Friday, September 29, 2023

When It Comes to Immigration, No One Is Happy


When Title 42 expired on May 11, the southern border did not explode, as many predicted.

That’s because President Biden issued an executive order that essentially replaced Title 42 with regard to asylum seekers. The tough new regulations include fast-track deportations for those whose asylum applications don’t meet muster or who are here illegally, combined with a five-year ban on re-application.

According to the Department of Homeland Security, thousands of deportations have taken place since the 12th. Additionally, cooperation with Mexico and Guatemala has resulted in greater border security along those nations’ southern borders, and other nations in the Western Hemisphere have tightened their immigration policies to stem the flow.

Leading up to the expiration of Title 42, there was a rush to get to the border before the new regulations took effect. With the implementation of the new regulations, the number of migrants crossing illegally has dropped by roughly half. It’s unclear if this is a lull or a permanent drop.

The White House has not won any friends with this measure. Members of the President’s own party find the actions inhumane. The opposition thinks the administration doesn’t go far enough. Naturally, there are federal lawsuits.

The Washington Post reports that The American Civil Liberties Union and other advocacy groups have filed a lawsuit in California challenging the White House’s asylum rule.

In the same article, the Post reports that conservatives have filed a lawsuit in Texas asking a federal judge to stop a special “parole” program that allows migrants from Cuba, Haiti and Venezuela to apply to enter legally due to political conditions in those countries. Because of the political conditions in their home countries, these individuals are difficult to deport.

I think Americans know what the answer to our immigration woes is. And it isn’t going to be solved by the White House or in federal courtrooms. Congress must act, and soon.

A realistic guest worker program tied to actual labor needs is a basic requirement. Existing programs focused primarily on highly skilled technical workers ignores the yawning gaps for unskilled labor in industries where Americans simply no longer want to work and haven’t for at least 50 years – food production being primary on that list.

And if employers were even held accountable on any reasonable level, the situation would be less frustrating. As a federal contractor, every new hire my company makes must be verified for eligibility to work in the United States. It’s a fairly straightforward online process called eVerify.

Why aren’t private sector employers required to use eVerify with their new hires? Because enforcement at a national level is not desired. Key economic sectors would face collapse without illegal immigrant labor.

This is ridiculous. Take migration to the US for temporary work out of the hands of smugglers and into the light. Eliminate the demand for illegal labor and help secure the border with a guest worker program tied to the industries that we know rely on illegal migrants. Make the application process simple, accessible with a smartphone.

Congress has passed no meaningful immigration legislation for three decades. Rather than argue about a wall or let asylum policy be hashed out in federal court, our legislative branch needs to get serious on the matter of new Americans and temporary workers.

But for six Native American, Alaskan and Hawaiian members, everyone in Congress belongs to a family who came from somewhere else. In 2023 it is clear we can’t have an open border; closing the border via Title 42 created its own chaos. Congress owes it to our border communities, our border and immigration officials, and the thousands of people who want to come to this country for the right reasons to stop kicking this can down the road.

Merritt Hamilton Allen is a PR executive and former Navy officer. She appears regularly as a panelist on NM PBS and is a frequent guest on News Radio KKOB. A Republican, she lives amicably with her Democratic husband north of I-40 where they run two head of dog, and two of cat. She can be reached at


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