If Border Security Matters, Why Can’t Anyone Be Deported?


July 11, 2019

By Dale L. Wilcox

“Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.—George Orwell

There is a lot of wind blowing around the halls of power in Washington and state governments lately when it comes to immigration. Anti-borders politicians have perfected a form of linguistic sleight of hand that shields them from criticism for their radical views. One of the most common tricks is to say, “I’m for border security, but …” What follows is usually a policy idea that is decidedly antithetical to border security.

The latest bad immigration policy idea being mainstreamed into the public consciousness is that deportation of illegal aliens is unwarranted under any circumstances. Among the witch’s’ brew of disastrous anti-borders proposals out there, this has to be among the most dangerous, not just for the physical safety of Americans, but of the nation at large.

After President Trump announced and then delayed an initiative to conduct mass deportations of illegal aliens who have final orders of deportation, opponents pounced on the very idea of removing such individuals. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi claimed she told the president in a phone call that “a violation of status is not a reason for deportation.”

This begs an obvious question. If breaking into the country and violating our immigration laws doesn’t warrant deportation, is there any conduct that does? The implied answer from Speaker Pelosi and her fellow travelers is no. In that case, we are now entering into a post-order phase of the American experience. Laws exist on the books, but are not meant for actual enforcement. Those who violate our laws are essentially granted clemency if they belong to a class that is protected by our political grandees. This is not the conduct of a vibrant democratic republic, but of a rot-infested socialist dictatorship that will eventually collapse under the weight of its own corruption and duplicity.

President Trump had targeted about 2,000 illegal aliens for deportation, but of course there are many, many more. Ken Cuccinelli, acting director of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, recently declared that agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) are ready to detain and deport about a million illegal aliens who have been issued removal orders.

Despite the massive backlog that has caused some aliens to wait years for their cases to be heard, the aliens facing deportation have already received their due process. Their circumstances were reviewed by an immigration judge and determined to be short of the standard for a continued stay in the U.S. These aliens now live among us in defiance of a court order, and attempts to execute their lawful deportation are attacked by politicians and the media as the work of jack-booted government agents. If American citizens were resisting a court order, who would run interference for them? Probably no one, and no one should. Why is it different for foreign nationals in our country?

Defying a deportation order is not a victimless crime. It can come with a body count. There are too many cases of American citizens who lost their lives at the hands of aliens who were ordered to be removed. In one recent case, Grant Ronnebeck was shot to death while working in a Mesa, Ariz., convenience store. Apolinar Altamirano, an illegal alien and reputed member of the Sinaloa Cartel, allegedly shot the 21-year-old Ronnebeck after demanding a pack of cigarettes. While living in the U.S. illegally for more than 20 years, Altamirano had previously been convicted of burglary in 2012. He was out of police custody on bond despite being under a deportation order. His first-degree murder trial begins in August.

There are many controversial elements of our immigration policies, but enforcing deportation orders should not be one of them. It is a fundamental component of protecting our citizens and maintaining the integrity of our legal system.

Dale Wilcox is executive director and general counsel at the Immigration Reform Law Institute, a public interest law firm working to defend the rights and interests of the American people from the negative effects of illegal migration.

Also published at: Dale L. Wilcox, If Border Security Matters, Why Can’t Anyone Be Deported?, The Hill, July 11, 2019.

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