A few days ago a group of 19 Republican senators wrote to President Obama, demanding that he retract the directive prioritizing the deportation cases of dangerous criminals. They accuse the White House of “ignoring lawbreakers” and claiming that the directive turns “a blind eye to those who have broken our immigration law” and that national security depends upon our ability to halt illegal entry into our country and to respond when these “criminals” manage to enter or have overstayed their visas.
We share the viewpoint that every country has the right to assure the security of its borders and to prosecute those who violate them. But we feel that the focus of these senators is counterproductive. If what they are concerned about is the security of the nation and its citizens, the best approach is precisely to avoid focusing resources on deporting students, landscape workers and veterans, when what should be prioritized is the expulsion of the dangerous criminals who constitute an immediate threat to the safety and security of the United States of America.
What is really worrisome is the insistence of these high-level lawmakers on criminalizing all undocumented immigrants, calling them a threat to national security. Not all that many years ago, Republican stalwarts like Ronald Reagan and George H W Bush Senior referred to the undocumented as “good, hardworking people, doing work that needs to be done.” These days, it has become popular to criminalize even the best of them, and not just Republicans are doing so.
This state of affairs is frustrating and myopic, and does absolutely nothing toward what our country really needs: a thorough, in-depth look into our entire immigration system.
The aim of the White House, to prioritize the most urgent deportation, should be praised and not attacked with mean-spirited bombast.