Jack DeVine

It’s a mess.

Each month, more than 100,000 illegal aliens (as defined In US Code) swarm across our Southern border, without authorization or credentials, seeking permanent entry into the USA. Thousands are being held temporarily in overcrowded facilities pending disposition of their cases. Many others have been released into the US on the faint hope that they will return for scheduled hearings.

Recently, serious concerns have been raised regarding conditions at these overcrowded detention facilities. Except for the nonsensical comparisons with concentration camps (some Democrats simply can’t resist the Trump-is-Hitler schtick), the concerns are legitimate and must be addressed. Conditions are miserable and getting worse every day. It is becoming ever more difficult to provide humane, safe and fair treatment for these people and simultaneously protect our homeland. We’re at full-on gridlock.

How did we allow this to happen?

As usual, many have already decided that it is all because of callous disregard of human rights by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and of course our immigrant-hating president.

That’s a politically convenient explanation. But a more logical one is that the deteriorating conditions are a direct consequence of the skyrocketing number of migrants attempting to enter the country illegally. We are only half way through 2019, and border apprehensions have already surpassed the annual total for any year on record.

And why this big bump in the rate of illegal entries? One reason is the continuing actions of Democrats to encourage and facilitate it.

Democrats reject out of hand any suggestion of complicity in what they happily attribute to GOP malfeasance. But theirs is a strategy of total resistance to everything Trump administration tries to do. So when he wants to stem the tide of illegal immigration, they suddenly want more of it – and they’ve been quite successful in that regard.

Several examples:

Judicial activism. Virtually every Trump executive action related to immigration has been challenged by progressives in sympathetic courts, preventing or delaying implementation.

Sanctuaries. There are now seven US states and over 200 counties and municipalities that self-designate as sanctuaries for illegal immigrants, each consciously violating or ignoring Federal law. What better way to encourage illegal entry?

The "caravans." Tens of thousands of Central American migrants have joined together in caravans for the 2,500-mile journey through Mexico to the US southern border. Those arduous journeys required food, water, porta-potties, medical assistance and transportation. Who organized and funded them?

Congressional funding. Until just two weeks ago, the Democrat-controlled House stubbornly withheld the financial support needed to alleviate the growing crisis at the border, and they continue to refuse to authorize funding for the border wall that in prior years most had supported enthusiastically.

Asylum. Migrants have learned, no doubt with helpful coaching, how to maximize their chances of gaining entry. Those who arrive with children and apply for asylum status are not turned back; most are released within the United States pending their scheduled hearings.

The current asylum case backlog is currently approaching 200,000, with waiting times exceeding two years. Only those who can prove credible risk of persecution will be granted asylum, so many never return for their hearings.

These are not the only causes of surging illegal immigration. Certainly, economic hardship and widespread violence in the countries of origin are major factors as well. But the composite effect of all is that millions of impoverished people have shown up at our doorstep. Without doubt, the great majority are fundamentally good people, seeking nothing more than better lives. Sadly, they also are pawns in a political power play.

We are a nation of immigrants, the world’s beacon of freedom. Our inability to deal humanely and efficiently with these new arrivals is an epic failure of our government and an embarrassment here and abroad.

The root cause is hyper-partisanship. We have two political parties, each far more concerned about its prospects for the 2020 elections than about the best interests of the nation or the fate of real human beings. Is it any surprise that we make zero progress in resolving an important issue when the two sides are furiously pulling in opposite directions?

The problem is real. It’s not a Republican problem or a Democratic problem – it’s an American problem. Going forward, we need comprehensive and coherent policies for both legal immigration and border control, policies that will be accepted and uniformly applied by future Democratic or Republican administrations.

It’s time to roll up our sleeves and get on with it, together.