It’s been over two weeks since the Democratic debates in Florida and the nation is still reeling. Attention has not come off the candidates’ wins, losses, and scandals for a single second. The puff pieces and local news health broadcasts have practically nowhere to go. A “winner” of the second Democratic debate was US Senator Kamala Harris. The media and her supporters praised her take-down of Joe Biden and her stellar performance on the evening of the debate. Harris’ supporters think of her as a perfect progressive candidate in support of all the standard and fringe left economic and social issues.
Josh Hughes | United States
With the pivotal midterm elections quickly approaching, a story that has circling news outlets recently is one that most Americans are all too familiar with: a caravan of immigrants from Guatemala and Honduras are heading towards the southern US border, intent on finding refuge in the land of opportunity. But what does this mean for the United States? According to a story from ABC and confirmed by the United Nations, the caravan, which is still in the southernmost tip of Mexico, has grown to a size of over 7,200 migrants.
Surely a group that large will have a negative effect on the country, right? Undoubtedly, the effects of that many people entering the country will be felt, but why is that? The truth is, the government probably has itself to blame for its many issues with illegal immigration. The reason droves of immigrants swarm to America is because of the many social programs offered at the expense of the taxpayer.
Many immigrants come to take advantage of government programs such as welfare and Medicaid, without having to pay taxes to contribute to the system since they’re undocumented. This is one of the many issues President Trump and his supporters have presented, but their fixes are nonsensical. The left and the right are offering “band-aid fixes” to very deep and complex issues without looking at the root of the problem. Both sides propose regulating immigration rather than fixing the welfare state that exists today. Rather than worry about who comes in, the way to solve the problem is to ensure that no one is entitled to benefits offered at the expense of others. There’s no legitimate reason to stop people from coming into the country that will benefit America and contribute to the economy, as the United States is renowned for being a melting pot of ideas and cultures.
Another issue many Republicans have is that a lot of these immigrants may somehow vote, and vote Democrat. The number of illegal immigrants that vote is very few, but it’s the principle that’s the issue. The fact of the matter is, neither party offers anything that will legitimately help the immigrants. The Democrats giving them free support and services is damaging to them and to the country, and the Republicans that elect to keep them out entirely also isn’t helping.
Rather, the best course of action is the libertarian way. End the social programs. Let them come in, and offer them the greatest gift a society can give: equal opportunity and freedom. The proposition of starting a new life in a free land where your possibilities are endless as long as you work hard is something most immigrants don’t have in their home countries. They are famously hard workers, and no doubt have many skills to offer to the labor force and the economy. The best course of action is to offer all people, regardless of nationality, gender, race, sexuality, or another deciding factor, should have an equal opportunity to make a better life for themselves. Immigration reform is severely needed.
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By Jadan Buzzard | USA
Police officers are sworn to serve and protect their respective communities. These men and women fulfill an essential function, protecting citizens from dangerous criminals who strive to violate natural rights. However, many police departments harbor a dark secret. These departments partake in a program intended to deputize local law enforcement officials to enforce federal immigration laws, granting many officers broad discretion in their policing practices. This program, known as “287(g),” was enacted as a part of the Immigration and Nationality Act, which amended the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996. In essence, it grants the Department of Homeland Security the jurisdiction to enter into agreements with local police departments, giving those local police the ability to act as federal immigration agents. Once entered into an agreement with DHS, local police can interrogate individuals to determine immigration status, work with DHS databases, issue immigration detainers, and transfer immigrants over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement for deportation. As one might expect, the 287(g) agreement program severely impacts local communities, destroying trust in the police and spiking serious crime. Citizens ought to recognize this program as flying in the face of good policing practices. Eliminating the program will create an environment that encourages community trust, boosts the economy, and respects the civil rights of all Americans.
Investigations conducted by the Department of Justice uncovered sweeping discriminatory practices in several departments with 287(g) agreements. Does the name “Joe Arpaio” ring a bell? He was the Maricopa County sheriff in Arizona, recently pardoned by President Trump for unlawful enforcement of immigration laws and severe police misconduct allegations. The 287(g) agreement his department had with the DHS granted him the power to sweep Latino communities for illegal immigrants, interrogating any minorities he deemed suspicious. This practice ought to be opposed by all liberty-minded individuals. When officers begin to make judgments based on physical criteria, like skin color, the result is counterproductive and dehumanizing to people of color. Local enforcement officers should focus on protecting the public from dangerous criminals, not immigrants (who are actually less likely to commit crimes than people born in the United States). The 287(g) program displaces police priorities, moving them from productive work to pursuing small crimes and traffic violations.
This raises another issue with the program: it destroys community trust in the police. Community trust is essential to the safety of a given community. Minorities need to feel comfortable revealing important information to police officers about serious crime. These individuals are significantly less likely to assist law enforcement with a serious crime if police are constantly questioning their immigration status. In fact, according to The Center for American Progress in March 2017, “70 percent of unauthorized immigrants and 44 percent of Latinos are less likely to communicate with law enforcement if they believe officers will question their immigration status or that of people they know.” Thus, not only is the 287(g)agreement program racially discriminatory, but it also limits the effectiveness of law enforcement in general. Police often rely on insider information when pursuing a serious crime, and a lack of information can leave a police investigation severely handicapped. This leads to crime spikes in local communities, driving police to suspect minorities yet again, encouraging more discrimination. The ensuing crime spiral is dangerous and should be avoided at all costs.
A final issue with the 287(g) agreement program is the impact it has on federalism, the system created by the American founders to protect against tyranny. Local police have a specific function – to protect local communities from serious crime – and federal immigration agents have their own function – to enforce federal immigration law. While my view on federal immigration policy is another story, separating jurisdictions provides each actor more efficiency in its operations. But federalism also guards against the usurpation of power by the larger branch, which in this case is the federal government. The founders implemented this system throughout the American government, and it tends to work. The 287(g) program, however, creates an unnecessary (and even dangerous) overlap between federal and state jurisdiction. It turns local police officers into federal agents, consequently offering their jurisdictions over to the federal government. The precedent set by 287(g) can have far-reaching negative effects on future policy. We cannot wait idly by as the federal government continues to usurp powers deliberately left to state and local governments. This provides yet another warrant for the abolishing the program once and for all. Through this act, communities can stand for their Constitutional rights and guard against the onslaught of federal usurpation.
Unfortunately, Trump is pursuing efforts to expand 287(g). The acting director of ICE even announced plans to triple the number of agreements by the end of 2017. This, to put it lightly, is not helpful. Trump should not be focusing on undocumented immigrants that pose little threat to overall safety or the economy. In fact, immigration generally boosts economic growth due to lower labor costs. Many politicians talk of immigrants “stealing” American jobs – a flawed understanding of macroeconomics. Businesses gain revenue from cheaper labor, which allows them to expand production, providing cheaper goods and even more jobs to the public. Undocumented immigration should not top of the list of “crack-down” priorities for the Trump administration, yet somehow it continues to pervade his policy and rhetoric.
While some may consider 287(g) rather irrelevant due to its small size and lack of media coverage, I consider it to be critical. Allowing “unimportant” policies to escape public attention is dangerous. It encourages policymakers to slide back-door regulations into large bills in hopes that they remain hidden. This practice is simply an extension of the nanny-state bureaucracy our government is currently devolving into. We, as individuals, have an obligation to preserve the principles of liberty that our country was founded upon. Without them, no nation can truly flourish. Take a stand against 287(g) and other federal policies that violate natural rights and grant officials broad, unnecessary power. United, we will remain a formidable force, against which tyranny cannot prevail.