As a constitutional conservative, I support the rule of law. That, of course, includes immigration law. I've never seen the point of or need for "comprehensive immigration reform". Just enforce the immigration laws on the books and remove the economic incentives for illegal immigration. What Mitt Romney in his 2012 presidential bid called "self-deportation". Refusal to enforce immigration law is the essence of what Barack Obama did, after all, apart from his illegal, unlawful, unconstitutional executive decrees (DACA in 2012, DAPA in 2014). Simply go back to enforcing the law and everything should be fine, right? After all, no less than Ronald Reagan himself once said, "A nation that cannot control its borders is no nation at all."
But do so quietly, effectively, and with a minimum of bad optics. The Left, as on every other issue, has sought to emotionalize immigration, both legal and illegal, for their own partisan purposes (i.e. as a voter recruitment tactic). It's what they do. They have to do that because their motives are self-servingly ulterior and their ideas simply do not work. They seek to tear down and destroy America as it is and replace it with something it is not and was never meant to be. Most voters aren't going to willingly, rationally agree to such a thing; they have to be tricked, manipulated, into voting against their own interests. Turning off their brains and flooding their mental zone with emotions is the prime way of accomplishing that goal. Has been for decades. Consequently, it has always been incumbent upon Republicans, as the adult party, to take emotion out of issues and replace it with facts, figures, and reasoned arguments. They haven't always succeeded at that task, but they have often enough to remain politically and ideologically competitive.
The worst thing that GOPers could ever do is go out of their way to fuel voters' emotions on any issue, but particularly immigration, which was highly charged already. It's a game they simply cannot win. And yet under the malignant influence of Donald J. Trump, the accidental president, that is precisely what the Republican Party has done. Trump's first big splash in the 2016 GOP presidential primaries was to napalm the headlines with incendiary bombast about "Mexican rapists" and "full deportation" and "big, beautiful walls" that "Mexico will be forced to pay for". It was part and parcel of why so few people took his candidacy seriously. Such toxic rhetoric was the stuff of social media trolling and comment section rants, not campaigning or policy formulation. It doesn't persuade or build support for actual ideas, it alienates and repels it. And the optics, my God, the optics. It portrayed the border security hawk position as viciously racist/nativist (which it's not, or at least, doesn't have to be), America as arrogant and obnoxious - or precisely the leftwingnut caricature of the conservative position on illegal immigration. Almost as if Trump were a Manhattan liberal Democrat trying to impersonate a conservative, telling his targeted marks what he thought wanted to hear.
Dismayingly and depressingly, it was. Ditto the brain-cell-killing, poisonous, reactionary anger binge. It would have been Republicide if the Democrats hadn't somehow managed to beat them to the bottom of the candidate barrel.
While Trump has been all over the place on immigration once in office, keeping both DACA and DAPA in place and willing, even eager, to legitimize them legislatively while keeping his Redcap suckers duped with the same steady stream of red meat, underlings like Attorney General Jeff Sessions (a legitimate border security hawk) and Stephen Miller (the liberal stereotype of one) ramped up immigration enforcement with all the horrible optics we had reason to fear. It was only a matter of time before that created a public relations disaster. The "zero tolerance" policy implemented in April, complete with family separation as a "deterrent", was the trigger.
Last week set back the cause of border security years. Public polling was apocalyptic. Even congressional Trumplicans were fleeing for the tall grass, throwing together de facto amnesty bills to try and staunch the PR bleeding. Trump had to sign a dubious executive order ending the punitive family separation policy by Wednesday that moved his administration leftward all the way to Barack Obama's catch & release stance. However much liberals try to overplay the winning hand Trump dealt them, whether by running administration officials out of restaurants or threatening mob tactics, the conservative "tough on illegal immigration" position has been discredited indefinitely.
But there are still the roughly 2,500 illegal alien kids that were taken away from their parents. So naturally, the Regime is doubling down on it with a tactic that looks even worse:
On Sunday, TheTexas Tribune....reported that Central American men separated from their children in a detention facility outside Houston are being told they can reunite with their kids at the airport if they agree to sign a voluntary deportation order.
The illegal alien told the Tribune that he abandoned his asylum case and agreed to sign voluntary deportation paperwork Friday out of “desperation” to see his six-year-old daughter, who was separated from him after the pair illegally crossed the border in late May....
“I was told I would not be deported without my daughter,” the Tribune quoted the man as saying. “I signed it out of desperation… but the truth is I can’t go back to Honduras; I need help.”
The tykes are not being threatened or mistreated (the cages not withstanding). And though their parents shouldn't and have no right to be here, and the administration is no longer splitting up immigrant families (genuine and fake), the children they have seized are being used as pawns with gleeful abandon to force illegals to leave the country, preempting due process as though fearing that in the toxic political environment the family separation policy has created, the government would lose most of the deportation hearings - which is a likely possibility. How can they not realize how this looks - holding kids hostage to coerce their parents - and all the ways in which the media will use it against them? Why write Democrat campaign ads for them?
Like Amnesty Don, frantically trying to shore up his cult with more rabid, mouth-frothing rhetoric, chipped in on Twitter yesterday:
We cannot allow all of these people to invade our Country. When somebody comes in, we must immediately, with no Judges or Court Cases, bring them back from where they came. Our system is a mockery to good immigration policy and Law and Order. Most children come without parents.
Our Immigration policy, laughed at all over the world, is very unfair to all of those people who have gone through the system legally and are waiting on line for years! Immigration must be based on merit - we need people who will help to Make America Great Again! [emphases added]
Edit out the Trumpy exaggerations, cliches, and slogans and the latter tweet has a great deal of truth to it (which is how you know that he doesn't really mean it, but is just pandering to his base). Yet the first tweet buries it beneath that same angry, disdainful, overwrought verbiage that, if it isn't intentionally designed to sabotage border security hawkery, might as well be.
Which, to borrow another overused Trump social media cliche, is sad. Because we do need to control our border and we do need to eliminate, or at least minimize, illegal immigration, as well as reduce and reorient the legal variety. Historically throughout American history our country has had several waves of immigration with generational pauses in between to allow for cultural assimilation. Since the Democrats opened up the immigration floodgates over half a century ago, there have been no such respites, splintering the culture and threatening to Cloward-Pivenize the welfare "safety net" in the process, and the U.S. economy along with it. We're in great need of an immigration breather.
These things can be done without demonizing and victimizing immigrants and further drowning the American public in embittering, divisive, self-defeating partisan rage. They can be done quietly, effectively, and with a minimum of bad optics that leaves the "right" people spluttering and hyperventilating - not "triggered" by pointless, calculated dickery and cruelty, but on the losing end of responsible, conservative immigration policy that protects our borders and upholds the rule of law.
Or, rather, they could have been done. Donald Trump has made that impossible for years to come - which, by his deeds, not his words, appears to be just fine with him.