President Donald Trump’s new executive order on border enforcement all but restores the failed “catch-and-release” approach.
Though he proclaimed that he was continuing his “zero tolerance” policy, the government still cannot detain families for longer than 20 days due to the Flores decree — a law the media pretended, until now, did not exist.
The courts and Congress are unlikely to shift, meaning that illegal aliens with children will simply be let go.
This was a defeat brought about, quite literally, by fake news.
A widely-circulated photograph depicted a child standing in a cage and crying. It was not actually a child in a detention center. It was a child in a mock cage at a left-wing protest in Dallas.
In a further irony, the photo was publicized by Jose Antonio Vargas, a journalist who is, himself, an illegal alien.
This is what happens when a government believes people are “illegal.”
Kids in cages. pic.twitter.com/OAnvr9cl3P
— Jose Antonio Vargas (@joseiswriting) June 12, 2018
Once people saw that image, it could not be unseen. Others began to circulate as well. One showed kids sleeping on mats in a temporary holding cell. That turned out to be from 2014, when Barack Obama was president.
Border Patrol detention centers still look much the same today. They are not inhumane, but when the media circulated audio of children crying — an everyday occurrence — it was taken as proof of cruelty.
The Beltway punditocracy did its part, comparing law enforcement to Nazi concentration camps and the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II.
In 2006, when then-Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele compared stem cell research to Nazi experimentation on humans, he was forced to apologize for exploiting the Holocaust. In 2018, when he called shelters for migrant children “concentration camps for kids,” the media nodded in approval.
What all of this demonstrates is that there is simply no way to enforce our immigration laws. Every president, including Obama, has promised to do it and each has failed.
It was once said Trump would never be able to deport the millions of illegal aliens already in the U.S. because Americans would not tolerate the sight of families being rounded up. It turns out we will not even tolerate the sight of families being detained when they are caught in the act of crossing illegally.
The Democrats’ preferred option is not to stop illegal aliens at all. A bill drafted by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), and co-sponsored by every Senate Democrat, went so far as to prevent federal law enforcement from arresting anyone who is with a child, almost anywhere in the U.S, even for crimes not related to immigration.
Clearly we cannot enforce our laws at the border itself, because a child might cry somewhere in America and people will be upset.
The only solution — if we are to prevent mass immigration and human trafficking by the cartels — is to reduce the human element in border enforcement.
In other words, the only solution is the wall that campaigned on, and which Congress has refused to fund. Use humans only where topography requires it.
With a wall, there are no crying kids. They stay on the other side of the border — out of sight, out of mind, so as not to torment the liberal conscience.
Trump has vowed to shut down the government this fall unless Congress funds the wall. That might seem an empty threat, now that he has caved on “catch-and-release.”
Yet he may have no other choice — and he may have to go further, demanding an end to the Senate filibuster rule Democrats have abused to choke every effort by Republicans to pass their agenda. There is literally no bill Republicans could propose today to which Democrats would agree.
Israel’s experience with its own “wall” — really, a high-tech fence that is a wall in a few urban areas — is instructive. When the idea was first proposed, no one liked it: the right did not like the idea of a de facto border cutting off parts of Judea and Samara; the left did not like the idea of restricting Palestinians’ movements.
But when Israeli soldiers tried pursuing the terrorists where they lived, the world cried foul, making up hoaxes about human rights abuses.
So Israel had no choice but to remove the human element almost entirely and to put up a barrier that is ugly, and hated, but does the job. Thousands of lives have been saved as a result.
So, too, on our southern border. Americans have shown that we will not tolerate the sight of children being separated from adults — even when those children are being trafficked by criminals. We cannot leave law enforcement up to the discretion of future presidents. This one has tried hard enough.
There is no choice, if we want a country. It’s wall, or nothing.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named to Forward’s 50 “most influential” Jews in 2017. He is the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.