The Corner

Attrition Through Enforcement

In response to Hail to The Chief

Andy ably rebuts the administration’s (and seemingly Trump’s) argument for amnesty by making the case for a policy of attrition through enforcement for the illegal population. There’s always a good deal of churn in the illegal population, and if only we reduce the inflow and increase the outflow, we really can reduce the total number of illegals over time.

To illustrate, note that while the total illegal population seems to have grown only modestly during the Obama administration, remaining somewhere between 11 and 12 million, a large number of new illegal aliens have settled here since 2009.

My colleague Steve Camarota, building on research by the pro-immigration Center for Migration Studies and Pew Research Center, concludes that as of a year ago, about 2.5 million people in the pool of illegal aliens at that time had arrived since Obama’s inauguration. In other words, something like 21-23 percent of the total number of illegal aliens were new-ish arrivals. That means a similar, through probably somewhat smaller, number stopped being illegal during that time. A small number of those who stopped being illegals died, some laundered their status by finagling green cards, but it’s likely that the large majority left the country, some through deportation but many under their own power.

So the “we can’t deport 11 million people” objection is a non-sequitur. The prescription for illegal immigration is what it’s always been: Allow ICE and Border Patrol to do their jobs, sanction crooked employers, rein in sanctuary cities, remove illegals who come to the attention of the police, curb overstays, improve border fencing, and other conventional law-enforcement activities. When the number shrinks sufficiently that the public trusts the Washington Brain Trust to enforce the law, then we can talk about what to do next.

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