The complex, mind-numbing debate over illegal immigration and America’s borders has suddenly become very simple. Once, the various plans — the Gang of Eight Senate bill, the Cornyn bill, the House plan — dominated the debate. But now the question has crystallized to a choice between in and out.
With the appearance of 60,000 unaccompanied children on the southern border, the vagaries of earned amnesty, border security and Dream Act status have vanished from center stage. The simple question now is whether we want them to stay in the country or be deported.
Recent polling shows that 77 percent of Americans want the children sent home; this binary choice is perilous for Democrats. In or out is an easy issue to project.
Particularly as news coverage focuses on those children who are still in the country, sentiment for deportation is bound to mount.
The preponderance of girls among the new child immigrants — two-thirds of the increase since last year have been girls — makes the danger of drawn-out immigration proceedings increasingly obvious. Immigration judges are loath to deport a pregnant girl and almost never deport one who has given birth to a new U.S. citizen. This legal/biological fact could make the debate about deportation moot, unless the children are turned away immediately and at the border.
While some Americans worry about deporting children back to unsafe places, the worry about the consequences of keeping them here will likely mount.
Health concerns about communicable diseases will likely increase as the medical condition of the new child immigrants becomes more apparent. Voters will not take kindly to the risks of an epidemic in their neighborhoods triggered by children their senators have voted to let stay here.
Beyond the immediate risk posed by the children themselves, Texas Gov. Rick Perry has been eloquent in describing how our focus on caring for the children arriving at our border has distracted us from the more important tasks of keeping terrorists and criminal gangs out of the country.
Perry says that 203,000 illegal immigrants have ended up in Texas jails and blames them for 3,000 homicides and 8,000 sexual assaults.
President Obama has sought to take the middle ground in the immigration debate by urging the return of these children to their native lands after an immigration proceeding. But the longer they stay here, the more likely they are to continue to stay — a risk that’s eroded the ground from under him. CNN’s most recent poll suggests that 68 percent disapprove of Obama’s immigration policy — his highest negative of all issues.
Particularly if the president opts to stop deportations more broadly by executive order in the fall, he will be handing the Republicans an issue with which to decimate his Senate delegation.
Even as the immigration issue becomes more salient, Obama’s healthcare policies are coming under increasing fire. As 8 million Americans come to experience coverage under ObamaCare firsthand and encounter its co-payments, co-insurance, high deductibles and limitations of treatments and the choice of doctors, more have come to rate the program negatively. The Kaiser Foundation, long an ObamaCare supporter, now says that the program is rated negatively by 53 percent of Americans — up from 45 percent last month. Only 37 percent see the program favorably.
Nor is the economic “recovery” sufficiently strong — if it is there at all — to justify a vote for the incumbent party in 2014. Obama is entering the fall elections with nothing left to stand on and with his support ebbing away at a dramatic pace.
Morris, a former adviser to Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) and President Clinton, is the author of 16 books, including his latest, Screwed and Here Come the Black Helicopters. To get all of his and Eileen McGann’s columns for free by email, go to dickmorris.com.