I watched the debate on immigration between Dan Patrick and Julian Castro last night. Erica is also going to write about it today, but in my mind it didn’t really settle anything though it did raise a long-lingering issue. During the course of the debate, Patrick said that if legal immigration were expanded and the border was secured, “illegal immigration would stop.” The problem with this statement is, as I have pointed out in previous posts, that it is nearly impossible to “secure” the border.
The border is a huge, nebulous area that can’t be defined on any map except as a river and the land adjacent to it. Recent history has made clear that illegal immigration can’t be stopped, short of fully militarizing the border, which isn’t going to happen. People who want better lives are going to cross the border, notwithstanding the risks. We ought to be debating a path to citizenship, or a guest-worker program, instead of a solution involving force or incarceration.