THE BLOG
06/23/2013 02:17 pm ET

Repeating Mistakes, Ignoring Solutions

Two agencies which fall under the Department of Homeland Security -- Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE )-- are responsible for law enforcement operations related to the prevention of illegal immigration. The two agencies combined number more than 65,000 employees. Their combined annual budget is nearly $17 billion per year. Clearly, formidable resources have been devoted to stemming the tide of undocumented immigrants into the United States.

The tools at the disposal of America's immigration officers and border patrol are impressive, ranging from highly trained K9 to sensors at the border to detect movement, from Blackhawk helicopters to drones. At the nation's airports, highly training inspectors have at their disposal federal databases which provide information that rivals that of any law enforcement agency in the world. And despite all of the people, money, and equipment that has been thrown at the problem of illegal immigration, the agencies have proved to be a failure at accomplishing their mission. People come to the United States illegally in droves, through airports and land border crossings, undeterred by CBP and ICE.

Why? The answer is quite simple: a complete lack of resolve on the part of politicians to be honest about illegal immigration.

Consider the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA), which legalized through amnesty about three million people, in turn allowing those people to petition for their family members to come to the United States. The bill was intended to change the face of immigration once and for all by taking undocumented immigrants out of the shadows, and by providing a legal mechanism for many more to come to the United States. Did it work? Well, today there are more than 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S., and that represents a rather conservative estimate. So what solution is the Senate proposing to fix the problem this time? Amnesty. Again.

I'd prefer not to call the Senate backers of the Gang of Eight's proposal incompetent, so I'll go with dishonest. For instance, does anyone really believe Charles Schumer when he says that with this new bill "Illegal immigration will be a thing of the past"? Of course not. He knows that's untrue, but he has the audacity to ignore history and make a comment so ludicrous it should curl your hair. One time Senate upstart Marco Rubio put his imprimatur on this latest bill despite the fact that in a campaign debate with opponent Charlie Crist just three years ago he decried amnesty for undocumented immigrants. Now he's helping to author a bill to make it a reality.

The problem of illegal immigration can be likened to an overflowing bathtub. If one finds their bathroom flooded, should he start mopping up the water without first turning off the faucet? Seems rather obvious. But our esteemed Senate doesn't see it this way. Controlling the border is an afterthought.

The truth is that existing immigration laws that have been in the federal code for decades are sufficient to drastically reduce the number of undocumented immigrants in the United States. The problem is that CBP and ICE agents are not empowered to enforce them. Today, the union that represents ICE agents is taking the incredible step of suing Homeland Security chief Janet Napolitano for commanding them to violate federal law and betray the oath they took to faithfully execute the law. ICE agents are regularly forced by administration policy to ignore federal law mandating the deportation of those who fall into deportable status by committing crimes or becoming public charges, never mind those who came here without documentation to begin with.
Have you heard any of the Gang of Eight address this grievance? Of course not, and that's because they aren't serious about turning off the faucet, regardless of what Chuck Schumer says. So should anyone believe them when they speak of tough penalties under the new law like deportation for tax evaders when today even crimes of violence don't necessarily result in deportation? If you do, I have a wall in Texas I'd like to sell you.