Saturday, July 6, 2019

The Party of Illegal Immigration

Carlo Allegri/Reuters
There didn’t seem much room for Democrats to move left on immigration, but they’ve found it.
On the first night of the Democratic debates, Julian Castro made a big issue of his call to repeal Section 1325 of Title 8 of the United States Code, which says it’s a federal crime to enter the country without authorization. This felt like a ploy for attention from the periphery of the second-tier debate stage, yet last night seven out of the ten candidates raised their hands for the idea, including top contenders Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders, and Pete Buttigieg.
The collective posture of the party is getting closer and closer to open borders, only without embracing the label.
Illegal immigrants aren’t typically prosecuted under Section 1325, although the Bush administration started a program called “Operation Streamline” to increase prosecutions, hoping to discourage would-be crossers and especially to create a deterrent against illegal reentry (illegal entry is a misdemeanor often punished by time served, whereas illegal reentry is a felony). Such prosecutions were a key element of Trump’s family-separation policy that had to be quickly abandoned.
The repeal of Section 1325 would send a message of permissiveness that would create another incentive for migrants to come across the border, and remove a tool for going after coyotes (it can be difficult to prove their offense, so prosecuting them for illegal entry is a backstop). Section 1325 has been on the books for 90 years, and it reflects the commonsense view that entering the United States without lawful permission should be a crime. Yes, it’d still be a civil offense to be present in the United States without papers, and in theory, still possible to be deported — although this brings us to the rest of the Democratic approach to immigration.
Read the rest of this NR editorial HERE.

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