President Barack Obama declared that amnesty was a “shared interest” of the United States and Mexico when he met with former Mexican president Felipe Calderon on April 16, 2009. Obama made his intentions publicly known in Mexico on that date, but five years later the objective has not become a reality. This angered the current Mexican president, Enrique Pena Nieto, who said this past February that he was “indignant” that the United States would enforce our country’s immigration laws at all. Nieto also criticized U.S. lawmakers for their “lack of conscience” in not passing amnesty legislation.
President Nieto, it’s the American people who should be indignant that our borders are not secured and that illegal aliens are openly flouting the law. Having and enforcing immigration law is indicative of a country’s respect for law, protection of public safety, and defense of national security interests. The United States should remain strong internationally, and fair and uniform immigration enforcement helps to develop internal strength. Contrary to Nieto’s criticism, opponents of amnesty are acting with their consciences, caring for the needs of American workers who are forced to compete with illegal aliens for jobs.
Instead of defending U.S. immigration policies against President Nieto’s criticism, President Obama instead backed down. Obama only further pandered to illegal aliens when he publicly pledged to have his Homeland Security Department review U.S. immigration law in the hopes of instituting a more “humane” deportation policy.
President Obama, it’s not inhumane to remove those who are illegally in the United States. It’s actually irrational to leave hundreds of miles of the Southern border fenceless and without sufficiently funded and equipped law enforcement personnel. One can only hope that the review the Department of Homeland Security undertakes at the president’s request will uncover what is already in the law, such as for instance, voluntary departure (INA §240B). Voluntary departure is a provision in federal law that allows illegal aliens 60 to 90 days to take care of their affairs and arrange their own dignified departures together with their family members. That’s very humane, Mr. President.
The damage done by the U.S. president pledging support for amnesty legislation in Mexico City five years ago can be seen today. Failure to adequately defend U.S. interests on immigration policy has negative implications internationally. If our own president does not respect U.S. law, how can we expect the Mexican president to?