The media are in a tizzy over the new policy memos from Homeland Security Secretary Kelly. They are conjuring images of massive roundups and deportations of illegal aliens at a level that will ruin the economy – in some versions – or at least tear apart millions of peaceful immigrant families. It is as if the Trump administration had just managed to get a new broad enforcement mandate and powers and funding from Congress.
But, in fact, all that was indicated in the new memos released on February 22 was that the shackles on enforcement of the immigration law placed by the Obama administration have been removed. No longer are immigration enforcement officers at the border or the interior required to look the other way if they encounter illegal aliens. Instead they are under instruction to either detain the alien, if already subject to deportation, or otherwise order the alien to appear for a deportation hearing. The new directives are aimed at reversing the breach between federal and local law enforcement agencies in their approach to dealing with illegal aliens.
So, if this is simply a reassertion of existing law, what’s the fuss? The media controversy is being stirred up by advocates of enforcement limitation that was created by and applied by the Obama administration. This advocacy that laments removing the shackles on enforcement results from a focus on the interests of the illegal alien rather than a focus on the interests of the U.S. public.
We might as well get used to this hyped up hysteria over ‘mean-spirited’ enforcement efforts, because it is a mindset that has become deeply entrenched in recent years and one that has found resonance in major media outlets. We simply need to remember that the election results reflected a public rejection of that focus.