I am Muslim, register me.
I am Mexican, deport me.
I am African, imprison me.
I am LGBTQ+ refuse to serve me.
I am poor, blame me.
I am elderly, privatize me,
I am a woman, defund me.
I am homeless, ignore me,
I am disabled, bully me,
I am sick, uninsure me,
I am indigenous, pollute me.
I am a veteran, voucher me.
I am an American, Lie to me.
Yintang Cao, a Chinese national who served time for hawking counterfeit designer purses, was freed from immigration detention last week after the United States failed to win permission from China to deport him. Emil Al Seryani, a Jordanian citizen convicted of burglary and drug dealing, was released March 7, again after deportation efforts failed.
Their quiet return to their lives in the United States contradicts one of President Trump’s signature campaign promises: to deport criminals, even to countries that do not want them back.
.. A former immigration official said it is ironic that Trump and his GOP supporters are stymied by the same issues they insisted could be solved quickly.
.. Deporting someone can take years, especially for foreigners who no longer have up-to-date citizenship papers. Countries are supposed to accept their citizens under international law, but they have to issue travel documents, such as a passport, before the United States can put a deportee on an airplane.
.. Threats may work. But they’re not going to work on everybody, because some countries are going to refuse to do it,” said Ames Holbrook, a former immigration agent who wrote a book about the release of foreign criminals in the United States.
“And then if we don’t answer those countries that still refuse, then the countries that bought the threat are going to realize that it’s not a threat.”
It would keep families together but still hold those who have violated immigration laws accountable.
.. For the Left, the solution is to create a path to citizenship. Many arguments are made to support it. Undocumented workers pay their taxes, though in many cases because it may help them gain legal status.
.. Many rightly note that parked on America’s doorstep is a sign that reads “Keep Out” on one side and, on the other, “Help Wanted.”
.. One estimate pegs the cost of deporting 11 million people at over $400 billion.
.. A more pragmatic solution would be to offer a path to legalization that stops short of citizenship. That would meet the humanitarian imperative to keep families together. But it would also hold those who have violated immigration laws accountable for their actions. This would apply only to undocumented workers who were of legal age when they entered the United States; those who were not of legal age should be given a citizenship path identical to the one that is available to legal immigrants.
.. A path short of citizenship would assuage Republican concerns that immigration reform would hurt the GOP. Many undocumented workers hail from Latin America, and Latinos have long favored Democrats over Republicans.
Some Republicans worry that granting these workers a path to citizenship would tip the future balance of political power. That may sound petty, and it is. But it is also a political reality.