Deportations don’t go far enough

October 13, 2010


I was preparing to applaud the Obama administration and specifically Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano for announcing the deportation of a record number of criminal aliens last year. According to the Washington Times, “the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement deported 392,862 aliens in fiscal year 2010, slightly less than a 1 percent increase over 2009 but short of the agency’s goal to remove 400,000 this year.”

What curbed my enthusiasm was news that removal of other illegal immigrants — those not convicted of crimes, though it could be justifiably argued that their status as illegal immigrants is, by definition, the breaking of American law — fell to the lowest number since 2007.

Dan Stein, president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), said that while it is nice that Secretary Napolitano believes removing people in the country illegally is an important function for the Department of Homeland Security, “policy directives from the highest levels of DHS clearly demonstrate that the administration is refusing to enforce laws against noncriminal aliens.”

That bad cop/good cop approach is designed to pacify those on the political right while the administration and some Democrats in Congress simultaneously lay the groundwork for legalizing those who broke our laws to get here and remain in the country illegally.

In a desperate last-minute pre-election move to win more votes for Democratic candidates, New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez and Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy introduced the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2010 prior to adjournment. This bill, if passed, would effectively grant amnesty to illegal immigrants currently in the country. No one expects the bill to pass when Congress returns for a lame duck session, especially if Republicans win a House majority and make substantial inroads to the Democrats’ Senate majority, or take back the Senate.

According to FAIR’s analysis, DHS data show the Obama administration has “dramatically curtailed all aspects of immigration enforcement against illegal aliens who have not committed violent crimes in this country.” FAIR says when it comes to enforcement of the law at worksites, “administrative arrests have fallen by 77 percent, criminal arrests are down 60 percent, indictments are down 64 percent, and convictions have fallen by 68 percent since 2008.”

We have seen this political game played out over many years and with administrations of both parties. Big business, which mostly contributes to Republican political campaigns, wants cheap labor and so favors illegal immigrants. Democrats want the illegal immigrants because they see them as potential Democratic voters.

Rep. Lamar Smith, Texas Republican, says, “Millions of Americans are struggling to find work, while an estimated 7 million illegal immigrants are working in the U.S. Worksite enforcement could help make those much-needed jobs available for U.S. citizens and legal immigrant workers.”

That is a debatable point whether the unemployed would be willing to do the grunt work illegal immigrants often do, especially when Americans can now collect unemployment checks for more than a year. What should not be debatable is that lax enforcement of our immigration laws leads to more disrespect for those laws and serves as an incentive for more people to enter the country illegally.

This is what occurred following the “comprehensive” immigration reform under Ronald Reagan and it would happen again unless our borders are fully secured and something is done about those illegal immigrants already here. Granted, they won’t all be deported, but they should not be allowed to escape punishment for breaking the law. Otherwise, the law is meaningless.

So let’s hear it for Homeland Security’s successful deportations of criminal aliens. But given that the U.S. is only enforcing a portion of its immigration laws, all I can offer is the sound of one hand clapping.

— Cal Thomas is a columnist for Tribune Media Services.


Agnostick 3 years, 6 months ago

Thinking about this, it occurs to me that this issue is missing the magic ingredient that often gets the ball rolling on all sorts of problems/issues... something that generates a lot of attention, some targeted focus on things, even if it doesn't end up solving the problem.


Sure, we'd still be looking for a cure for cancer without them, but think about the impact on cancer research that's been left by Lance Armstrong, and to a lesser extent, other celebrities, like Patrick Swayze.

What about AIDS research, without the high-profile deaths of Rock Hudson and Liberace?

How about autism and Jenny McCarthy?

It's one thing to raid a grimy little sweatshop tucked away in the Garment District, and hustle a dozen or so illegal immigrants onto a bus--but it's another to go after somebody like this:

Of course, since he snuck across the border @ 20 years ago, there have been five or six amnesties offered to illegal aliens, and he no doubt "qualified" for at least one of them. Still, it's tempting to ponder what kind of effect this would have.

On the other side of the coin, let's forego the little maids, gardeners, restaurant workers etc. and hit something big: a meat processing plant, or an entire chain of dining establishments or retailers. Shut 'em down for a month or two, force the owners to pony up proper documentation on everyone. Yes, I know this would also put a few law-abiding citizens out of work. Speaking only for myself, I would gladly throw a few extra tax dollars to provide the law-abiding folks welfare, food stamps etc. for the short term, because the long-term effects of such a high-profile case could be very beneficial.

Time to stop trawling for shrimp, and go after a few big game fish, "river monsters," whales.


jayhawklawrence 3 years, 6 months ago

I don't know why columnists like Cal continue to exploit these issues to enhance their careers or justify their jobs other than it must be some sort of white man slavery. They must be forced to do this.

