How Did “Deportation” Become a Dirty Word?

This is inspired by a New York Times editorial: Yes He Can, on Immigration

As a liberal, I do not understand why liberals are calling for the President to selectively execute the law. This amounts to making up his own laws, which would clearly usurp Congress’s power. Sure, the law leaves some room for executive discretion; however, only deporting violent gang members does not fall within what immigration law requires. “I must execute the law” is not an excuse; it is a sacred duty.

For whatever reason, liberals seem all to eager to turn a blind eye toward a simple fact: sovereign countries have the authority to set laws governing immigration. In this country, we have a political process for determining such laws. Furthermore, the process allows for changes, when the people desire such change. The President cannot, and should not try to get around the democratic process.

I think Obama’s non-enforcement on the ban of marijuana has created the false expectation that he is free to pick and choose what laws are practically in effect. That is a dangerous precedent. Haven’t liberals in recent years been clamoring for greater limits on executive power? This kind of discretion takes us in the exact opposite direction.

Another thing that liberals are doing that I cannot understand is to blame deportations on the chief executive. It seems to me that much of the blame falls on illegal immigrants themselves. Obviously, children who were brought by their parents did not have a choice. But their parents did have a choice, and they chose to break the law (such as it is). In an ideal world, children would not have to suffer for the crimes of their parents. But the real world is much messier than that.

Sure, these illegal immigrants probably didn’t do it to flout the US government; more likely, they did it out of simple economic desperation. I don’t see how that translates into some kind of moral imperative for the US to allow such immigration. What this means is that illegal immigrants took a risk: on the one hand, stay in their home country that lacks economic opportunity, or enter the US with the possibility of being deported. As with many things in life, just because something sucks for you does not require someone else to accommodate you.

Politically speaking, if the point of Obama’s aggressive deportation strategy was to demonstrate how serious he is about enforcement, it has (or at least should be) succeeding: Republicans aren’t accusing Obama of being “soft on illegal immigration”. They have no excuses to hide behind, laying bare their true motivation: they don’t like immigrants, despite having descended from immigrants themselves.

Speaking of being a nation of immigrants, my parents legally immigrated to this country. I’m not going to say that just because they did it, so can everyone else. The truth is that the waiting lines to get a green card are about a decade long. That is an absurd amount of time to wait. The biggest immigration problem we face is making it practical to immigrate legally. Until that happens, we will be powerless to stop desperate people from running across our gigantic border. This whole debate over what to do with existing illegal immigrants does nothing to address that; therefore, we can rest assured that the problem will grow indefinitely, regardless of deportations, until we start focusing on the real issue: making legal immigration practical.

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