Congress’ Immigration Procrastination is Harmful


All of us understand what it is like to procrastinate. As college students, we put off writing that final paper until the day it is due because we wanted to hang out with our friends. As parents, we’ve watched our children play video games while their list of unfinished chores grows longer. Many of us who work in front of computer screens every day will sometimes delay starting on a new assignment to see what’s happening on a favorite website or trending on Twitter.

Yes, we all know: when there’s real work to be done, we shouldn’t be wasting our time on lesser things. We do it anyway. And so, unfortunately, does Congress.

A prime example is immigration. President Trump and countless Republicans ran on fixing our immigration system. There is no shortage of ideas on how to get the job done: build a wall; build fences; use technology; add manpower; get help from state and local governments; pursue better enforcement policies; shift to more skill-based immigration; strengthen the refugee system, etc. These are the kind of policies that many successful candidates ran on in 2016.

But rather than turn these campaign promises into legislative action, Congress has procrastinated. Talk of border security, enforcement, and legal immigration legislation appears to be fading into the background. Instead of tackling these complex and difficult (yet very important) issues, Congress seems to be preparing to waste its time by first looking to pass an amnesty.

President Trump is wisely winding down the unconstitutional executive amnesty program Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Yet, instead of taking serious action on the many parts of the immigration system that need fixing, Congress appears hell-bent on ignoring its responsibilities.

And this isn’t the first time. In 1986, Congress passed an amnesty for almost 3 million illegal immigrants. The lawmakers promised that it would be a one-time thing and that they would solve the illegal immigration problem. Instead, they procrastinated. The result: the U.S. now has 11-12 million illegal immigrants — far more than in 1986.

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