Jill Biden prioritizes uniting illegal alien families

USA Today reports that First Lady Jill Biden's first initiative is to "reunite children taken from their parents at the border under former President Donald Trump's roundly condemned family separation policy."

There are plenty of tangents to go off on with respect to the role of the first lady, such as "Who elected her?" but what a first lady does is nonetheless part of our American culture.  Mainly, the actions of the first lady appear symbolic to broader aspirations of the spouse's administration, with some exceptions.  So the first lady's symbolic gestures are somewhat important.

While it is an admirable goal to keep families together, the symbolic gesture of making this priority #1 is to be looked at.  In explaining the first lady's priorities, Joe Biden has called the Trump family separation policy a "moral failing" and has vowed to form a task force to help reunite the more than 600 parents and children who remain separated.  Further, Joe Biden claims that Trump has "waged an unrelenting assault on our values and our history as a nation of immigrants."

What Biden's simplistic worldview of "Orange Man Bad" fails to account for is that we are a nation of laws as well as a nation of immigrants.  When faced with the tough choice of how to handle families and minors attempting to enter the country without authorization, the Trump administration was bound by many hard realities and laws.  Under the 1997 (Clinton-era) Flores Settlement, children cannot be detained for over 20 days.  The options were to release an entire family unit into the interior of the United States or to place the children in a shelter (separate from the "parents").  For brevity concerns, not analyzed in this article is what role the U.S. should have in discouraging the notoriously dangerous journey for migrants seeking access to the United States. 

Is releasing families into the United States while they await trial a realistic possibility in line with enforcing our immigration laws?  According to the Center for Immigration Studies, 43% of all aliens free pending trial failed to appear for court in 2017.  Further, 46% of all unaccompanied children disappeared from U.S. immigration courts between 2013 and 2017, and 49% of unaccompanied children failed to appear in U.S. immigration courts in 2017.  Given that close to half of the immigrants fail to appear, it would seem to the casual observer that this half of the immigrants are likely living within the United States illegally.  If the nation had an on-your-honor system of paying taxes, and half of the taxes were not being collected, how quickly do you think the government would set up an agency to snag that other half of the money?  Government agents would likely come up with elaborate tracking systems and assign every soul a number at birth and throw you in jail or fine you into poverty if you did not comply with the tax laws.  Thankfully, Americans all voluntarily pay all of their taxes, and no such agency is needed.

While hyperventilating about 545 children separated from family members, NPR breathlessly reported that "the parents of 545 children still can't be found."  This led to the Department of Homeland Security issuing a statement: "after contact has been made with the parents to reunite them with their children, many parents have refused."  The statement goes on to say, "[O]ut of the parents of 485 children whom Plaintiff's' counsel has been able to contact, they have yet to identify a single family that wants their child reunited with them in their country of origin."  This translates to parents willingly being separated from their children in the hope that the children will get a spot in America, presumably against all current laws regulating immigration.

Being that Jill Biden's goal is to reunify these children with the parents, it is presumable that she intends to reunite these families in the interior of the United States, as none of the parents desires to be reunited with his children in his country of origin.  While these children are indeed humans, and minors, and in need of everyone's love and compassion, that does not negate that as a nation, we should have uniform laws about who is allowed to be within our country.  In fact, we have a Congress who has sole authority under the Constitution to establish a uniform rule of naturalization. 

The Biden administration has a Democrat-controlled House and Senate.  As such, what is stopping the Democrats from enacting a uniform rule of naturalization that allows them to achieve what they desire?  Instead, we have an administration that would rather inject itself into the immigration process by having the first lady illegally reunite non–U.S. citizens with other non–U.S. citizens inside the United States as her first policy initiative. 

Instead of trying to achieve unity and do what is right by encouraging his party to pass immigration reform, the Biden administration is hell-bent on acting through executive directions, sowing discord, and blaming all immigration woes on directly on President Trump and the conservatives who supported him.  While the task force is looking at only 600 reunifications, it is symbolically important to see that the first lady's first priority was to put Americans second with an end-run around the constitutional authority granted to her husband.

Image: Gage Skidmore via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0.

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