We Do Not Have Open Borders in America

Pictured is the border between the United States and Mexico, which is 1,933 miles long.

The Southern border of the United States is not open. How do I know this to be the case? 53 migrants died in the back of a tractor trailer in San Antonio on June 27, about 150 miles north of the border with Mexico. The Washington Post said that makes it the deadliest human smuggling incident in the history of the United States to have occurred on our soil.

That is why we do not have open borders. If we had open borders, there would be no black market in the smuggling of human bodies over an open border. There would not be dozens of human beings packed into a terribly hot tractor trailer hoping beyond hope to reach the United States. There would not be 53 dead people.

Those 53 people were inside a trailer without air conditioning, or water, and the temperatures would have reached 173 degrees. It’s unfathomable.

In July 2021, U.S. Border Patrol reported 200,000 encounters with migrants along the U.S.-Mexico border, the highest monthly total in more than two decades, according to Pew Research Center.

Does that sound like an open border?

And yet, Republicans, such as Texas Governor Greg Abbott, will blame President Biden’s “open borders” for the tragedy, and President Biden will blames the “criminal smugglers from exploiting migrants.”

Neither direct their ire at where it ought to be: Our immigration policies that drive human beings into the waiting arms of the smugglers.

Open the borders. Let the people flow in. I could give all kinds of reasons why immigration is a net gain for American society: economically, politically, socially, culturally, and of course, morally. But if we can’t even agree on the basic fact of what happened and why it happened, how do we get there? If neither side can properly assess what’s causing the problem, how can we hope to prevent 53 more dead people in the future?

What I find perhaps most irksome is that if I scale back my ambitions with the border, and suggest that we reform our current immigration law — in other words, I’m focused on legal immigration — it doesn’t seem anyone actually wants to do that (on either side, mind you) because then, at least with the Republicans, they lose the fear-mongering over “illegal” immigration. And really, the Democrats are too afraid of seeming “soft” on the border. So, around and around we go.

The reason people risk the smugglers is precisely because of how onerous the legal immigration system is: it is not conducive to allowing well-meaning, otherwise law-abiding people, to come to the country.

These 53 deaths did not have to happen. I’m certain I’ve mentioned this before, but one of the strongest reasons for a non-Democrat to have voted for Biden, as I did, other than the obvious (getting Trump out of office), was that he would be better, or be “less bad,” at minimum, on immigration. Instead, I don’t think it’s hyperbole to call him a second Trump term on immigration. I find it shameful.

As one example, Biden allowed Trump’s health order, known as Title 42, to continue, enabling encounters to result in expulsions instead of apprehensions, although the latter is also up. The American Immigration Council pointed out that, “Over the course of 2021, Border Patrol agents carried out 1,111,609 expulsions under Title 42, including over 150,000 parents and children traveling as a family.”

It’s demoralizing, because as the Council also noted, these policies aren’t just bad on the face of it for all sorts of reasons, but they actually exacerbate the problem they aim to fix!

So, not only are we worse off for our perpetual refusal to allow more immigrants (and definitely more refugees) into the country in the myriad ways I mentioned above, but as a country, we have the blood of those who sought our way of life and died trying on our hands, too. It is the epitome of a moral outrage.

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