The fact that former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) lost his primary last week largely because of his support for immigration reform before–and this is crucial!–securing the country’s borders has failed to dampen the enthusiasm of reform advocates. The latest to insist that Cantor’s loss–the first such loss in over 100 years–means nothing is casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who is otherwise hawkish on national security.
Cantor and Adelson are joined by Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) in that same policy paradox. How is it that leaders who are so rightly concerned about the threat posed by a nuclear Iran, and who back interventions abroad to protect Americans at home, seem so uninterested in the national security threat posed by a border that is so porous and poorly defended that tens of thousands of children cross illegally?
The paradox likely has to do with the way the issue is framed. Our national debate focuses on “amnesty,” i.e. what is to be done with those illegal aliens who are already in the country. To a lesser extent, we are concerned with the economic impact of our immigration policy. Yet we rarely discuss the profound national security implications of our vulnerable borders–which go beyond potential terrorist infiltration. A change is overdue.