Liberal fixes? Conservative restriction? Why is the U.S. still in a state of legislative gridlock on immigration? Under an eight-year liberal administration headed by President Barack Obama, immigration remained a mess. Under President Trump, it still is a mess, writes Daniel Henninger in the WSJ.
A strong clue to what’s wrong emerged from Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen’s press conference at the White House this week. Well, it wasn’t a press conference. It was more like a Maoist struggle session, with few straight questions. Example: “President Trump has had a lot to say the last few days about immigration, but he’s offered no compassion to the families that are being separated. Do you know why that is?”
Still, a light went on when Secretary Nielsen said the separated children were being cared for by the Department of Health and Human Services. HHS was involved in this, too?
For more than 30 years, our “solution” to the illegal immigration problem has been to throw wave after wave of federal bureaucracies at it. What could go wrong? More accurately, how could it not get worse?
One reality remains, however: Thousands of American employers in agriculture, hospitality, construction, landscaping and manufacturing in virtually every U.S. state still need the kind of labor those immigrants provide, such as fixing roofs, cutting grass, cleaning hotel toilets, and sorting crabs and fish. In the Trump economy, most Americans don’t need to do this work. But someone’s gotta do it.
We have run the experiment on letting the federal bureaucracies solve the illegal-immigrant problem and have proved conclusively: They can’t. So why not give the market a chance to solve it?
Give these adults work visas that let them enter and exit the country at legal entry points as the labor market requires. A reason they bring their children with them is that if they leave the U.S. now, there is no legal way to re-enter for work.
Yes, there are details, but surely this market-based solution would be easier to administer than the never-ending travesty at the Mexican border.
Read more from Daniel Henninger here.