America was founded as a nation of laws and not of men. Unfortunately the Obama Administration ignored our laws and imposed his open borders philosophy “with his phone or pen” as he told us. When a reluctant Congress refused to go along with changes to our immigration laws, Obama simply appointed his own brand of bureaucrats to enforce our immigration laws. But when the voters change the man wielding the pen and the phone, things can change back. That change happened last November. It is time to enforce America’s immigration laws again.
A country without effective borders is not a country at all. And a country ruled by bureaucrats that are out of step with American opinion isn’t much of a country either. The immigration courts need an overhaul, reforming the Obama-era policies and changing them to a common sense approach to immigration policy.
One way to effect positive change is to change the people selected to enforce America’s immigration laws. The new Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, is a step in the right direction. But the Attorney General needs help below his level. Appointing immigration prosecutors and judges who will faithfully enforce existing immigration law as it is written, not as they privately wished it to be, is the right prescription for an ailing and broken immigration system. We might even consider a system of non-lawyer magistrates, as has been recently suggested, to help clear the backlog of immigration cases. Using common-sense laymen with practical experience instead of lifetime bureaucrats may be just what the doctor ordered for an overburdened immigration system.
President Trump campaigned on the platform of building a border wall. I voted for him and supported this promise. While the media is quick to point out that the wall has not yet been actually built, most Americans are happy with the dramatic drop in the illegal immigration rate. A policy that reduces illegal immigration by 40 percent is a virtual wall even if it is not made of bricks and mortar.
Now we have to deal with the immigrants who are here illegally. It is up to the new President and the new Attorney General to exercise proper discretion and to enforce the laws uniformly, not arbitrarily. America voted for these changes. America needs these changes. We need to be a nation of laws, not lawlessness.
Don Weber of Troy is an attorney and former Madison County circuit judge.