No matter your stance on immigration reform, the flood of Central American minors coming across our southern border is a humanitarian crises. Likewise, it should be overwhelmingly apparent that immigration reform is needed now.
Why are so many undocumented immigrants crossing the border lately? It seems plausible that the general promise of reform passing sooner or later is a draw for young people to cross the border now. From their perspective, it’s a rational gamble they will probably qualify for legal status down the line.
Inconsistent enforcement policies and confusion over future legislation are both major factors that contribute to the problem. By passing immigration reform that explicitly states the rules for a path to citizenship, foreign nationals would be less willing to risk their lives (and children’s lives) to make it here.
Meanwhile deportations have surged in the past few years to over a thousand persons per day. Based on estimates from Vice News (see video), each deportation costs U.S. taxpayers $12,500. That’s over $25 billion spent on deportations since President Obama took office. But it gets worse when considering the overall cost of deporting a parent. When factoring in government assistance and lost tax revenue, that cost skyrockets to approximately $100,000 per person.
It’s clear that confusion over American immigration policy and potential amnesty have invited an influx of undocumented immigrants to the U.S. Immigration reform would provide definitive clarification to policy and signal expectations for future immigrants.