.

The national nightmare is back.  We are again told that amnesty is needed.  It's as if our leaders took a collective, deluding sedative.  State governments unilaterally declare "states' rights" on an issue clearly in the federal purview.

We are lectured that "those living in the shadows" are the real problem, not the presence of millions of unknown lawbreakers.  Twisted thinking, in effect, flips the argument in a classic psy-op deflection exercise: those breaking immigration law represent "our values," while citizens desiring serious law enforcement embody jack-booted thuggery.

Immigration enforcement advocates allow themselves to be on constant defense, caving in as they offer compromise after compromise.  There's a word that describes this: wimp.  Republicans are as guilty as Democrats, libertarians, and so-called constitutionalists.  No political party appears to possess the necessary grit to deal with illegal immigration.    

There's a new, belligerent foreign presence masquerading as American, demanding and getting public entitlements, insisting on sanctuary, even respect.  Citizens appear shell-shocked by the sheer magnitude of the problem permitted to fester.  

Here are our options: we can a) continue in a lackluster mode, living with millions of unknown foreigners on our soil; b) grant another outrageous amnesty, which is virtually the same as option a (only that our leaders would feel virtuous, that they really did something); or c) change course, aggressively and unapologetically applying the spirit and letter of the law.

What would be wrong with issuing an ultimatum to all those flouting U.S. immigration law – a demand that they get out?  There is nothing wrong with it.  All violators of the law could be offered a temporary reprieve, an opportunity to do the right thing, in short order, or else.

Such a reprieve might work.  Many foreigners, however, might think it's a mere line in the sand.  I'm far from caring why someone would or would not accept a benevolent offer.  It's time we look with steely resolve to the millions of invaders and say, "If you don't take advantage of our final offer, the hammer of enforcement will fall."  Such a final offer could express the following ideas:

  • Illegal aliens would have twelve months to return to their country of origin.  They must individually come forward and apply.
  • Applications could be recorded with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Customs Enforcement, and the U.S. Justice Department.
  • Courtesy warnings could be issued to all member-states of the U.N., with bulletins apprising them of their nationals who apply.
  • The U.S. could also issue notifications using the news media, National Public Radio, Voice of America, and The Integrated Public Alert and Warning System.
  • Foreign embassy and consular officials would be expected to communicate with their nationals and facilitate their repatriation.
  • After the reprieve period ends, the full weight and thrust of U.S. immigration enforcement technology and capabilities would be mobilized to identify, apprehend, and deport illegal aliens in the United States.
  • Those who choose to disregard the reprieve, and are subsequently deported, will be barred from entrance into the United States for twenty years.

Unlike amnesty, with its open-ended work permits, path to citizenship, and free ride for childhood arrivals, the anticipated reprieve program grants only a short, defined respite from deportation enforcement.  It would provide ample warning for what is coming.  Illegal aliens who refuse to accept the temporary reprieve would be considered unrepentant foreign lawbreakers, with all bets off.

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