Maybe Jeh Johnson can moderate the next round of Democratic debates.
With liberals buzzing about planned raids this weekend by immigration authorities to deport illegal aliens, the former secretary of Homeland Security in the Obama administration went on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Friday with a message the liberal network’s audience must have hated hearing.
But it’s one any Democrat who wants to be president better have been listening to.
In response to Commentary magazine’s Noah Rothman about how the planned Immigration and Customs Enforcement action was different from what took place under the Obama administration, Johnson indicated the chief difference was that it had been announced in advance.
But he apparently had no problem with the concept itself.
“Deportations occur all the time,” Johnson said. “Of those who have been ordered deported by an immigration judge, hopefully after they have exhausted their appeal rights, after they’ve had an opportunity to have their asylum case heard, we simply have to enforce the law, particularly if someone has been ordered deported.
“In other words, they’ve exhausted all their appeal rights. And so, it’s important for migrants to know they have rights. But enforcement actions themselves are not extraordinary.”
Check out part of the interview here:
In a country with a normal opposition party, the words would hardly have been worth noticing. Of course, a sovereign nation has a right to have its borders respected and, as Johnson put it, “we simply have to enforce the law.”
But the United States during the Donald Trump presidency doesn’t have a normal opposition party – it has a self-styled “resistance” that exists essentially to foil the man in the White House, regardless of the impact on the country at large.
That was on display during the first round of Democratic debates, when the clown car of contenders took positions ranging from mandating free health care for illegal aliens to treating violations of immigration law as not even a criminal matter.
It might be too much to expect logic on the immigration question from more than a score of liberals trying to out-left one another in a primary national race.
But Johnson has some experience with the problem firsthand. In a guest column in The Washington Post last week, he criticized his party’s current crop of contenders for failing to understand the basic fact that, as he said Friday, “we simply must enforce the law.”
Publicly embracing a policy that illegal immigration should be ignored unless the immigrant commits some “other” crime would be “tantamount to a public declaration (repeated and amplified by smugglers in Central America) that our borders are effectively open to all; this will increase the recent levels of monthly apprehensions at our southern border — about or more than 100,000 — by multiples. For the same reason, we cannot formally decriminalize unauthorized entry into this country, though first-time illegal border crossers are rarely prosecuted for that misdemeanor (except for last year’s disastrous ‘zero-tolerance’ policy).”
Give Johnson a pass for that crack about the Trump administration’s “disastrous” policy decision last year – he’s still a Democrat.
But at least he seems to understand what the Trump administration is doing now is part of a legal framework that’s necessary to bring one of the country’s most pressing problems under control.
It would benefit both the country and the Democratic Party if Johnson wasn’t the only prominent member who was talking publicly with some degree of common sense about the issue.
And it wouldn’t hurt at all if Democratic contenders for the presidency got grilled about it in public once in a while.
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