Jason L. Riley asks in the WSJ: “What is the point of having immigration laws if the government doesn’t enforce them?”
… large majorities of Democrats and Republicans continue to view immigrants as a net positive for the country. But the president speaks for more Americans than his critics want to acknowledge when he expresses deep frustration with people who flout immigration laws.
As Kirstjen Nielsen, secretary of Homeland Security, explained on NPR last month, family separation policies in the U.S. are widespread and commonplace. “We do it every day in every part of the country. In the U.S. we call that law enforcement. We call that protecting our communities and our children.”
Buried on page A14, the NYT supported Ms. Nielsen’s case:
Advocates for criminal justice reform have argued that Americans appalled at the treatment of immigrant families at the border should realize that prosecutors and the police routinely separate children from their parents,” wrote the Times. “It happens when parents or children are arrested, it happens when incarcerated women give birth—it can even be triggered when a pregnant woman fails a mandatory drug test, or when a child skips school.
As Mr. Riley points out, there are effective alternatives to detentions for people fleeing violence in their home countries. For example, the White House could consider advice from Fatma Marouf, a law professor at Texas A&M. Mr. Marouf “recently told Forbes magazine that some of the same methods used by law-enforcement agencies to monitor citizens on parole could be employed to ensure that more refugees seeking asylum actually show up for their scheduled court appearances.”
In addition to doing a better job of keeping asylum seekers current about hearing dates and the consequences of noncompliance, Ms. Marouf said that “releasing people on bond or into electronic monitoring programs are alternatives.” Significantly cheaper alternatives, it turns out. Housing an individual in a detention facility can cost $180 a day, but a person can be monitored with a tracking device for just $8 a day. According to a Department of Homeland Security report released in November, nearly 100% of asylum seekers tracked electronically showed up for hearings and otherwise complied with their release conditions.
Read more here.