Fred Henneke, Attorney & Counselor-At-Law
There is a crisis on our southern border. But, it is not what we think it is. Yes, there are people crossing our border in search of work and a better life. Some may not be nice people; some are smuggling drugs (although statistically most of the drugs come across at legitimate border crossings); many have paid large sums to “coyotes” who dump them in the desert without adequate food or water. Would a Wall deter these crossers? Strategically placed, Yes. I watched a piece on the Border Crisis this evening on which the deputy chief of an Arizona sector stated that they need walls (or similar physical barriers) to slow down and help apprehend those crossing in his area.
But he also went on to say that higher walls would not stop them from coming, from tunneling under the wall or climbing through barbed wire to reach America. Why Not? Because of our antiquated laws, helpless and hapless in the face of the waves of asylum seekers.
Currently, anyone who sets foot on American soil is entitled to claim and ask for asylum. Rather than run and hide from the Border Patrol, they seek out the authorities to surrender and ask for asylum. Typically, they are detained in some way for about 90 days, after which they are processed and given a hearing date as much as TWO YEARS LATER. They promise to return for their hearing and, upon release, are given permission to work.
Each immigration judge carries a case load of about 4,000 cases. Nationally, several hundred cases are added each and every day. Given the current state of the law, and the resources available, they may never catch up. Ironically enough, during the Shutdown, the immigration courts closed down. Persons with hearings scheduled during the shutdown were placed at the back of the long line and told to return in,oh 4 YEARS or so.
Obviously, given this asylum avalanche along our southern border, our elected representatives are working overtime to reform the laws and provide the resources to address this crisis. If so, they are doing it in secret out of the public eye. Both sides would rather maintain this truly humanitarian and national crisis in an effort to make political hay from it than DO WHAT WE ELECTED THEM TO DO. 76,000 persons were detained in January alone, most of whom were asylum seekers. Yet nothing gets done. It is not a solution to catch them once they reach American soil; hell, they turn themselves in. Just getting here often is the goal; once processed, they can live here legally and work until, sometime in the dim future, their hearing date comes up and they actually return for the hearing.
Congress would rather argue over who is the biggest liar – Michael Cohen, the President, James Comey or Pinocchio. There’s no sex appeal in fixing the blatant, growing crisis on the border; how are you going to fund raise over trying to fix brown-skinned people taking advantage of inadequate laws and overwhelmed resources?
“A plague on both your houses!”*
*Romeo and Juliet, Wm. Shakespeare