Immigration is arguably the most divisive subject in the country at present. With midterm elections rapidly approaching, the current focal point of our nation is the 2,342 children being detained separately from their families. One of the pillars and focuses of this administration is ceasing unauthorized immigration. However, are we really expending our resources most effectively and embodying the values of the GOP while doing so? According to the latest Gallup Poll, President Trump’s approval rating is at 45 percent. With all of the negative media coverage surrounding the impact of the enforcement of our immigration laws, how is it that Trump’s approval rating remains so high? The answer is quite simple: Trump is fulfilling his campaign promise to suspend unchecked, illegal immigration.
If immigration suspension is so desirable, what’s the big to-do? Again, the answer is simple. The issue lies in the execution of the policy and the resulting separation of children from their families. Regardless of one’s party affiliation, the images of wailing children huddled together under thermal blankets in chain-link holding areas are heart-wrenching. Despite what the mainstream media would have you believe, it is ludicrous to think that people want to see or derive joy from seeing children separated from their families. Unfortunately, however, until both parties can come to a mutually agreeable solution to immigration, many of the challenges that we are witnessing today will continue to exist. Given the humanitarian in each of us, Democrat or Republican, and the sensitivity of the situation, should this issue not be resolved in a timely and reasonable manner, it will no doubt negatively affect the Republican Party and Trump administration in the 2018 midterm elections.
The platform preamble of the GOP states, “[we seek to] reliev[e] the burden and expense of punishing government regulations…this means returning to the people and the states the control that belongs to them. It is the control and the power to make their own decisions about what is best for themselves and their families.” Fundamentally, what is occurring at our borders goes against the entirety of what the Republican Party represents. Families are attempting to make their way into our country, ostensibly to provide a better life for themselves and their offspring. As such, taking the preamble quite literally, it is the opinion of the GOP that the federal government should not intercede in a state matter—particularly with respect to those making their own decisions about what is best for their families.
With respect to those electing not to adhere to our pre-established naturalization channels, there are consequences for their actions. The very existence of our country is dependent on enforcing our borders. As a result, should individuals opt to circumvent our immigration process and enter the country illegally, they should be held responsible. With that being said, they are still constitutionally entitled to due process as that is the law of our nation.
The polarizing component within this policy is not whether unauthorized immigration is condoned, but the impact on families and children. According to the Center for Immigration Studies, 52 percent of likely voters “responded that they preferred to see illegal immigrants in the United States go back to their home countries.” With that being said, a poll by CBS four days ago states that “67 percent of Americans call it unacceptable to separate children from parents who’ve been caught trying to enter the U.S. illegally.” As a result of this backlash, we are already beginning to experience policy shifts from municipalities. As an example, the mayor of Atlanta has refused to jail new ICE detainees. Should it continue, this destabilization could be detrimental to the union, and ultimately the Party.
One could argue that the federal government, particularly while adhering to the GOP ethos of state autonomy, should conceivably bow out of this matter; that the administration should allow the states to determine how to manage illegal immigrants once they’re apprehended. How much money are we spending on duplicative efforts? ICE is our immigration law enforcement agency, yet we are waging secondary and tertiary wars with municipalities and states as to where and how we are detaining families. I challenge the administration to come on one accord, to bequeath this matter to the states and let them resolve the detention autonomously. There isn’t good reason for federal interference in such a provincial matter, particularly in an election year.
Mr. Williams is manager/sole owner of Howard Stirk Holdings I & II broadcast television stations and the 2016 Multicultural Media Broadcast Owner of the Year.