December 03, 2021

Senator Ernsts’ Op-Ed

Senator Ernst’s most recent op-ed piece, just like the last one, spent the first half of its column inches vilifying the opposition in vague and scurrilous terms before getting to the point, a piece of immigration legislation she is proposing that might actually garner some bipartisan support if she didn’t start off by alienating everyone from the majority party.

This time, it’s Biden under fire, being blamed for a humanitarian problem he inherited: natural disasters and a coup in Haiti and gang warfare in Honduras and El Salvador, resulting in refugees stuck in Mexico, Panama, and Colombia who want to go to the U.S. It’s all Biden’s fault according to Ernst, despite the fact that she cites statistics in her opening paragraph showing that U.S. Customs intercepted and kicked out (“encountered” in Ernst’s vocabulary) over three times as many people attempting to enter the U.S. illegally in August 2021 as in August 2020.

I thought I was reading Steve King for a minute there when I got to the parts about all the drug trafficking and sex trafficking, expecting some colorful and alliterative details about leg musculature and melons. But Customs statistics for August show that of those intercepted at the southwest border in August, only 49% were single adults – thus the rest of them were families. Family units were up by 4% and unaccompanied minors down by 1%, compared to July. Almost all were processed for expulsion, most under Title 42(Covid/health related), regardless of the status of asylum applications, and this was before the “Remain in Mexico” policy was reinstated.

The most recent news reports of sexual violence by immigrants have been about assaults perpetrated by Afghan evacuees being housed at Ft. Bliss and Ft. McCoy. Seizing Texas ranchers’ property in Texas to finish a wall isn’t going to do anything about that.

Surely nobody would argue that we should be giving entry visas to sexual predators, but it isn’t useful to stereotype all Haitian and Latin American refugees in those terms. A more productive discussion of Ernst and Grassley’s BE GONE Act (Better Enforcement of Grievous Offenses by un-Naturalized Emigrants Act) would address the question of how and why such offenses aren’t a disqualifying act already. Aren’t they? I’d like to know.