DACA for a wall?

The Drudge Report features a rare editorial as one of its headers: a call from the Dallas Morning News for President Trump and Congress to swap legalization for DACA recipients for a border wall.  It's something that on the surface sounds like a reasonable enough compromise.

The government shutdown is in its fourth week, with no end in sight because our leaders in Washington don't seem to want an end that doesn't amount to political humiliation of the opposition.

But imagine for a moment that President Donald Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer could see their way to a compromise that Americans would support and that would greatly benefit this country.

To us, it would look like this: The president would get the funding he seeks to enhance border security, including some 230 miles of physical barrier, but also with more technologically sophisticated solutions.

In return, the president would agree to a sweeping deal to protect young people who were brought to this country without authorization at ages when they had no say over what happened to them.

It's for sure a compromise, and it's likely that a compromise is going to be required to get the government reopened at all, given the intransigence of the Democrats over this piddly little request from Trump, very small in the scheme of federal funding.

President Trump is expected to give a major address on the shutdown today, so with Drudge running this editorial, one wonders if he knows that this might be what's ahead.

That said, such a swap is going to be a problem.

The wall halts incentives to migrate illegally.  Rewarding DACA recipients is going to supercharge the incentive to migrate illegally, even if the compromise specifically says it won't include new migrants.  It's an amnesty, and every amnesty brings in more migrants, all of them waiting for the next subway train to stop, because they know it will.

Now consider the impact of an amnesty with a wall.  The wall won't completely cover the terrain, given the limits of geography, so the 230-mile or so stretch of it will merely drive migration out to the desert badlands.  People will be incentivized to come with kids – in the hands of human-smuggling cartels – through the desert badlands instead of through the areas closer to urban centers with services.  That sounds like a recipe for migrant child deaths.  There likely will be, and lots of news coverage blaming the wall.  None of the focus will be on the bad decisions of the migrants who are acting on the DACA incentive, that draw or pull that makes them want to undertake such a risky journey.  If the journey looks risky now, imagine what it will look like with a wall up and the incentives to immigrate illegally still there.

All the same, a compromise means giving up something, so maybe the status quo will be preserved.  The Dallas Morning News argues that DACA should be expanded, and all the people who were rejected for it due to their criminal records should be added in.  (I don't think so – already DACA recipients are allowed at least two "free" misdemeanors to qualify, which pretty well signals a life of crime ahead.)  Far better to allow kids who missed the cutoff for age by a few years than these budding thugs.  Instead of expanding it by crime record, it would be better if DACA were narrowed, to strictly non-criminal applicants, with proof they haven't cast an illegal ballot to cancel out the vote of a U.S. citizen as well.  There also should be no chain migration to reward the law-breaking parents, who really should be in the dock for child abuse as well as breaking immigration law, given that they've put their children into the hands of pirates on dirty, dangerous desert pathways.  Perhaps a new law increasing penalties for such lawbreakers would be appropriate – anyone found bringing kids into illegal migration schemes can never become a citizen.  Or perhaps all illegal migrants must provide the names and particulars of the cartel smugglers they paid in order to get any consideration for U.S. residency, whether by asylum or ordinary application.  Helping to break up smuggling cartels, which profit so handsomely on the U.S.'s lax and easily manipulated immigration laws, might be a fair exchange for the interests of the U.S. citizens (and Mexican citizens, given the havoc the financially powerful cartels have wrought) if a wall is even to work.

There need to be some checks and balances so the incentive to migrate illegally becomes less attractive than the incentive to come legally.  I'd be all in for asking DACA recipients to fly back to their home countries and apply legally, same as all other migrants.  They could come back as they waited due to DACA provisions.  That would make their immigration more of a normal thing, and we might even get some productive citizens out of it. 

The incentive door remains open with a DACA-for-wall deal.  If a wall is going to mean anything, that needs to be shut tight.

The Drudge Report features a rare editorial as one of its headers: a call from the Dallas Morning News for President Trump and Congress to swap legalization for DACA recipients for a border wall.  It's something that on the surface sounds like a reasonable enough compromise.

The government shutdown is in its fourth week, with no end in sight because our leaders in Washington don't seem to want an end that doesn't amount to political humiliation of the opposition.

But imagine for a moment that President Donald Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer could see their way to a compromise that Americans would support and that would greatly benefit this country.

To us, it would look like this: The president would get the funding he seeks to enhance border security, including some 230 miles of physical barrier, but also with more technologically sophisticated solutions.

In return, the president would agree to a sweeping deal to protect young people who were brought to this country without authorization at ages when they had no say over what happened to them.

It's for sure a compromise, and it's likely that a compromise is going to be required to get the government reopened at all, given the intransigence of the Democrats over this piddly little request from Trump, very small in the scheme of federal funding.

President Trump is expected to give a major address on the shutdown today, so with Drudge running this editorial, one wonders if he knows that this might be what's ahead.

That said, such a swap is going to be a problem.

The wall halts incentives to migrate illegally.  Rewarding DACA recipients is going to supercharge the incentive to migrate illegally, even if the compromise specifically says it won't include new migrants.  It's an amnesty, and every amnesty brings in more migrants, all of them waiting for the next subway train to stop, because they know it will.

Now consider the impact of an amnesty with a wall.  The wall won't completely cover the terrain, given the limits of geography, so the 230-mile or so stretch of it will merely drive migration out to the desert badlands.  People will be incentivized to come with kids – in the hands of human-smuggling cartels – through the desert badlands instead of through the areas closer to urban centers with services.  That sounds like a recipe for migrant child deaths.  There likely will be, and lots of news coverage blaming the wall.  None of the focus will be on the bad decisions of the migrants who are acting on the DACA incentive, that draw or pull that makes them want to undertake such a risky journey.  If the journey looks risky now, imagine what it will look like with a wall up and the incentives to immigrate illegally still there.

All the same, a compromise means giving up something, so maybe the status quo will be preserved.  The Dallas Morning News argues that DACA should be expanded, and all the people who were rejected for it due to their criminal records should be added in.  (I don't think so – already DACA recipients are allowed at least two "free" misdemeanors to qualify, which pretty well signals a life of crime ahead.)  Far better to allow kids who missed the cutoff for age by a few years than these budding thugs.  Instead of expanding it by crime record, it would be better if DACA were narrowed, to strictly non-criminal applicants, with proof they haven't cast an illegal ballot to cancel out the vote of a U.S. citizen as well.  There also should be no chain migration to reward the law-breaking parents, who really should be in the dock for child abuse as well as breaking immigration law, given that they've put their children into the hands of pirates on dirty, dangerous desert pathways.  Perhaps a new law increasing penalties for such lawbreakers would be appropriate – anyone found bringing kids into illegal migration schemes can never become a citizen.  Or perhaps all illegal migrants must provide the names and particulars of the cartel smugglers they paid in order to get any consideration for U.S. residency, whether by asylum or ordinary application.  Helping to break up smuggling cartels, which profit so handsomely on the U.S.'s lax and easily manipulated immigration laws, might be a fair exchange for the interests of the U.S. citizens (and Mexican citizens, given the havoc the financially powerful cartels have wrought) if a wall is even to work.

There need to be some checks and balances so the incentive to migrate illegally becomes less attractive than the incentive to come legally.  I'd be all in for asking DACA recipients to fly back to their home countries and apply legally, same as all other migrants.  They could come back as they waited due to DACA provisions.  That would make their immigration more of a normal thing, and we might even get some productive citizens out of it. 

The incentive door remains open with a DACA-for-wall deal.  If a wall is going to mean anything, that needs to be shut tight.