Cognitive dissonance is the term psychologists use to describe the mental debility that occurs when a person simultaneously holds two contradictory beliefs. Unfortunately, the Trump administration’s efforts to secure our borders and enforce immigration law seem to have generated a significant amount of cognitive dissonance, particularly among open borders advocates and the media. Here’s a (by no means exhaustive) list of some of the mass migration arguments that rest on internal contradictions:
It’s not fair to uproot illegal alien children and send them to a country they know nothing about: Then, by definition, the parents of these illegal alien children were patently unfair when they first brought their kids to the United States, a country that they knew nothing about. None of the proponents of this argument ever seem able to explain why enforcing immigration law creates a moral and ethical dilemma but violating it doesn’t.
You’re separating families: Every day in the United States, our courts send people with families to prison because they broke the law. Those people are separated from their families, sometimes for life. Yet no one ever advances the argument that we shouldn’t jail burglars, fraudsters or other law-breakers because they’ll be separated from their kin. It is a generally accepted principle that decisions to violate the law carry consequences. How is immigration law any different? It is illogical to argue that when immigrants consciously decide to separate their families in order to come to the United States, that’s okay; but that when the United States enforces immigration laws, the separation of families is immoral. (It is also illogical to argue that the mere existence of innocent family members erases the illegal alien’s violation. No one gets a pass on drunk driving simply because the car was full of sober passengers.)
So many illegal aliens have been here so long they have deep roots, it wouldn’t be right to send them away: In no other area of the law does anyone argue that evading the police and continuously violating the law is a mitigating circumstance. In fact, it’s usually considered an aggravating factor that results in a stiffer sentence. Yet open borders advocates consistently argue that the longer illegal aliens violate the law, the more lenient we should be with them. That’s a losing argument. As every parent and elementary school teacher knows, rewarding bad behavior simply leads to more bad behavior.
Sure, illegal aliens broke immigration laws, but they’re obeying all of the other laws: Typically, this is true of most people who perpetrate low-level crimes. But no one claims we shouldn’t punish tax evaders because they’re not murderers. It is what illegal aliens have done – violating the Immigration and Nationality Act – that should concern us, not what they didn’t do.
The bulk of the American people experience no cognitive dissonance when it comes to immigration. They understand that laws are enacted to protect public safety and national security. Therefore, engaging in mental gymnastics to avoid holding violators accountable is not in their best interests. The immigration enforcement challenge for the Trump administration will be to keep a clear head and not succumb to the defective thinking advanced by open borders advocates and their media cronies.