- - Wednesday, February 22, 2017


When Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, the former head of Southern Command and a widely-recognized expert on our southern border, released two new memos Tuesday directing his department to enforce the law and hire more people, you would think he was shredding the Constitution.

The left was up in arms. Omar Jadwat, director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, released this unhinged statement:

“These memos confirm that the Trump administration is willing to trample on due process, human decency, the well-being of our communities, and even protections for vulnerable children, in pursuit of a hyperaggressive mass deportation policy. However, President Trump does not have the last word here — the courts and the public will not allow this un-American dream to become reality.”

Let’s review Secretary Kelly’s memos.

Enforcement and Hiring:

Hire 10,000 Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents and officers;

Hire 5,000 Border Patrol agents.

Department Policy

Plan, design and construct a U.S.-Mexico border wall;

Prioritize criminal illegal immigrants and others for deportation, which will now include those convicted or charged with “any criminal offense,” or those who have “abused” any public welfare program

End “catch-and-release” policies under which illegal immigrants subject to deportation may be allowed to “abscond” and fail to appear at removal hearings

Expand the 287(g) program, which allows local officers to act as immigration agents (a program that was significantly limited in the Obama administration)

These things seem entirely reasonable to me, and I would wager that they will seem reasonable to most Americans. Hiring more agents will help DHS, where I worked from 2003 to 2004, move more quickly to remove criminal aliens who threaten public safety.

Beginning the work of building a wall on the southern border was a promise President Trump made and one he plans to keep. I suspect ultimately it will not be a ten-foot wall over the entire southern border, but instead a mix of physical barrier in urban areas and a layered, technological and manpower approach in rugged rural areas. But time will tell.

Removing petty criminals may appear harsh, but petty criminals often become violent criminals. Are we really supposed to wait until an illegal immigrant commits a preventable violent crime to remove them?

Let’s all agree on one simple fact: Any person who illegally entered this country does not have a legal right to be here. Their very presence in this country enables their deportation. Also remember, illegal immigration undermines legal immigration.

Mr. Trump has not yet announced his position on DACA, the executive order that President Obama issued that allows illegal aliens brought to those country as children to remain here without threat of deportation.

Our legal system has always distinguished between children, who are not mature enough or physically able to make their own decisions, and adults, who must be responsible for their own decisions. I hope and expect that Mr. Trump will thoughtfully consider what to do about DACA, and based on his public statements, he appears to be doing just that.

But consider this: To share the view of the ACLU or La Raza, or the open borders crowd, and strongly oppose what the Trump administration is doing here, you must oppose the deportation of criminal aliens, oppose the enforcement of federal laws, oppose a secure border, and support catch and release

Those are not majority views in America.

Mr. Trump is on strong ground here — and once again, he is doing what he said he would do as a candidate. What a novel concept.

Matt Mackowiak is the president of Austin-based Potomac Strategy Group, a Republican consultant, a Bush administration and Bush-Cheney re-election campaign veteran, and former press secretary to two U.S. senators. He is the host of a new national politics podcast, “Mack on Politics,” produced in partnership with The Washington Times. His podcast may be found at washingtontimes.com/mackonpolitics.

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