This problem has evolved and embedded itself into our culture to the point where we are engrafted to a large percentage of this illegal immigrant population. It makes no sense from a humanitarian point of view to put them in trucks and drive out into the their country of origin and dump them like a pet you don't like anymore.

We need a comprehensive solution that is humanitarian. We need to enforce the concept of legal immigration and put reasonable restrictions on it.

We have a bigger problem to face up to. We are overrun with career politicians and political consultants who have taken advantage of us.

What we are missing is leaders with character. I think we used to have some of those.


TinkyWinky 3 years, 6 months ago

Potentate O is selectively enforcing the laws of this nation. He is ruling by decree. Arrogant like his father Malcolm X.


MyName 3 years, 6 months ago

Just so you can tell: The number went down from a peak of 850k / year before the recession, to around 300k / year after the recession:


MyName 3 years, 6 months ago

This is stupid. Do you think maybe the fact that they are sending away fewer immigrants has to do with the related fact that their actual numbers have dropped due to the recession? No, that would be too obvious. It has to be some sort of Obama related overhaul of INS that no one has bothered to report on.


madameX 3 years, 6 months ago

Now, I've heard that the Obama administration has stepped up enforcement of immigration laws against employers who hire illegal immigrants:

This strikes me as a much more effective way to get at the root of the problem than deporting individuals, and is probably taking up at least some of the resources that might otherwise have been used to deal with individuals. But oh, look, Mr. Thomas doesn't give them credit for that.


Ray Parker 3 years, 6 months ago

Eva Flores, 18, of El Salvador, an illegal alien student at East Boston High School in Massachusetts, was charged in East Boston District Court on Tuesday with reckless endangerment of a child and assault and battery of a child under 14 with injuries. She is also being held on a federal immigration detainer. Flores is accused of dropping her naked 6-pound newborn son 17 feet down into a garbage-strewn alley on the night of Sept. 20. Neighbors rescued the face-down crying infant and called for emergency medical treatment. The boy, now named Angel by his vicious mother, was rushed to Massachusetts General Hospital, where he continues to be treated for severe and permanent injuries from the fall, including hypothermia, abrasions, hemorrhaging, fractured skull, brain lesions, brain seizures and brain swelling. A fire station a half block away from where the baby was tossed out a second-floor window would have offered legalized, discreet abandonment of an unharmed newborn under a safe haven law, such as is enacted in every state. Flores, who had concealed the pregnancy and birth during the 3 weeks after her illegal entry into the USofA, an obvious flight risk for the attempted murder and immigration violations, was held on a mere $1500 cash bail. Safe haven laws will not save us from finding dead and dying newborns in our alleys and garbage bins, but vigorous prosecution and harsh sentencing of mothers convicted of abandonment, without leniency, would be a start.


Agnostick 3 years, 6 months ago

One of the worst, most-blatant violators of immigration and tax law: Pilgrim's Pride chicken. [You'll see an ad first--sit tight, story pops up after 10 seconds or so]

Long, long ago, Bo Pilgrim should've been arrested, and all his personal and business assets--poultry plant, mansion, cash, everything--should have been seized by Internal Revenue, auctioned off to the highest-bidding, law-abiding citizen. Then, Bo's citizenship should have been revoked, and he should be forced to seek asylum elsewhere. Botswana, Haiti, maybe Colombia.

1) Secure the border, by any means necessary

2) Deport any illegal immigrants that local law officers run across; first and foremost, those arrested for any other criminal activity.

3) Eliminate all businesses that hire illegal immigrants

4) Streamline the current immigration process, making it cheaper and faster for law-abiding people that want to become American citizens the right way.


CorkyHundley 3 years, 6 months ago

Cal is such a loon. If these escapees from Mexico were such hard working, conscientious Catholics, they wouldn't leave. Mexico would be a paradise.

The Democrat defenders of the Catholics escaping Mexico, is understandable though. Deep down, Democrats love Catholics.


remember_username 3 years, 6 months ago

Deportations don't go far enough? I don't think you're allowed to send them further than the country they came from.


grimpeur 3 years, 6 months ago

Cal's using one hand, all right, but it isn't clapping.

Predictable sideshow freak.


TinkyWinky 3 years, 6 months ago

Eh oh Potentate Obama,

Enforce the laws, uphold the constitution, and do your job. Don't go on the View, go to Texas and tell the illegals to go home! Don't go on vacation...again, until you solve at least one problem. You are making Jimmy Carter look good.


just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 6 months ago

Maybe if you asked nicely, they'd let you shove some bamboo under the fingernails of some of the detainees before they get deported, Cal.


Commenting has been disabled for this item.