Kamala Harris Continues to Fail at the Border

Kamala Harris Continues to Fail at the Border
It is worth remembering that America’s uncontrolled immigration previously gave rise to the KKK.
American Spectator Online,October 24, 2023, 11:25 PM

By now it is notorious that President Joe Biden’s choice as vice president and possible successor, Kamala Harris, has dismally failed in her first assignment: to do something about the flow across the American border of Central Americans. She is the latest in a series of Throttlebottoms of both parties who have been nominated for the vice-presidency: Who can forget William Miller, Thomas Eagleton, John Sparkman, Estes Kefauver, Spiro Agnew, Geraldine Ferraro, and Sarah Palin? Yet even to a person of her limited education and intelligence, there are a number of measures that should have suggested themselves.

1. The flow of immigrants from Mexico has been reduced — indeed, reversed. This is partially due to the industrialization in the Valley of Mexico following the NAFTA agreement, but even more to a less recognized cause: the doubling of public health expenditures by the Salinas government, which signed and hurriedly implemented the NAFTA treaty. The placement of nurse practitioners in every village lowered the very high birth rate and did so without heavy reliance on American NGOs outraging religious sensibilities by waving about leaflets and condoms. There was a 15-year delay between implementation of this policy and a fall in the emigration rate, largely a function of the number of unemployed teenagers, whose numbers had been reduced by the fall in the birth rate before they came to maturity. Although Central American countries, unlike Mexico, had no anti-clerical revolution in 1916, more adequate medical consultations there should produce a fall in the birth rate, though probably not the large reduction seen in Mexico. Yet Harris has not been heard proposing funding of public health programs in Central America on the Mexican model beyond those of the second Bush administration’s PEPFAR program, directed at the AIDS crisis.

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2. The diaspora from Honduras is largely due to two devastating hurricanes, the first of which, in the early ’90s, destroyed a large percentage of Honduran housing stock. Assistance in rebuilding has been limited, although people who have a minimally satisfactory life do not usually flee their home countries. The apartheid government of South Africa fostered shantytowns, but only after first laying down concrete slabs and water and sewer lines. Our Army Corps of Engineers could have been usefully so employed in Honduras. During the Vietnam War, the American Agency for International Development distributed cement, cinder blocks, and tin roofs to supply rudimentary self-built housing. Such measures are not part of Harris’ repertoire.

3. Many border-crossers are allowed to remain in the U.S. due to a decades-old decision by a single federal district judge requiring the immediate release pending hearings of persons requesting political asylum. The number of successful asylum applications is miniscule, yet the decree has survived uncontested.

4. Electronic means of detecting border-crossers have not been effectively fostered, even though most crossings, which take place at night, are detectable through electronic means.

5. The Mérida program for improvement of Central American policing has not been greatly expanded, and some of the assistance given has perpetuated civil wars antedating the fall of communism.

6. No decisive action has been taken to limit the drug war, and development of lawful methods of distribution has been impaired by denying banking facilities even to state-regulated distributors.

7. Restrictions on temporary importation of agricultural labor have been maintained, a gift to “coyotes” and the underworld.

8. Failure to enact a skills-based immigration system, like those of Australia and Canada, has eliminated incentives for potential immigrants to acquire socially valuable skills.

9. No effort has been made to establish protected zones like 19th-century free ports and capitulations to encourage industrial development insulated from crime.

10. The use of large application fees for legal immigrants, as in Australia, has been renounced, even though such a policy would generate enormous funds for the education of immigrants.

11.The dilution of voter-identification requirements, the enfranchisement of convicted felons, and the increased allowance of remote mail-in voting all give rise to the belief that immigration is being encouraged for partisan political reasons, and, therefore, illegal immigrants have nothing to fear.

Harris has achieved nothing because her political sponsors wanted nothing to be achieved. But it is worth remembering that America’s two earlier periods of uncontrolled immigration gave rise first to the Know-Nothing Party and then to the post–World War I Ku Klux Klan, which a less romantic view of immigration would have avoided.

George Liebmann is president of the Library Company of the Baltimore Bar and the author of books on law and history, most recently The Tafts (Twelve Tables Press, 2023).

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