In last week’s GOP debate, illegal immigration sparked heated exchanges about “amnesty,” the polarizing issue at the center of any reform proposal.
But as Marco Rubio pointed out, the failure of Washington politicians to solve the immigration problem over the past 30 years — primarily their failure to staunch the flow of illegal entry — Americans are so suspicious they will not accept any reform until the problem of illegal entry is solved conclusively.
So the real issue is illegal entry. At New Hampshire town hall meetings before the debate, I asked the candidates if they would restart the deportation of illegal immigrants. Deportation constitutes enforcement of current law, for which the president would have sole power and obligation. Reform and amnesty plans require congressional action.
By law, illegal immigrants who have received a “final removal order” are to be deported. President Obama is not doing so. Indeed, he claims authority to exempt millions from enforcement.
As a result, the number of illegal residents who have been apprehended but not detained or deported has swelled to nearly 2 million, as reflected on the “non-detained docket,” an almost secret list maintained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. About half of those on the ICE docket have received a final removal order from an immigration court judge.
I asked the candidates whether they would deport those with a final removal order.Read the rest of this IBD Op-ed HERE.
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