As the number of Haitian boat people intercepted by the Coast Guard passes 500 , John’s posting this morning about the inconsistency in the president’s approach to illegals from Haiti vs. those from Mexico is actually quite relevant. The pervasive lawlessness on the Mexican border is the direct result of our not pursuing the kind of consistent enforcement the president has pledged (and so far carried out) with regard to Haitians. And, conversely, if we want to re-establish control over Mexican illegal immigration, we need to approach it with the same toughness as we have the Haitian variety.
There’s nothing inevitable about either immigration flow — in fact, in the early 1990s, Bill Clinton promised to soften the tough Bush I stance toward illegal Haitian immigration, saw the resulting wave of boat people, and reversed course, detaining them at Guantanamo and eventually sending them home. It worked, will work again, and can, mutatis mutandis, work with Mexicans.